At the moment, as we emerge from the COVID-19 high-alert, any kind of cold and flu symptoms is a calamity. But pre-pandemic, congested noses and coughs were just part of Winter. As we head into colder weather, I’m getting prepared to help ease those uncomfortable cold symptoms with some trusty tips.
As a new mum, I would rush to the doctor with any hint of a sniffle. But as my kids enter the primary school years, I’m more relaxed when my brood catches a cold. I’ve now got my arsenal of flu-fighting ammunition, which I’m all ready to unleash when the germs strike.
So here’s what I do when my child has a cold….
1) Hang on, let’s take a few steps back
Before I get started on how I combat a cold, I thought I would share a few things I do to prevent colds from calling. Firstly, good hand hygiene is the number one way to stop cold germs from spreading. Thanks to COVID-19, frequent hand washing is now a regular part of our life. We’ve also taught our kids to cover their nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing and ideally to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeve or crook of their elbow.
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I discourage my kids from sharing water bottles, eating utensils and bath towels and if we see anyone that looks unwell, we keep well away.
2) Warm Steam Vaporizer
I never do winter without my vaporizer! It’s my number one recommendation to help ease cold and cough symptoms and we’ve got one for each of my kids’ rooms. The vaporizer produces a soothing flow of warm steam all night long to help relieve nose and throat congestion and encourage a restful sleep.
Warm steam helps to ‘liquify’ mucous, making it thinner and easier to expel. It also warms and relaxes the muscles of the throat, helping ease the ‘cough reflex’. In addition, adding warm moisture to the air helps to alleviate a sore, scratchy throat, crusty nose and itchy eyes. An all-round winner in my family!
I always go for the Vicks Vaporizer as this has been designed with family-friendly safety features such as cooler steam and an automatic shut off. Vicks has also won Trusted Brands Most Trusted Vaporiser / Humidifier Award 2 years in a row as voted by the Australian public.
If I want to add a bit more ‘oomph’ to the vaporizer’s relieving powers, I add a few drops of Vicks VapoSteam Inhalant or VapoSteam Double Strength directly to the vaporizer water. The strong but gentle long-lasting vapours of eucalyptus and peppermint penetrate nose and throat passages quickly and safely to gently soothe and comfort.
3) Saline Spray
A stuffy or runny nose is one of the most common symptoms of a cold. Over-the-counter medicated nasal sprays are not recommended for children younger than 6 years old, and even after that by doctor’s advice only. So I always have a saline spray ready to go. I find that a few sprays of saline in the nose will help thin out the mucous and makes it easier for your child to blow it out.
As soon as my child is showing any of the familiar cold symptoms, they get pride of place on the couch in front of the tv. It’s really important to dial down activity levels when your child is suffering from a cold. It’s often tricky to keep kids inactive, especially the younger ones, so I make sure I’ve got their favourite tv show or movies on tap to keep them engaged.
5) Nutritious food, fluids….and treats
My kids tend to lose their appetite when they’re unwell. When your nose is congested, your sense of taste is affected and everything begins to take on a bland cardboard flavour. So I usually cook up their favourite meals to keep them eating…and smiling. Encourage your kids to drink, even if they don’t feel like it. Make them soups, hot chocolate and of course lots of water, to ensure they don’t get dehydrated. I tend to also give them a few more treats when they’ve got a cold. I know chocolate and ice-cream makes me feel better and my kids are just the same.
6) Honey for my Honey
There are a lot of natural good qualities in honey and if my child has a cough, I often give them one teaspoon of honey at night, which seems to help to reduce their hacking. But remember, don’t give honey to babies under 12 months old.
Colds generally last a few days and there is no official cure – all you can do is ease the symptoms to make your child more comfortable. It’s recommended to see your doctor if your child refuses to drink fluids, starts vomiting, has a persistent fever for more than 48 hours, is breathing noisily, or is unusually tired.
What are your remedies to help your child when they have a cold? Tell us in the comments below.
Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your doctor.
The team at Mouths of Mums is working with Vicks to bring you this article. We love that the Vicks Vaporizer has been named Trusted Brands Most Trusted Vaporiser / Humidifier Award 2 years in a row as voted by the Australian public and we can endorse this product to relieve cold and cough symptoms for the whole family. Check out the full range at vicks.fgb.com.au.