The chill winds of fall are a sign of the oncoming cold and flu season.
This inevitable time of year can be no fun for kids and adults alike. No one wants lost sleep, missed school, or less play time with friends. Early autumn is the best time to stock up on blankets, wool socks, and cough medicine for kids, just in case.
Here are some tips to fight your kid’s cold as they head back to school this season.
1. Teach Proper Hygiene
This is possibly the most important way we can help our children fight colds year round. Handwashing with soap removes the germs that lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and respiratory illnesses.
Teaching your child to cover their cough and sneeze can help prevent airborne droplets from passing from child to child.
2. Plenty of Fluids
Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids–mostly fresh water–throughout the fall and winter. This will loosen mucus and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of congestion and stuffy noses.
Dehydration is a common side effect of illness, but also a potential cause. Offer kids plenty of water, diluted fruit juice, or tea to maintain hydration levels. They may not want to drink water constantly, so add honey to make it seem like a treat.
3. Cough Medicine for Kids
A persistent cough can be frustrating, painful, and disruptive to a child’s sleep and daily life. The last thing we want is for our child to suffer too long.
Cough medicine for kids can help curb these symptoms–reducing cough, chest congestion, and thinning mucus. Find a healthy, effective cough medicine for kids that you can trust, rather than reaching for the nearest convenient store brand.
4. Humidifier for their Room
A humidifier introduces moisture to your child’s bedroom and can help relieve the symptoms of a cold, including congestion and a stuffy nose.
When selecting a humidifier for your child, a cool-mist vaporizer is the best choice, as a warm-mist unit can cause accidental burns without proper supervision. Make sure to drain and change the water daily and clean the basin, as mildew and bacteria can grow in the standing water.
5. Fruits and Veggies
During cold season, our immune systems become weakened. Fortunately, many winter fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins that support a robust immune response. Always prioritize diet before relying on cough medicine for kids and other forms of care.
Make sure your child eats plenty of citrus fruits, which are rich in Vitamin C. Bananas are packed with potassium and help absorb excess water, preventing the depletion of fluids when they need them most.
6. Get the Flu Vaccine
A flu vaccine is your child’s best bet to fight and prevent the symptoms of influenza. The CDC recommends a yearly shot or nasal spray for all children 6 months of age or older.
If your child gets the flu, the vaccine not only reduces symptoms but prevents its spread to others as well. In the meantime, keep cough medicine for kids nearby should they contract the flu or another virus.
A persistent cough can be quite painful for a child. Honey is a time-honored natural way to soothe the discomfort your child may be experiencing. Plus, it’s totally natural and tasty!
Although it hasn’t been proven to shorten cold length, the sweetness may help you to get your child to drink more fluids. Mix the honey with tea or water or, alternatively, have your child eat a spoonful by itself. Aim to buy the organic stuff, always.
8. Keep Them Home
Our kids go from the bus, to class, to recess to the lunch room–it’s an uncontrolled petri dish for the flu.
If your child is experiencing the early symptoms of a cold, such as sore throat, runny nose, coughing, or fever, it is best to keep them home. This will help prevent the spread to other children and adults.
9. Reduce Screen Time
Kids love their devices and would likely spend all day on them if allowed. It’s important to reduce your child’s screen time and encourage immune-boosting activities instead.
Encourage them to have outdoor time, learn a new sport, and get active with their friends. Cutting off screen time at the end of the night will also improve their sleep quality.
10. Encourage Sleep and Rest
Children’s growing minds and bodies require healthy sleep habits. Unlike adults, it is recommended that school-aged kids get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day.
Getting adequate sleep increases their immune system response and can reduce the length of their cold.
11. Wear a Mask
Colds are primarily spread through airborne droplets passed from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Covering our nose and mouth can reduce transmission.
Although it isn’t 100% effective, wearing a mask and reducing close contact with others can greatly reduce the spread of these seasonal viruses. Find a face covering that your child doesn’t mind wearing, since comfort is key.
12. Give them a Bath
A bath can help soothe some of the discomforts your child is experiencing from their cold and flu symptoms.
Steam helps to reduce stuffy nose and congestion, while hot water can help regulate your child’s body temperature. Much like a hot cup of tea, a warmer body increases the immune response against the cold virus in the body.
Combat Colds, Flu, and More
There’s no getting around it, kids that fall ill are uncomfortable, and we wish we could avoid flu season altogether.
Taking the time to educate our children on these tips can help minimize these experiences and make cold months easier for all.