Originally published 2018
It’s that time of year. Hacking, coughing, and runny noses keeping you and your kids up at night? Someday, the common cold will have a cure. Until then, home remedies and over the counter medications prevail and it can be hard to sort out which ones are best.
Here are 5 remedies that I have used over the years and recommend as both a nurse and a mom. I am fairly confident none of them will CURE their cold and cough, but they will help you and your children sleep a little better. More sleep means happier kids and a less grumpy mom, which contributes to faster healing for everyone.
Remember: the goals are to keep them hydrated, comfortable, and to keep your sanity. In addition to all these tips, an age-appropriate dose of a Tylenol or Ibuprofen before bed can help their aches and pains so they can sleep better.
#1-Vick’s Vapor Rub- This comes in several strengths. BabyRub, Children, and Adult Strength. My children seemed to frequently get colds that moved into their little chests. Rub it on their chests before bed and yours if you like the smell a couple of times throughout the day for a bad cold. Now, I know it will be asked. What about their feet? I used to think there is no scientific reason that this would work, but we started to try it. My daughter loves getting a foot rub. Afterwards, we put a fluffy pair of warm socks over those greasy feet and she sleeps like a princess. So go ahead do the feet…still put it on their chest though. OK. Just humor me.
#2-Peppermint Oil- Essential oils probably have a million benefits. I am not the person to tell you about them. Except, peppermint oil. I was introduced to this when my kids were small and have loved it ever since. Put a few drops in their bath water. Make sure it is distributed evenly. Or you can mix it with a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salts first to make sure it dissolves in the bath water. You don’t want direct peppermint oil to touch their skin. The peppermint opens their lungs and their stuffed noses. Don’t have any peppermint oil on hand? Don’t worry, just open up your kitchen cupboard and pull out the peppermint extract. You’ll need 1-2 capfuls instead of 2-3 drops but it does the job in a pinch.
#3- Honey- The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend any cough syrup for the little ones. Too many side effects and extra ingredients that are harmful. For a child over one year of age who has a sore throat and are coughing, a spoonful of honey will offer temporary relief. Don’t hesitate to give them a large spoonful, and a big THANK YOU to our honeybee friends.
#4-Salt Water Drops and a Salt Water Gargle- This can be a hard one to sell to children. Even my husband only does this when he is desperate. For a scratchy throat along with a stuffy nose, gargling with salt water at least three times a day will help. It really does. Saltwater drops help clear out crusty noses. You can buy these over the counter or make your own. Use the salt water drops in younger children’s noses and then have them blow, or get out the bulb syringe. You know what to do.
#5-Chicken Broth/Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup– If you can make it happen, chicken noodle soup is really therapeutic. They have done studies on it. Here is a great recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup from our blog. Somedays, all you can do though is buy a carton of chicken broth, open it and heat it up. This will help, but maybe you can still enlist Grandma to make her world-famous recipe.
Disclaimer: This advice is not meant to take the place of a Doctor’s visit. If your baby is two months or younger (corrected age for preterm babies-Preterm moms you know what I mean), and is exhibiting signs of sickness, call your Pediatrician immediately. For older children, don’t hesitate to take them in if they are running high fevers, their breathing is getting worse, or your mother’s intuition is telling you something is wrong.
The content on Rochester Mom is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.