The winter season surely brings a lot of fun for children, but it can also bring a bunch of unwanted illnesses. Colds, sore throats, infections, fevers, and viruses such as the flu spread faster and more efficiently in the cold weather, therefore the likelihood of your children getting sick increases in the wintertime. The best thing to do as soon as you notice your child exhibiting symptoms is to bring him or her to the doctor and get a prescription. However, if that option isn't immediately available, you can always turn to some tried and true home remedies until then. Here are five that you should know about:
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#1 Take a teaspoon of honey
There are several scientific studies showing that honey can be an effective treatment for coughs and sore throats. One teaspoon of honey, or 15 mL, is often sufficient for such ailments. When taken a half-hour before bedtime, the honey can help alleviate soreness and irritation. This is due to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties—when swallowed, honey acts directly at the source of the infection. An important note, however, is that h0ney is only effective against bacterial infections and not viral infections, meaning it may not be the best treatment for the flu.
#2 Use a saline spray
If your child is experiencing a build-up of mucus in his or her throat, you can give them a saline spray to try. Gargling a mixture of water and salt can do wonders for a sore throat—the water serves as a medium for the salt, and the salt itself can help loosen the mucus and fight against harmful bacteria. The more you can remove the mucus from your child's throat and nasal passageways, the more relief they will feel and the faster they can recover.
#3 Give a sponge bath
Fevers can be tough to deal with, especially if there are accompanying chills. When you have a fever, you may be inclined to wrap yourself up in layers of blankets to deal with the chills, but the better thing to do is actually take a sponge bath. There's enough evidence to suggest that a sponge bath using lukewarm water can help bring a fever down. In some cases, it can even cool the body within an hour. You can also combine a sponge bath with Tylenol or Advil for maximum effectiveness.
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#4 Turn on a humidifier
A humidifier can help loosen your child's chest and nasal congestion, which in turn can help with any coughing symptoms present. By keeping your child's airways moist, they will be able to breathe better and get some relief from any stuffiness they may be experiencing. Warm or cool mist humidifiers are both effective, however, the cool mist is generally preferable for harsher coughs. If you don't have a humidifier on hand, a steam shower works well too. You can even hang some eucalyptus on the showerhead for extra relief.
#5 Drink plenty of fluids
Keeping your children hydrated is one of the best things you can do to help them overcome a cold or flu. When kids are sick, they often don't want to eat or drink much, and that causes them to become weak. It's important to replenish the body with water and electrolytes so that the cycle of lethargy doesn't continue. Offer your child small amounts of food that is easy to consume, such as soup or applesauce. You can also give them teas, juices and even frozen fruit popsicles to add some flavor to their meal.