Few things produce as much misery for children – and, consequently, their parents – than the common cold.
It doesn’t help that kids are incredibly efficient at gathering and sharing germs, making everyone around them a potential target.
However, the good news is that there are a ton of things you as a parent can do to prevent your child from catching a cold long before it happens.
If you’re too late to the plate in that regard, fret not; there are also a ton of things you can do after the fact to help your child recover quickly.
Let’s talk prevention first.
How to prevent your child from catching a cold.
1. Wash hands before and after certain activities.
The world around us, particularly in public settings, is filled with germs. While you, as an adult, have an immune system more or less equipped to ward off these germs and their potential infections without much trouble, the same can’t be said for children.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to teach your child proper sanitation habits for use after being out and about in public.
Check out the fun video below for information on how to teach your kid to wash his or her hands properly.
Washing hands is particularly important before meals, especially if your child frequently eats with his or her hands.
The food your child puts in his or her body is incredibly important when it comes to preventing all sorts of infections and diseases. While organic fruits and veggies might be more expensive than those gummy candies, spending a bit on healthy food items could save you a costly visit to the doctor’s office down the road.
Foods that will boost your child’s immune system and fight off colds include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens
- Citrus fruits
- Chicken soup
3. Proper Exercise
As if you needed another reason to encourage your kids to get outside, a U.S. study has found that exercising can prevent colds.
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention recommends that your child gets no less than 60 minutes of physical activity each day, primarily aerobic activities such as running.
How to Fight An Existing Cold
If the above tips are reaching you too late and your child is already suffering from a monster cold, fear not. After checking in with your child’s doctor to rule out any other ailment as the cause for your child’s symptoms, consider the following natural home remedies.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
One of the most annoying parts of a cold for children is when the infection reaches their ears.
Hydrogen peroxide can work to provide quick relief of this sensation and clear up ear congestion.
You can buy hydrogen peroxide meant specifically for this use at your local drug store. Use as per the instructions on the bottle.
2. Homemade Saline Nasal Spray
A salt water spray can help reduce congestion in your child’s nose. You can make your own using the following instructions:
- Measure 8 ounces of distilled water. If you don’t have distilled water, boil tap water for one minute and let it cool.
- Mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda and one quarter teaspoon of salt into the water.
- Pour the solution into a clean cup.
- Using a bulb or syringe, gently spray this mixture into your child’s nostrils to help clear congestion.
3. Salt Water Gargle
Having your child gargle with salt water can help them relieve the scratchy throat that accompanies a cold.
Simply add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and have your child gargle the mixture for a few seconds and then spit it out, along with any mucus and irritants that have gathered at the back of the throat.
Make sure you are with your child as he or she does this to ensure they do not swallow any salt water.
4. Activated Charcoal
Charcoal is an absorbent, antibacterial substance that can work wonders for removing infection-causing bacteria from your child’s body.
(Note: Colds are caused by viral infections. Consult your doctor if you’re interested in using activated charcoal for a secondary infection.)
You can buy activated charcoal in jars and mix a tablespoon or two with your child’s water. Have your child drink the mixture several times per day.