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How to Soothe Your Child’s Cold or Flu

Addressing a Runny Nose

A runny nose often signals the onset of a cold, which can persist for up to two weeks. Initially clear, the mucus may become yellowish or cloudy after a few days. While less common, the flu can also cause a runny nose. Consider using saltwater nose drops to alleviate the drip.

Relieving Nasal Congestion

Combat nasal congestion by utilizing a cool-mist humidifier or indulging in a steamy shower. Additionally, warming up some chicken soup can provide relief, as research suggests it can alleviate stuffiness. If you believe your child may require medication for nasal congestion, consult your doctor.

Understanding Coughs

Coughing is a normal response to irritation in the throat or lungs and often resolves on its own. Unless the cough is disrupting your child’s sleep, hindering breathing, or causing significant discomfort, it may be best left untreated. Humidifiers, vaporizers, and steam can offer relief. For children over one year old, a teaspoon of honey may help. Consult your doctor if you’re considering cough medicine.

Addressing Respiratory Symptoms

Monitor your child’s breathing to identify potential respiratory issues. Sneezing may indicate a cold or flu, while wheezing could signal asthma or a chest cold. Seek medical attention promptly if you notice wheezing, labored breathing, difficulty speaking, or rapid breathing.

Alleviating Sore Throats

A sore throat may result from irritating mucus draining down the throat. Home remedies like warm or cold liquids can provide relief, with popsicles being a popular choice. Encourage older children to gargle with salt water or suck on hard candy and throat drops.

Managing Aches and Pains

Colds and flu can cause headaches and body aches. To alleviate discomfort, administer ibuprofen or acetaminophen to children over six months old, following your doctor’s recommendations. Avoid giving aspirin to children unless advised by a doctor.

Ear Discomfort

Fluid buildup from a cold or flu can lead to mild earaches. Provide comfort by applying a warm, moist cloth to the affected ear or administering ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Seek medical attention for fever, severe pain, drainage, or if your child is under two years old with an earache.

Fever Management

Contact your doctor if your child has a fever over 104°F, a fever of 101°F or higher lasting more than 72 hours, is under six months old, or is unvaccinated. Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever. Dress your child in lightweight clothing and ensure they stay hydrated.

Promoting Rest

Rest is crucial for recovery, as the body fights infection. Engage your child in calming activities like reading, puzzles, or crafts. Keep activities simple and minimize stress.

Hydration for Digestive Issues

Children with flu may experience diarrhea and vomiting, increasing the risk of dehydration. Offer small sips of solutions like Pedialyte, clear soups, water, or diluted juice. If vomiting persists or your child appears unwell, seek medical attention.

Safe Medication Use

Avoid cough and cold medicines for children under four years old unless advised by a doctor. Some experts suggest avoiding them for children under six. Discuss appropriate medications with your doctor, ensuring they target your child’s specific symptoms and avoiding duplicates. Always read labels carefully.

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