Monday, November 15, 2010

Kids and Colds

It's the time of year when most parents could use their own parking space at the pediatrician's office.  When you have children, especially children in school, someone is always going to get sick in the fall and winter.  However, the last couple of years the pediatricians have stopped handing out antibiotics for colds, sore throats, etc.  This is mainly because the bugs that cause these illness are usually viral and antibiotics don't work on virus.  Taking an antibiotic when it is not needed can do more bad than good.  To learn more go to - Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work.

First, do your best to keep germs out of your house by teaching your kids good hygiene behavior.  These are the rules we have at my house: 
  1. Always wash your hands after using the restroom.
  2. Wash your hands before eating.
  3. Wash your hands whenever you come home from school, from being outside or from the store.
  4. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or cough/sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
You can find tips on how to teach your child good hand washing habits here:
For the times my kids do get sick there are a few things I make sure we have on hand:  tissues, cool mist humidifier, infant/child pain reliever and fever reducer, saline nose drops and a bulb syringe (for babies).  When our kids get a cold there are a few steps I always take:
  • I prop up their heads when they sleep with an extra pillow.  I believe this helps prevent drainage into their ears which can cause ear infections.  (For babies that are too young for pillows, I elevate their crib mattress by putting a folded blanket under it or using a crib wedge that you can buy at most baby stores.)
  • I run a cool mist humidifier in their room when sleeping.  This helps my kids sleep better.  It also helps with their cough and their sore throats.
  • For head and chest congestion - I sit with my kids in the bathroom with the door closed and run a hot shower.  I do not put my kids in the hot shower!  
  • My older children know how to blow their noses but my baby girl doesn't yet.  So, I put a couple of drops of saline solution in each nostril and wait a minute or two.  Then I use a bulb syringe to remove blockage from her nose.  This helps her sleep better.
  • Give pain reliever/fever reducer when needed and as directed on package or by doctor.
  • Make sure they have plenty of rest, liquids and soup!
Here are some great sites to find some tips on how to treat your kids when they have colds:

*All pictures are from the Parents Magazine website. 

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