As we head deeper into the season of coughs, sniffles, congestion and scratchy throats, it means you want to keep your cabinets cold and flu season-ready. While sore throats and runny noses might be expected this time of year, no parent likes to see their little ones suffer.
Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, so antibiotics usually aren’t helpful. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against giving kids OTC cold medicine under the age of four, and says kids ages four to six should only get medicine if their doctor says they should. They also don’t need treatment for a low-grade fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or lower), but you can give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) if your child is uncomfortable.
While rest and plenty of fluids are key while your child rides out the illness, “many parents want effective and safe options for treating their children’s cold symptoms,” Dr. Joy Weydert, M.D., a practicing pediatrician in Kansas City, tells SheKnows. “They also want things as natural as possible because they are aware of the concerns around some of the OTC cold medicines that have caused harm.”
Just know that there’s one type of natural product to use caution with when dealing with kids: essential oils.
“I don’t recommend essential oils for little ones,” Dr. Jen Trachtenberg, M.D tells SheKnows. “There is increased [likelihood of a] call to poison control, since many can be toxic if ingested and cause skin irritation for some.” And others may pose health risks.
If you’re looking for a safe natural route to help cure your kid’s latest case of the sniffles, here are 13 great natural cold remedies for kids to try. Of course, always consult with your child’s doctor before using anything.
A version of this story was published October 2019.
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