As a parent, it’s a sound that you dread: coughing. And when it’s accompanied by sniffles and running noses, it’s all the worse. It wasn’t that long ago that there were several options for over the counter cough remedies for kids. But times have changed and the FDA no longer recommends cough medications for children under age 2. And the cough-syrup makers are now saying none for kids under age four. So what can you do when your child comes down with a cough?
It can be hard to keep up with the latest recommendations and warnings out there. It seems like every day, the common wisdom is being challenged and changed. As a parent, it can be pretty scary. Whereas just a few years ago, you were told to give your toddler Tylenol Cold and Flu for Infants, today the product is erased from the landscape.
So, what do you do when your baby comes down with the common cold and is coughing? Here’s what some parents and experts said.
Make sure it’s a cold
It’s easy to label any sort of coughing, sniffling and sneezing as a cold. But before you do anything, make sure that you have the right diagnosis. Symptoms of the common cold include stuffy noses, sore throats, coughs and perhaps aches. However, these symptoms can also be signs of other ailments including allergies. If wheezing is present, or your child is short of breath, seek medical attention.
Just a spoon full of …
Mary Poppins may have pushed sugar to help the medicine go down, but some savvy parents look towards other sweeteners as the essential cure. Dad Nicholas Brown swears by honey. “I have a four year old that just got over a cold. I never give him cough syrup but find that a teaspoon or two of organic honey with or without peppermint or chamomile tea tends to be the best remedy for easing his cough. Honey is the key,” Brown said.
For Kay Odell, of WeekDate, the solution is maple syrup. “My mother-in-law, a native of Switzerland, has always recommended a big spoonful of maple syrup just before bedtime for kids with a cough. It coats the throat to help prevent nighttime coughs/disruption of sleep. I’ve always used it with my children and has worked pretty well. Make sure that it’s the last thing down their throat before sleeping. (Try to avoid even water after that.),” Odell said.
Mom Andrea Schumann, who has 5 boys between the ages of three and 12, said that she’s never been a big fan of medications for children, so she uses a medicated salve that is an Amish remedy for colds called Unkers. “I also use an essential oil blend from Young Living called Raven for my boys older than 6 and Eucalyptus Radatia for the youngest. I take a small amount (perhaps a nickel size) of the ointment and add 2-3 drops of the Raven (or the Eucalyptus for the youngest). I then rub this on the chest/neck area and repeat the process and (I know it sounds crazy) the soles of the feet. The soles of the feet have the VitaFlex points that are associated with the lungs. I only do the “feet’ technique at night – too messy otherwise. You will notice an effect almost immediately. I’ve seen this calm a non-stop cough that is disrupting sleep over and over again,” Schumann said.
Clean nose, clear nose
Most peope with allergies are pretty familiar with the benefits of nasal washing. Flushing out the nasal passages with a saline solution can not only clear up stuffy noses, but push out the irritants. Pediatric ENT Dr. Diane Heatley, of the University of Wisconsin, invented the Kids Mist to help parents irrigate young children’s nasal passages. It’s a kid-friendly pump spray that shoots a fine saline mist into the nose. It thins whatever is in the nose, allowing it to just drain out.
For wet coughs
Naomi Gelperin Richman of Bee Well Kidz Inc. says that for wet coughs parents should eliminate dairy and sugar from their child’s diet. Richman also recommends tea made with free ginger and homemade chicken soup.