Dr. Dina Kulik: The Baby Doctor


5 Smart Ways To Treat Cold And Flu Symptoms At Home

Colds and Flu are inevitable, here is how to Keep Your Kid Comfortable

When my now ‘big-kid’ Dylan started school this past September, I wasn't worried about him making friends, liking his teacher, or succeeding academically. I knew he would blow me away in those areas (proud mommy alert). What I worried about most were the things he'd be exposed to daily— you know, those pesky germs that prevent our kids from doing the things they love.

Viral season is here and will be around for a few more months and unfortunately, school-age children are always in close contact with one another, so they're bound pass the ‘virus-de-jour’ back and forth like a game of hot potato.

Once your kid does pick up that inevitable virus, how can you treat the symptoms at home and keep your child comfortable?

5 easy, doctor-approved ways to treat cold and flu symptoms:

1. Water and rest and more water and rest

Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. This is a common piece of advice that seems simple, but it really does help. If your child has vomiting or diarrhea, it is especially important that they are drinking adequately to maintain hydration. Frequent sips of small amounts of fluid can work wonders. Try using a "crazy-straw" to entice reluctant sippers.

2. Be number aware: Keep tabs on your child's temperature

Although thermometers have been around forever, it’s important to do your research to find the best thermometer for your child’s needs. The Braun No touch + forehead is non-invasive and allows you to check a temperature up to 5 centimeters away. It takes less than 2 seconds to take a reading, which is important if your child hates having his temperature taken. It also includes a silent mode and a colour-coded fever guidance that will make middle-of-the-night readings stress-free.

If your child does have a fever, Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen can help with alleviating the fever and with aches and pains associated with the cold or flu.

For children who have a fever and are less that 2 months of age, fever can signal a serious bacterial infection—see your doctor ASAP.

3. Nasal drops and suction: Get the guck out

Saline drops or spray and suctions can work very well to clear the nose of mucous so your child can breathe easier. My preference is to use a nasal aspirator that works through parent’s suction.

4. A humidifier is your new best friend

Decongestion is made simple and natural by using a humidifier and some eucalyptus to help your child breathe more easily. Research has shown that maintaining indoor humidity levels between 40-60 per cent reduces the survival of flu viruses in the air. If your child isn’t too sure about having a humidifier running in their room at night, a great one to try is the the Vicks Starry Night Cool Mist Humidifier, which has the added feature of stars that light up on the ceiling.

5. Honey, honey

Honey can aid in cold recovery in children over the age of one year. On a spoon, in warm water, milk or tea, honey has great, natural antiviral and antibacterial properties to help fight infection. Read more about cough and cold medicine for kids.

BONUS: Cold and Flu Prevention

Preventing cold and flu is as important as treating so here are some tips to help your child stay healthy and virus-free:

  1. Consider the flu vaccine.
  2. Teach your child to wash his or her hands often. For sure after using the toilet, after recess and before eating. Every single time.
  3. Teach your child to avoid touching his/her face, eyes and nose – this is how viruses and bacterial infections get started
  4. Avoid sharing cups, food and utensils with friends at school.
  5. Sneezing into a tissue or your elbow (versus the palm of the hand) is a great strategy to prevent spread of viruses.

Hopefully those tips will help you cope with cold and flu season this year and beyond!