School is back is session, fall is turning to winter, and that means your kids have either been sick, are sick right this second, or will be sick very soon.
That’s not me thinking the sky is falling or being pessimistic either, it’s just the reality of the situation. First of all, the weather and the changing of the seasons often bring on colds and congestion on its own. But if your children go to daycare or have started school, forget about it. Your kids will get sick because school is a germ farm and cold incubator. Just assume the classroom pet is that monkey from Outbreak. That’s how sure I am your kid is getting sick.
So instead of pretending these kid colds can be prevented, I’m here to level with you and talk about how they can be dealt with effectively. Here are my five best tips to treat kids with stuffy noses.
5. Elevate the Head When They Sleep
This one is basic but very important, because if your kid is sleeping on an angle he is going to be able to breathe a lot easier. If you’re dealing with a toddler or an older child, then bust out those extra pillows and prop him up. Now if most kids are like my oldest, they flop around like maniacal fish after they’ve been caught and put on land. So make sure you head back in and readjust accordingly throughout the night. If you’re dealing with an infant, the best trick we ever learned was to place a wedge (or even a towel or two) underneath the crib mattress. That will help elevate your baby’s head and increase the chances of him sleeping more peacefully.
4. Take a Steam
No I’m not advocating you leave everyone else behind and bask in the loveliness of a spa or to make major renovations to your house by putting in a steam room. But when your little one is stuffed up, running the shower extra hot and temporarily turning your bathroom into a sauna is a great way to relieve congestion and help your kiddo breathe easy. Just turn the water on, close the door, and then have your kid sit in the bathroom for 5-10 minutes. It’s not a permanent fix but it’s saved us some sanity on more than one occasion.
3. Keep Your Kids Hydrated
Although simple, this one all too often goes overlooked. It’s vital for your sick kids to stay hydrated with lots of fluids, especially when they’re not feeling well. Why? Because fluids prevent dehydration and thin the mucus, which helps tremendously when unclogging a stuffy nose. Water is your best bet here, but fruit juices and milk are acceptable too. Just avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks such as soda. If they’re REALLY picky, try going for a sugar-free popsicle or even soup.
2. Use Saline Drops and a Nasal Aspirator
This process is disgusting, but totally necessary to get your little ones on the road to recovery. The first thing you need to do is find a brand you like and trust. I had no clue about this stuff when I first became a dad, but my wife swears by Little Remedies and now so do I. In fact, it’s the only nasal aspirator she’ll use (and I swear she tried them all). If you have an infant, I’d grab their Stuffy Nose Kit, which includes saline drops/spray and the aspirator with the soft, flexible angled tip. If you’re dealing with a toddler (or you just need the saline and not the aspirator), you can buy the saline spray by itself. It’s best with both parents helping — one to hold the baby and the other to do the dirty work. Put a couple of drops into the first nostril, let it work its magic, and then either have them blow or use the aspirator to suction the mucus out. Clean off the aspirator and do the same with the other nostril. They scream and yell and freak out a bit at first, but once they’re unclogged you can see and hear how much easier it is for them to breathe. Totally worth it.
1. Keep It Clean
You’ve got to do your best to keep a child’s environment clean and free of pollutants and irritants, which will give him a much easier time breathing. First of all (and I can’t believe this still has to be said, but it does), no smoking. Breathing in smoke when you’re healthy is hard enough, but when you have a cold it’s that much more wretched. And you should quit anyway. Also, if you have a pet whose dander could be making things more difficult, running the vacuum an extra time wouldn’t hurt. But try to remember other things you might not think of, like any possible mold or even the filter on your air conditioner or furnace. Those things can get pretty nasty and most people don’t realize it’s recommended to change the filter every two months or so. These might seem like insignificant things, but they all add up quickly and definitely affect your child’s ability to breathe when congested.
***Disclaimer: I was compensated by Little Remedies for this post. However, I used their products way before they ever approached me and I stand by their effectiveness and endorse them 100%. Check out their website and Facebook page.