28.12.2017 Health & Fitness

Best Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Your Child's Flu

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Lots of rest (all ages)
How this helps:
It takes energy to fight an infection, and that can wear out a child (or an adult). When your child rests, he's healing, which is exactly what he needs to do.

Studies show that stress plays a role in illness too. If your child is under pressure – because of school, or friends, or something happening at home – giving him a break may be just what he needs.

What you need:

  • A comfortable place for your child to rest
  • Quiet activities to occupy him

What to do:
Now's the time to let your child watch his favorite video or play an entertaining new app one more time. Or bring him a new set of crayons and paper or a coloring book. Even a puzzle can be manageable in bed.

He doesn't necessarily have to stay in bed to rest. Sometimes a change of scenery is helpful, so if the weather is nice, set up a comfortable place in the yard or on the porch. Indoors, make a cozy spot someplace more fun than his bed – set up a tent in the living room or make a snug pillow fort near you.

If your young child finds it hard to rest, help him by cuddling up with some books. Teach him some finger rhymes (like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider") or tell stories together. Or bring him the phone so he can chat with Grandma or a friend.

Steam (all ages)
How this helps:
Breathing moist air helps loosen the mucus in the nasal passages. A warm bath has the added benefit of relaxing your child.

What you need:

  • A humidifier, cool-mist vaporizer, or steamy bathroom

What to do:
Use a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer in your child's bedroom when she's sleeping, resting, or playing in the room.

Give your child a warm bath in a steamy bathroom. Let a hot shower run for a few minutes before getting the tub ready. Let her play in the bath as long as she likes (supervised, of course, unless she's old enough to be just within earshot).

If it's not a convenient time for a bath, simply turn on the hot water in the tub or shower, close the bathroom door, block any gap under the door with a towel, and sit in the steamy room with your child for about 15 minutes. (Bring a few books.)

Thoroughly clean and dry your humidifier every day. Mold and bacteria can accumulate inside it, and these can then spray into the air when you run the humidifier.

Saline drops and bulb syringes (all ages)
How this helps:
When kids are too young to blow their nose well, saline drops or a bulb syringe can clear his nose. Using a bulb syringe works best for young babies, especially if a stuffy nose interferes with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. (Try using it about 15 minutes beforehand.) But if your older child doesn't mind the procedure, there's no reason not to do it.

What you need:

  • A rubber bulb syringe
  • Saline (saltwater) solution, either store-bought or homemade

Saline nose drops – or spray for children 2 and older – are available at pharmacies without a prescription.

You also can prepare saline drops at home with this recipe from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI): In a clean jar, mix 3 heaping teaspoons of salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda. (Use pickling or canning salt that doesn't contain iodide, anticaking agents, or preservatives, which can irritate the nasal lining.)

Dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture in 4 ounces of warm water.

Safety note: Use only store-bought distilled or sterile water, or tap water that you've boiled for three to five minutes and cooled until lukewarm. Organisms in untreated tap water can survive in nasal passages and cause serious infection. Bacteria can grow in the solution, so don't keep it for more than 24 hours.

What to do:

  • Tip your child's head back or lay him on his back with a rolled-up towel supporting his head.
  • Squeeze two or three drops of saline solution into each nostril to thin and loosen the mucus. Try to keep his head still afterward for about 30 seconds (or less for a baby).
  • Squeeze the bulb of the syringe, then gently insert the rubber tip into his nostril. Some doctors recommend also gently closing off the other nostril with your finger to get better suction from the bulb syringe.
  • Slowly release the bulb to collect mucus and saline solution.
  • Remove the syringe and squeeze the bulb to expel the mucus into a tissue.
  • Wipe the syringe and repeat with the other nostril.
  • Repeat if necessary.

Don't suction your child's nose more than a few times a day or you might irritate its lining. And don't use the saline drops for more than four days in a row because they can dry out his nose over time, making things worse.

You can also use the bulb syringe without saline to remove mucus. Squeeze the bulb to force out air, gently insert the tip in his nostril, and slowly let the air out of the bulb to draw in mucus. Remove the bulb and squeeze any mucus onto a tissue.

If your baby gets really upset when you use the syringe, try saline drops instead. Squirt a small amount into his nose, then gently swipe his lower nostrils with a cotton swab. Be careful not to insert the swab inside his nostrils.

Don't use nasal decongestant sprays on your baby or young child. Doctors don't recommend them for children younger than 6 and usually don't advise them for older kids either. Nasal sprays aren't effective and can cause a rebound effect, making congestion worse in the long run.

Extra fluids (all ages)
How this helps:
Drinking plenty of fluids prevents dehydration, thins your child's nasal secretions, and flushes them out.

What you need:

  • Breast milk, formula, water, or other fluids that your child enjoys drinking

What to do:
For babies younger than 12 months, simply breastfeeding or bottle-feeding her more frequently is the best way to keep her well hydrated. For older children, plain water is great, but your child might not find it very appealing. You can also offer fruit smoothies or ice pops made from 100 percent juice.

Cautions: Stick to breast milk or formula for babies younger than 6 months unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Babies that young don't need water , and too much could actually be harmful.

Warm liquids and chicken soup (6 months and up)
How this helps:
Warm, clear liquids can be very soothing and help relieve congestion. Studies have shown that chicken soup, both canned and homemade, actually relieves cold symptoms like aches, fatigue, congestion, and fever . Broth is a good alternative for babies who are still getting accustomed to solid foods.

What you need:

  • Warm water, broth, soup, or chamomile tea

What to do:
Serve liquids warm, not hot.
Consult your healthcare provider before trying herbal teas other than chamomile because not all "natural" products are safe.

Elevating the head (12 months and up)
How this helps:
Elevating your child's head while she rests can help her breathe more comfortably.

What you need:

  • Towels or pillows to raise the head of the mattress, or pillows to raise your toddler or older child's head

What to do:
If your child sleeps in a crib, place a couple of towels or a slim pillow underneath the head of the mattress on the crib springs. Don't try to raise the legs of the crib because this could make the crib unstable.

If your child sleeps in a big bed, an extra pillow under her head might do the trick. But if she's at all squirmy while she sleeps, it's safer to raise the head of the bed by sliding towels or a pillow underneath the mattress. This also creates a more gradual, comfortable slope than extra pillows.

Another option: If your grade-schooler needs to be propped up while she sleeps, she may be more comfortable in a recliner.

Whether it's a crib or a bed, don't overdo it. If your child's a restless sleeper, she might flip around so that her feet are higher than her head, defeating the purpose.

Honey (12 months and up)
How this helps:
Honey coats and soothes the throat and helps tame a cough. A few small studies suggest honey can ease coughing and help children sleep better overnight.

What you need:

  • Honey
  • Lemon (optional)

Honey often gets hard at room temperature. To soften it, spoon some into a heatproof container and warm it briefly in a microwave, or boil water and set the container in the very hot water for five to 10 minutes.

How to do it:
Give your child 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey. Some people mix honey with hot water and a squeeze of lemon, which adds a little vitamin C.

Because honey is sticky, have your child brush his teeth after he takes it, especially if you give it to him at bedtime.

Never give honey to a baby younger than 1 year old. In rare cases, it can cause infant botulism, a dangerous and sometimes fatal illness.

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