As winter arrives, so does the much unpleasant season of sick kids and the seemingly endless cycles of cold and flu in the entire family. Indeed, there is quite nothing more dreadful to parents than a child with the flu. It can be truly challenging to witness your child in pain and agony and not know which flu remedies are safe and effective for kids. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications are not safe for children especially very young children. Here we outline some of our go-to soothing treatments to help ease your child’s discomfort and pain during the flu.
Cool Mist Humidifier
Cold and flu often accompany nasal congestion, dry sinuses, and a sore throat all of which are made worse by exposure to cold and dry air. It is, therefore, imperative to maintain healthy humidity levels indoors (30%-50% recommended). Using a cool misting humidifier in your child’s room can help soothe the sinuses, sore throat, and relieve congestion.
One of the most effective ways of delivering comfort during flu is taking a hot steam shower. We recommend using essential oils like eucalyptus oil to further support proper congestion relief. Inhaling the hot shower steam helps loosen and move excess mucus build-up, moisturize the sinuses, and deliver temporary relief for congestion and sore throat.
Saline Nasal Spray
Proper thinning and drainage of mucus can provide immediate and great comfort to a child with the flu. Saline nasal sprays are a quick, easy, safe, and effective way to flush out mucus. It is very important to use pure saline nasal sprays without any chemical additives or use an all-natural saline nasal spray for kids especially formulated for safety and efficacy. Many products marked as “saline nasal spray” contain dangerous decongestant medications; see our blog post on The Dangers Of Medicate Nasal Sprays. If your child is under 6 months old, we recommend using a rubber suction bulb to remove excess mucus instead of saline nasal sprays or drops.
Honey is one of the most ancient remedies used for a variety of conditions including soothing a sore throat. Add honey to hot water or herbal teas or give your child 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey before sleep to maximize comfort during sleep. Not all kinds of honey are created equal: we recommend organic raw honey or better yet, opt-in for the famed medicinal Manuka Honey from New Zealand with almost magical healing qualities, we recommend the varieties marked as 20+ bioactivity or 400MG+. Honey is not safe for children under one year of age.
Menthol rubs are a great way to help both congestion and cough. As the menthol rub evaporates slowly, it enters your child’s nostrils and throat helping relieve inflammation, congestion, and cough. Menthols rubs are a great way of helping your child sleep through the night. Menthols rubs are not safe for children under 2 years of age.
Hot water, herbal teas, and soups are soothing to the respiratory system and the digestive system during the flu. Drinking warm liquids helps open up sinuses, soothes a sore throat, and helps balance the body’s temperature. We prefer hot water with lemon and honey, herbal teas, bone broth, or light comforting soups for children with the flu. Warm liquids are not recommended for babies under 6 months old.
Flu is not fun especially for young children who tend to have a weaker immune system and not many safe medication options. Although the flu can be really uncomfortable, with proper care and treatment it is often resolved within a week or two. If your child’s flu symptoms persist beyond two weeks or high fever is detected for more than 2 days, contact your pediatrician immediately.