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Cold and flu remedies: what works and what is safe to use?

If your child has a serious cold or a bout of flu, it’s always best to visit your doctor for a prescription and for other treatment that may be necessary. However, there are home remedies that you can use in conjunction with those treatments to help your child feel better faster. Here are our top ten.

Saline or salt-water nose sprays or drops are safe to use on even very young infants, and they help to soften and loosen mucus in little noses. Particularly when used with a nasal aspirator, or bulb.

Honey is another great home remedy that coats and soothes a sore throat. Don’t use honey on children under 12 months though, as they are at risk of botulism poisoning. Honey can be added to warm water to make a soothing drink.

Blowing your child’s nose, from the age of around two years old, is another safe method of speeding recovery from colds and flu. This helps to clear up congestion, and will make breathing easier. Bulb syringes work best on children younger than two, who have not yet learned to blow their own noses.

Baby safe vapour rubs, that contain menthol, eucalyptus or camphor can help treat congestion in children aged three months and older. Simply rub it onto your child’s chest and back before bed, and it’ll help clear clogged nasal passages.

When your child’s head is stuffy from colds and flu, elevating his or her head is another way to make him or her more comfortable. This helps open up the airways, and makes breathing easier. Be careful not to tilt your child’s head forward though, as this will have the opposite effect.

Gargling with salt water helps to soothe a sore throat and remove excess mucus, however, it’s only suitable for children who are aged four and upwards. Younger children risk choking.
Sleep. Even adults need more rest when they are sick, and getting a lot of rest is one of the very best ways your child’s body can start to heal itself.

Humid air: Whether you use a humidifier, or take your child into a hot, steamy bathroom, humid air helps to clear blogged respiratory passages. Adding decongestant oil like eucalyptus or menthol to the water can also help.

Chicken soup, tea, or another type of warm liquid also helps to soothe sore throats. Chicken soup in particular has been shown to have flu busting properties, but you should only serve warm liquids to children aged six months and older.

More fluids are the last essential home remedy for colds and flu that is safe for your child. When your child has a fever, he or she will sweat more. Extra fluids help to replace the lost moisture.

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