Common cold makes our life hell. We are unable to breathe, sleep, eat or talk properly, our head keeps hurting and we can’t wait for the ordeal to get over and get back to our regular life. So when our little ones get a cold and start coughing we can more than empathise.
While common cold can’t be cured, its symptoms can be treated to give some relief to our child. But is the cold medication the way to go? And if yes what dose is the correct dose for our kids? Let’s find out.
According to FDA over-the-counter or OTC cold medication should not be given to children under 4 years of age. They are harmful to the child and can be potentially fatal in high doses. Moreover, the side effects of these medications can include convulsions and rapid heart rate.
According to Dr Vaneet Parmar, Neonatologist, “Over the counter cold medication and antibiotics should not be given to children. In serious cases like chronic bronchitis cold medication can be prescribed in small doses, however they should only be given under the guidance of a doctor. Parents should never self medicate their child.”
Antibiotics are not helpful in these cases since they only treat bacterial infections whereas a cold is a viral infection. Giving unnecessary antibiotic would only lead to antibiotic resistance.
So what can be done to treat the symptoms of your child and give some relief?
1) Nasal sprays: Use warm saline water to clean out the nose of your kid. It can be administered as nasal drops in children under 2 years, for older children nasal sprays can be used. Saline water helps to decongest the nose and help your kid breathe easily, providing some much-needed relief.
2) Keep your child hydrated: Make sure that your child is getting enough fluids throughout the day. Liquids in the form of juice, warm water, soup and broth are helpful in easing cough and congestion as well as keeping the body hydrated.
3) Use cool mist humidifiers: These help in keeping the nasal secretions liquid and reduce the inflammation of the nasal passage making your child more comfortable. It should be noted that warm mist humidifiers should not be used as they can cause the nasal passage to swell and make breathing more difficult.
4)Saline gargles: If your child is 6 yrs or older, gargling warm saline water will help soothe the throat.
5) Use homemade cough medicine: For children under 1 year, giving 5-15 ml of warm water every 4 hours is helpful in soothing cough. Honey should not be given to infants since it has the risk of causing infantile botulism. Consult your pediatrician if the child is younger than 3 months.
For children older than 1 year, 5ml-15ml of honey can be given. It helps to loosen out the cough and thin nasal secretions.
6) Use suction bulbs: Suction bulbs can be used in infants to remove stubborn mucus and clear the airway.
Common cold can be very distressing for your child, but, cold medications are not the right way to treat them. By following the methods mentioned above you can make your child comfortable and let the cold run its course. If your children’s symptoms persist for more than a few days and/or they develop fever, vomiting or chills contact your pediatrician immediately as these can be a symptom of flu or some other serious health condition.