Coughs and Colds: Medicines or Home Remedies?

Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines can cause serious side effects in young children. The risks of using these medicines outweigh any benefits from reducing symptoms. Therefore, in October 2008, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that OTC cough and cold medicines never be used in children younger than 4 years. 

From ages 4 to 6 years, they should be used only if recommended by your child’s doctor. After age 6 years, the medicines are safe to use, but follow the dosage instructions on the package. Fortunately, you can easily treat cough s and colds in young children without these nonprescription medicines.

Home Remedies

A good home remedy is safe, inexpensive, and as beneficial as OTC medicines. They are also found in nearly every home. 

Here is how you can treat your child’s symptoms with simple but effective home remedies instead of medicines:

1 Runny Nose: Just suction or blow it. And remember, when your child’s nose runs like a faucet, it’s getting rid of viruses. Antihistamines (eg, loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine) do not help the average cold. However, they are useful and approved if the runny nose is caused by nasal allergies (hay fever).

2 Blocked Nose: Use nasal washes.

◦ Use saline nose spray or drops to loosen up dried mucus, followed by blowing or suctioning the nose. If these are not available, warm water will work fine.

◦ Instill 2 to 3 drops in each nostril. Do one side at a time. Then suction or blow. Teens can just splash warm water into their nose. Repeat nasal washes until the return is clear.

◦ Do nasal washes whenever your child can’t breathe through the nose. For infants on a bottle or breast, use nose drops before feedings.

◦ Saline nose drops and sprays are available in all pharmacies without a prescription. To make your own, add 2 mL of table salt to 240 mL of warm tap water.

◦ Sticky, Stubborn Mucus: Remove with a wet cotton swab.

◦ Medicines: There is no medicine that can remove dried mucus or pus from the nose.

3 Coughing: Use homemade cough medicines.

◦ For Children 3 Months to 1 Year of Age: Give warm, clear fluids (eg, warm water, apple juice). Dosage is 5 to 15 mL 4 times per day when coughing. Avoid honey because it can cause infantile botulism . If your child is younger than 3 months, see your child’s doctor.

◦ For Children 1 Year and Older: Use HONEY, 2 to 5 mL, as needed. It thins secretions and loosens the cough. (If honey is not available, you can use corn syrup.) Recent research has shown that honey is better than drugstore cough syrups at reducing the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing.

◦ Coughing Spasms: Expose your child to warm mist from a shower.

4 Fluids: Help your child drink plenty of fluids. Staying well hydrated thins the body’s secretions, making it easier to cough and blow the nose.

5 Humidity: If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Moist air keeps nasal mucus from drying up and lubricates the airway. Running a warm shower for a while can also help humidify the air.

Treatment Is Not Always Needed

• If symptoms aren’t bothering your child, they don’t need medicine or home remedies. Many children with a cough or nasal congestion are happy, play normally, and sleep peacefully.

• Only treat symptoms if they cause discomfort, interrupt sleep, or really bother your child (eg, a hacking cough).

• Because fevers are beneficial, only treat them if they slow your child down or cause some discomfort. That doesn’t usually occur until your child’s temperature reaches 102°F (39°C) or higher.

• Acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (eg, Advil, Motrin) can be safely used in these instances to treat fever or pain.

Summary:

If treatment is needed for coughs and colds, home remedies may work better than medicines

Today – A Day for Living

Girl With The Candle oil canvas 
Artist Kuznetsova Polina

Girl With The Candle oil canvas 
Artist Kuznetsova Polina

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to give birth, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

ECCLESIASTES Chapter 3 v1-8

The fourteen pairs of opposites describe various human activities. The poem affirms that God has determined the appropriate moment or “time” for each. Human beings cannot know that moment; further, the wider course of events and purposes fixed by God are beyond them as well.

Lenka
Live Like You’re Dying lyrics

One of these days you’ll be
Under the covers you’ll be
Under the table and you’ll realize
All of your days are numbered;
All of them one to one hundred.
All of them millions.
All of them trillions.
So what are you gonna do with them all?
You can not trade them in for mall.
No no

Take every moment; you know that you own them.
It’s all you can do, use what’s been given to you.

Give me a reason
To fight the feeling
That there’s nothing here for me.
Cause none of it’s easy,
I know it wasn’t meant to be.
I know it’s all up to me
I know it’s all up to me
So what am I gonna do with my time?
Oh

I’ll take every moment, I know that I own them.
It’s all up to you to do whatever you choose.

Live like you’re dying and never stop trying.
It’s all you can do, use what’s been given to you.

All of the moments you didn’t notice;
Gone in the blink of an eye.
All of the feelings you couldn?t feel
No matter how you try.
Oh oh

Take every moment; you know that you own them.
It’s all you can do, use what’s been given to you.

Live like you’re dying and never stop trying.
It’s all you can do, use what’s been given to you.

Live like you’re dying and never stop trying.
It’s all you can do, use what’s been given to you.

Medication Safety – Keep Medicines Out of Reach!

Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Children in a Room (c.1909), gouache on paper pasted on canvas

Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Children in a Room (c.1909), gouache on paper pasted on canvas

While it’s important to encourage our kids to explore and discover new things, when it comes to medication, we want to be careful to keep them safe

Put all medicines up and away and out of sight including your own.

Consider places where kids get into medicine.

Consider products you might not think about as medicines.

Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine.

Put the toll-free Poison Help Number into your home and cell phone: 1-800-222-1222

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning.

Ibuprofen

At the Seaside - Dorothea Sharp (1874-1955)

At the Seaside – Dorothea Sharp (1874-1955)

IBUPROFEN

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medicine taken to relieve aches and pain and reduce fever. It’s a safe drug when used correctly, but taking too much can make a child very sick. Overdosing can lead to stomach or intestinal problems. So it’s important to know how to properly give the medicine.

Know how to give Ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil to your children.