Card image cap
Managing coughs and colds in kids
A comprehensive guide for parents.

Children often contract coughs and colds easily from their playgroups and caregivers because they touch everything, and it’s impossible to keep their hands clean. It’s very normal for children to get a few colds per year. Parents can feel very helpless and bewildered when their precious little ones fall ill because it’s difficult to medicate them effectively to reduce their symptoms quickly.

Why do they get colds and coughs?

  • Colds and coughs are generally caused by the many viruses that are present in the air. The rhinovirus, in particular, is usually the main culprit as it lodges in the respiratory tract and causes symptoms.
  • These colds usually last for a few days only and resolve by themselves. Infections, although present all year long, tend to peak in certain seasons like autumn and spring.
  • When the cough is occurring together with cold it is usually because of the post nasal drip caused by the cold.
  • Kids catch these viruses easily because they don’t have an immunity to them. The good news is that as they grow up and their immunity improves, they get fewer colds and coughs.

What are the symptoms?

    • Feeling tired and cranky
    • A sore throat
    • Runny nose
    • Watery eyes
    • Sneezing
    • Poor appetite
    • A possible fever
    • Stuffy nose
    • Headaches
coldCough1

How to prevent a cold and cough?

    • Viruses can live on surfaces for several hours. A person who is infected will deposit virus on any items that they touch, like railings, toys, books, pens, door handles, etc. This virus is then transferred to anyone who touches the contaminated objects. Encourage your kids to wash their hands regularly after every trip to the bathroom, before every meal, after playing with their toys, etc
    • Teach them the correct technique of washing hands. Usually, we do not wash long or thoroughly enough to kill all the germs that can make us ill.
    • If they do not have access to water and soap, provide them with hand sanitizer which will also adequately kill off any virus.
    • If your child is showing any cold symptoms, it is best to keep them at home to prevent spreading the cold to their friends and caregivers at school.
    • Show your kids the safe way to sneeze and cough to prevent spraying the virus into the air. They should use a tissue or if one is unavailable then they should cough or sneeze into the crook of the elbow.
    • Remind them to wash their hands after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing because the virus can still be on their hands.
coldCough2

When do you visit your doctor?

  • If the child doesn’t improve after a few days.
  • High fever- over 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sometimes the viral infection develops into a bacterial infection and the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, in some cases. If the clear nasal mucus becomes tinged with green or yellow, this may indicate a bacterial infection.
  • If your child has another coexisting condition like diabetes or asthma—it’s better to get the advice of a doctor to speed up recovery

Home remedies

    • Keep child very well hydrated. A mild fever may cause dehydration. A sore throat may prevent the child from drinking sufficient fluids. Offer water and diluted juices to keep hydration levels adequate.
    • Saline nasal drops and/using a humidifier will help break up any mucus in the nose and help the child breathe easier.
    • Honey, for children older than two years, will help to ease a nagging cough. If this doesn’t work, speak to your pharmacist about a mild, age-appropriate cough medication.
    • Encourage the child to rest as much as possible to speed up recovery.
    • Using a nasal suction specifically designed for young children to pull out any mucus in the nose, if the child is too young to blow his/her nose.
    • Specially designed vapor patches for children can provide immediate relief from congestion. The patches contain natural elements like menthol, spearmint and eucalyptus oils which can safely help to decongest your child. These handy patches can be placed on the clothes or within close but safe proximity to the child—they should never be placed directly onto the skin as they may irritate your child’s delicate skin. Also, always ensure they are out of reach of the child.
    • Another ayurvedic home remedy are Kadha shots. This specially blended combination of natural, ayurvedic ingredients will quickly reduce all symptoms of cold and cough in your child. The vitamins in the Kadha shot are easily absorbed by the body and boosts the body’s immunity for fast relief.
coldCough2

How to administer medication

  • Giving children medication is very difficult, especially if they’re determined not to take them.
  • For liquids: using a measuring syringe is very handy. They are more precise than the normal dosage cup found with the bottles. Children’s dosages are also much smaller than adults and a syringe is more accurate and less messy to use.
  • Vapor patches are a mess-free and easy way to decongest your little one’s stuffy nose. Regular vapor rubs are usually too pungent and may sting to young children. Placing a patch near but out of reach to the child will help them sleep peacefully without any irritation to nostrils or skin.

Important: All images are under Creative Commons licenses. Bibliography:

https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/tips-treating-kids
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Coughs-and-Colds-Medicines-or-Home-Remedies.aspx
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/flu-vs-cold.html
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/health/colds-coughs-and-ear-infections-in-children/
https://patient.info/chest-lungs/cough-leaflet/coughs-and-colds-in-children
https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/children_colds#1

Whats New