Colds are perfectly normal and entirely natural, particularly for those at daycare, those with older siblings, and those who lick things and share bogies. Given that that includes most kids, here are some tips on what to do when their noses start to run.
Accept that there isn't a cure. Really, all you can do is try to make your littlie as comfortable as possible. Humidifiers and a few drops of menthol on the pillow can help clear congestion and ease breathing. Steam is also a great decongestant, especially with a touch of eucalyptus oil. Try running a hot shower, then sitting your littlies in the bathroom for 15minutes, a couple of times a day. A few drops of saline or breast milk can work wonders for clearing babies' noses.
Rest is crucial for a speedy recovery. So get littlies to bed as soon as they start to flag, and if breathing is difficult, try elevating the head of the bed slightly with a couple of books, or sticking some folded towels under the mattress.
Don't be afraid of fevers. Fevers mean your body is fighting infection. Dr. Jonny Levy is the dad of 4 small children, a GP and Medical Director of Home Visiting Doctor and he’s seen a lot of snot in his time! Dr Levy advises that, providing your littlie doesn't have a history of febrile convulsions, it's actually best not to try to reduce high temperatures, because they help to kill viruses. Fluids are very important for avoiding dehydration, and soups and fruit juices can add vital vitamins and boost immunity. Try icy poles and warm cordials too.
Colds are viral, and won't respond to antibiotics. However, ibuprofen and paracetamol, especially when alternated, can ease pain, and will help littlies to sleep. Dr. Levy advises parents to “treat the child's misery, not the number on the thermometer.” He advises parents to “look at the child in general. Are they playing? Are they overly sleepy? Do they look pale?” He recognises that mums are experts on their littlies, so suggests that if they have any concerns, even if they think their littlie ‘just isn't right’, they should seek medical advice.
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to cheer poorly littlies up, but don't underestimate the power of cuddles.