Over-the-Counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines can cause side effects. These side effects can be serious in young children. The risks of using these medicines outweigh any benefits. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looked at this issue in children. They recommended these medicines never be used in young children. After age 6, the medicines are safe to use, if you follow the package instructions. But, it's easy to treat coughs and colds without these medicines.
A good home remedy is safe, cheap, and as helpful as OTC medicines. They are also found in nearly every home. Here are some simple but helpful home treatments.
1. Runny Nose: Just suction it or blow it. Teach your child how to blow the nose at age 2 or 3. When your child's nose runs like a faucet, it's getting rid of viruses. Allergy medicines (such as Benadryl) do not help the average cold. They are useful only if your child has nasal allergies (hay fever).
2. Blocked Nose: Use nasal saline.
3. Coughing: Use homemade cough medicines.
4. Fluids: Help your child drink lots of fluids. Staying well hydrated thins the body's secretions. That makes it easier to cough and blow the nose.
5. Humidity: If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Moist air keeps the nose and airway from drying out. Run a warm shower for a while to help put moisture in the air.
If coughs or colds need treatment, home remedies may work better than medicines.
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