REMEDIES FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH PROBLEMS - Part 1
Sometimes we hear our kid sneezing or coughing and are ready to head straight to the local pharmacy. Hang on! Here are a few gentle, effective, and safe home remedies for some common ailments in children. This article covers home remedies for colds, cough, nose bleeds and ear pain in children.
The symptoms of a cold normally start a day or two after being exposed to the virus. Nasal congestion is usually the first symptom. Other symptoms may include a sore throat, cough, reduced appetite, irritation and difficulty in sleeping. In case of nose bleeds, the symptom will be evident. Ear pain would make the child irritable, clingy and cranky.
Steaming – This requires a humidifier, steamy bathroom or a vaporizer. Breathing warm moist air loosens the mucus in the nasal passages which relieves the child from a blocked nose. A warm bath also relaxes the child. Ensure that the humidifier used is clean since they tend to accumulate mold that might spray into the air.
Nasal drops - Nasal drops can be used to clear the nose when kids are unable to blow their nose.
Natural vapor balms – Natural vapor balms are made with aloe, herbs, essential oils and beeswax. Massage the vapor rub onto the chest and back to get relief. Do not apply on broken or sensitive skin or near the eyes, nose or mouth.
Ajwain (carom seeds) – Take 2 tablespoons of ajwain in a small napkin, warm it over a pan. Place on the child’s chest and back to relieve congestion. Check the napkin on your hand first to ensure comfortable temperature for the child.
Elevation – Use towels, pillows, cushions, etc. to elevate the child’s head while resting so as to help her breathe comfortably. You could even let a smaller child sleep in the car-seat or an older child in a recliner.
Honey – Mix a pinch of honey with turmeric to fight a throat infection. Turmeric has antiseptic properties and honey will help heal and soothe the throat. Ask the child to lick it off a spoon. Alternatively, make a paste of tulsi and ginger, mix it with 3-4 drops of honey and give it to your child.
Ginger – Coarsely pound ginger and boil in one cup of water. Reduce to half. Add honey and get your child to drink it warm at bedtime.
Gargling – Add a pinch of turmeric and / or a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle. Try to get the child to do it 2-3 times a day. This is an extremely effective remedy for sore throats.
Vapor rub – Rub Vicks or any other natural vapor rub to the soles of the feet and make the child wear socks. This helps the child sleep soundly when he has a cough.
Hot fluids and rest – Nothing beats being rested, curled up with a book, an extra pillow and comforter. Ensure that your child drinks plenty of warm fluids to prevent dehydration, nasal congestion and to soothe the throat.
What to do: In case of a nose bleed, stay calm; keep the child calm; keep child upright and tilt the head slightly forwards. Keep pressure with a tissue or napkin on the soft part of the nose (below the bony ridge) for about 10 minutes. Do not let the child lean back or blow, pick and rub the nose after a nosebleed.
Vinegar – Wet a cloth or cotton ball with vinegar and hold it in the bleeding nostril. It helps seal the blood vessel wall and stop the bleeding.
Ice – Place crushed ice into a zipper bag or in a napkin. Hold the compress on the bridge of the nose to stop bleeding, and reduce any inflammation (in case of an injury).
Prop the child’s head up to help reduce the pain. Apply a hot compress over the painful ear to bring quick relief. Cuddle and comfort your child.
Cold and cough - Follow simple hygiene habits to prevent infections like hand washing before / after eating and after sneezing/coughing, using hand sanitizers where water is not available, using household cleaners and restricting direct contact with people who are ill. Regular intake of vitamin C rich foods will help build resistance.
Nose bleeds - Green leafy vegetables are high in Vitamin K, required for proper blood clotting. Citric juices prevent blood vessels from breaking easily and their vitamin C content helps keep the moist nasal lining intact. Also, in case of allergies, treat them to avoid damage to delicate nasal membranes due to constant sneezing and blowing.
Ear pain – Keep the child away from smoke. Breastfeed your baby; this is believed to be protective against early development of ear infections.