You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Snotty noses and winter go hand and hand.

It is definitely winter!  Cold and gray and a little cooped up!  Cabin fever is common in a home with children during these winter months.  So are running noses, coughs, fevers and other sicknesses!

There were winters when I swore the kids had runny noses all January, February and March!  The truth is, they probably did.  The average child has six to ten colds a year lasting about 10 days each…and most of those are in the winter!  So chances are your child has a runny nose now.  Even though I was a pediatric nurse practitioner, the first time I saw green snot from Corri’s nose, I can’t lie….my heart skipped a beat.  “What do I do now?”  Gathering my wits, I knew the best thing to do was take care of the symptoms…no medicine will help a child get rid of a cold faster.  Just a few tips to tackle the most common childhood illness.  Put on the chicken soup….it is cold season.

How should I treat my child’s cold?             

  • No medicine will make the cold go away faster.   Do not use over the counter cold medications.
  • Offer liquids often, especially if your child has a fever.
  • Use a bulb syringe to suction you your child’s nose.  Children can’t blow until about age 2.  You may use saline nose drops to loosen mucous in the nose.  I guarantee, your child won’t like this!
  • Use petroleum jelly around the nose to protect the skin from irritation from nasal drainage.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer your child’s bedroom.  This will keep that “snot” draining a bit better, and make it easier for your child to breath with the dry winter heat.
  • Elevate the head of your child’s mattress.  If your child is in a crib, place a couple of towels between the mattress and the crib springs
  • Give acetaminophen to ease your child’s discomfort or fever.
  • May give a teaspoon of honey for a cough for children older than one year.  If giving before bed, brush teeth afterwards.  Honey has been proven to be as effective as cough syrup!
  • Antibiotics will not help a viral cold go away faster, I promise!

When do I call the doctor?

  • Call if your child begins pulling at ears or becomes increasingly fussy.
  • Call if there is thick yellow or green drainage from your child’s nose for more than 10 days.
  • Call if there is a worsening cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Call if your child is wheezing.
  • Call if your child develops a fever after a few days.
  • Call if your child refuses to drink.
  • Call if your child’s symptoms get worse after 5 days.
  • Call if you are worried or anxious about your child’s cold symptoms.  Always better to call than worry!

How do I prevent colds?

  • Hand washing is the number one way to prevent colds and illnesses.
  • Show your child good hygiene by blowing into a tissue and turning you head to cough rather than coughing and sneezing into your hands.
  • Make sure that your child has a healthy diet, is sleeping enough, and is not in closed crowded areas during flu and cold season.
  • Use a humidifier in your home and/or child’s room.  This keeps your child’s noses from drying out with the heat resulting in stuffiness.
  • Do not smoke around your child.  Children in homes where parents smoke have increased number of colds and ear infections.

Don’t stay home just because your child has a runny nose if they don’t have a fever and seem to be feeling OK.  You may be home all winter if you do that!  And, if they are a bit under the weather, enjoy the extra cuddle time.  The sun will shine again, I promise!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



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