When your little ones are feeling under the weather and congested, here are some of our top tips to make them feel more comfortable:
- Keep your child's bedroom warm, but well ventilated – perhaps open a window nearby to get some fresh air into their room
- Warm drinks can be particularly soothing – hot honey and lemon can work wonders…
- Encourage as much rest as possible – maybe avoid the video games but instead opt for an afternoon movie of their choice on the sofa?
- From 2 years of age, teach little ones to blow their nose. A good way to do this is to explain that "it's like sniffing, but backwards" – good luck!
- Make sure they drink plenty of fluids, water is best, but we also like to put a little squash in there to make it more interesting for them!
- Make sure they're getting some healthy / good food – fruit and vegetables are the obvious choice. This could be in the form of soup or a fun fruit cocktail if your little ones are particularly fussy!
Paediatric Nurse Kathleen McGrath offers more tips on how to help your congested little ones, especially at bedtime...
Breathe Easy, Sleep Easy for Little Noses
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Hello, I'm Kathleen.
I'm a paediatric nurse and also a sleep expert. I'm here to talk about avoiding some of the sleep issues that may arise in children and babies over the age of three months, when they have cold and Flu, one thing very important is to make sure your child gets lots of adequate fluids. Cold fluids diluted fruit juices; if they're over a year old possibly lemon and honey type drinks. Make sure they stay well hydrated.
If they develop a fever, it's important to manage that fever but also to make sure they're in cotton clothing and they have lose fitting clothing, so they don't over heat. And, make sure their bedroom is well ventilated, little airways and noses can get blocked and that will prevent your child from sleeping well. So try placing a few drops of natural, infant decongestant either on a hanky or under a pillow if your child has one. Pop it onto the blanket or onto the bed sheets (somewhere in the bedding) where the menthol and natural oils of eucalyptus and menthol can actually help to alleviate any blockage to help the child breath much better. We all know it's quite common when you lie flat that sometimes when you're blocked up it's more difficult to breathe. So I would suggest that you might want to elevate the head end of your babies bed by maybe popping a folded sheet or a pillow or something underneath the mattress at the head end, which makes it a little easier for your baby to breathe. We all know that young children hate trying to blow their nose under the age of two, they find it absolutely impossible, it's a very good idea to make it into a bit of a game, and it's a good idea to encourage them to think of blowing their nose as sniffing but in reverse. If it's turned into a game, they'll surely take to it, and you won't have any problems in the future.
Colds and Flu's should sort themselves out; we all have them all the time. But, if you notice you're child isn't improving, or the symptoms are in anyway getting worse, do please consult your doctor. If you want other information about other things that you might want to purchase for other flu symptoms such as fever etc why not have a word with your pharmacist who can advise on over-the counter medicines and remedies that you can buy for children of all ages.
Keeping children fit and healthy
A healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is probably the best way to help your child fight infections. Obviously, getting good food into them can be another matter, but try giving them a fresh fruit smoothie or soup – they will love the taste so much that they won't even think about how good it is for them.
Sleep is a natural body restorer but it can be hard to make sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep each night – try setting an evening routine which involves a relaxing bath followed by a bedtime story and fingers crossed they will be on their way to the land of nod pretty quickly.
Keeping kids active helps to boost their health and immune system and has the added bonus of wearing them out so bedtime is a little less painful for you! Outdoor pursuits and board games get our vote over video games and endless hours in front of the TV.