Kids sick? Easy cold remedies that actually work

Many of my friends’ children have spent their winter break sick so far. So I noticed this slide show of cold remedies that supposedly really work and I thought it would good information to share. (Especially since many cold remedies for children have been removed from drug stores.)

If you don’t want to click through the slides, here are a few of the recommended steps from Huffington

1.       Drink lots of water or O.J.

2.       Gargle salt water. This is such an old-school remedy but it helps in many ways according to the article. It reduces inflammation in the throat. It clears away the mucus plus it can help wash away the germs.

3.       Use nasal spray and warm hot showers.

4.       Acetaminophen and Zyrtec (Benadryl, Claritin) are good.

5.       Treat coughing and sore throats with honey.

6.       Sleep.

7.       Drink some more water.

8.       Light exercise can help boost your immune system.

9.       Protein, whole-grains and veggies can help too.

The big push now is for honey. You’re not supposed to use honey before kids are 1 (Here’s why). Are you using more homeopathic meds or just cutting the dose on adult meds (which seems to be more dangerous than giving kid forms)? What do you think of these remedies? What are you favorite remedies?

27 comments Add your comment


December 28th, 2010
1:53 pm

My mom always made hot tea with honey when we were sick. Both my nieces and I were all sick on Christmas Eve, so mom made a HUGE pot of tea and had honey out too. The nieces had never had honey in their tea. I think they are hooked now!!!

There is nothing more medicinal than a nice hot shower or bath. (If you take a bath, use some Lavender or Chamomille bath stuff). The steam from the shower opens up the pores, the nasal passages, the bronchial (sp) tubes, etc. Breath the steam in through the mouth and out through the nose.

And get outside and get a little fresh air and sunshine.


December 28th, 2010
2:04 pm

@JJ: Ooooh, hot shower, for sure! I always feel better after 20 minutes in a steaming shower. I may look like a lobster, but I feel SOOO much better! If I can drag myself to the gym, I’ll usually end up spending more time in the sauna than on the eliptical :-)


December 28th, 2010
2:08 pm

(oops, hit “enter” by mistake). I don’t know if it’s an old wives tale or not, but I always heard that some mild exercise, something that made you sweat, is great for colds, because it raises your body temperature and kills off the viruses, who only live in a very narrow temperature range. That’s also one of the reasons why you run a fever (to help destroy viruses), or hot baths/showers work well.

Or maybe it just makes you feel better so that you don’t realize how miserable you really are?


December 28th, 2010
2:59 pm

I have found that I will need to alternate on #4 on occasion.

I seem to build up an immunity of sorts to acetominephen, so I will swicth to ibuprofen (sp). Also taken so much benedryl in earier years where it actually wasn’t working. My allergy doc says that Claritin has become so commonplace, that a switch to Zyrtec often works better.

Hot liquids – soups, broths, teas – I drown myself in them. Of course, hot liquids in the form of a bath or shower is a must!

Stick with the tried and true but shake it up a bit!

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December 28th, 2010
3:29 pm

Anyone know anything about elderberry syrup? I heard about this recently.
I have not used it myself.


December 28th, 2010
3:34 pm

I have found limited success with saline nasal spray to keep nasal passages moist. It’s more for prevention than treatment but it does help. Gargling with salt water is also still great for a sore throat. Zinc drops are also good for the throat.

One thing I always do when I feel like I’m getting sick is to buy a C-Boost smoothie by Bolthouse Farms and drink it down. You can get one at just about any grocery store in the produce section. It packs a major vitamin C wallop, boosts the immune system nicely.


December 28th, 2010
3:59 pm

I heard with honey, that you should only use local honey. It is supposed to help with allergies??? Maybe someone here know more about that and why…


December 28th, 2010
4:30 pm

I start loading up with saline nasal spray, Sudafed or Mucinex (the good stuff behind the Pharmacy counter) depending on symptoms, and Emergen-C when I feel a sinus infection coming on. I don’t get colds – if I don’t get rid of the creeping crud within 2 days, I get full-on sinus infections. I also use the saline nasal spray on my 2YO when she gets congested or runny – it seems to head off many things for us before they get serious.

@KAW – I believe that local honey is supposed to benefit because of the local pollens in the plants the bees visited? Maybe someone else knows better than me…

cannot tell a lie

December 28th, 2010
4:41 pm

well my parents used to give us honey, wiskey, and lemon in hot gingerale when we were sick. Never seemed to hurt us any…we slept well enough. In fact it is still my best cold remedy for myself.


December 28th, 2010
4:53 pm

For little kids the saline nasal mist is good. It helps break all that up so they can blow it out. Decongestants don’t really work in kids, but allergy meds can help dry them out. Keep a humidifier in their room to combat the dryness that the meds might leave. Rinsing with salt water is hard to get a tot to do, but chicken noodle soup is pretty salty, so that works too. But I agree with everyone that the hot shower is great. Works for both kids and adults.


December 28th, 2010
4:57 pm

Neti pot and gargling salt water work well for me but I have not used them for the kids. I use saline spray on them.


December 28th, 2010
5:00 pm

My mother’s first line of defense still works wonders for me and that is to rub the throat, chest, back and bottom of the feet with Vick’s Vaporub. Just last week my mother in law was laughing because someone suggested to her to rub in on her feet and sleep in some thick socks and she thought it was the craziest thing she had ever heard! I told her my mother did that for as long as I remember so I honestly thought everyone in the world did it. I’m not sure if she tried it based on my recommendation or not.


December 28th, 2010
5:13 pm

@DB…My son’s pediatrician (an elderly man) told me not to treat a fever of less than 102 because it interferes with the body’s natural defense.

@KHW -I’ve always been told the same thing as JOD about local honey. My understanding is that it (more or less) gradually exposes you to likely allergens which helps you to develop immunity to the pollens in your area.


December 28th, 2010
5:49 pm

@ Stacey–Grandma and Mom always put the vicks on our feet too! You weren’t alone in that. :) My eldest has been congested for about a week…Vicks on her just like you said, staying on her to blow her nose too…I hate that snot snort kids do. I just hand mine a kleenex and say do your best to gross me out and they blow their noses each trying to make more “noise” than the other. Hey whatever works.

My folks did the honey, wiskey and lemon toddy when I was growing up too. Did any of you get that? I do NOT give my kids the whiseky but the honey, lemon and tea I do.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 28th, 2010
7:44 pm

MJG — I’ve been drinking tea with elderberry whenever I feel something coming on and I swear it helps stop it before I get bad.

Ohio Muffin

December 28th, 2010
10:31 pm

My three children (ages 6, 4, and 15 months) recently had the flu over the course of one week. We used Children’s Advil (infant drops for the 15 month old), Whole Foods’ “Flu Ease”, Vicks Vapor Rub, and Ricola cough drops. My children also drank lots of water, caffeine free tea with honey (none for the 15 month old), and homemade chicken/vegetable broth. Plenty of rest and using our cool mist humidifier helped as well.


December 29th, 2010
7:31 am

neti pot is helpful, for me the relief is short, but good….there is a black cherry cough syrup you can get at health food stores that is great, but very expensive. i havent heard of elderberry tea helping but i will give it a try. i usually end up using otc meds just to get thru a work day, but if im home sick i try to stick to natural remedies. they arent as fast but are so much gentler on your system. my dad did the ‘hot toddy’ thing when we were little, whiskley, honey, hot water, and im not sure it helped but it did help us sleep which cant hurt. i dont like to take fever reducers, but sometimes do just for the pain relief. i think fevers are a good thing(to a certain degree of course). the best remedy is to stay home, and sleep!! imo.


December 29th, 2010
7:34 am

@KAW-the local honey thing-the point is that the bees that are in your area make their honey from local plants/flowers….therefore the plants that give you allergies are in the honey—you are supposed to take a table spoon or 2 every day of the year–that is supposed to help make you immune to allergies from the plant life in your own area. as far as taking honey just when youre sick, it is more of a soother than a cure all. it helps soothe a sore throat and that tickle in your throat. but to get the anti-allergic benefits you need to take it every day.


December 29th, 2010
7:39 am

i had started taking ‘emergen c’ regularly for a while and didnt get any colds that were going around work…i havent taken it the last 2 or so weeeks and now i am getting a cold…so im thinking that helped. gonna pick up some more soon. its a little expnesive, but not as expensive as missing work and its worth it to not get the cold andhave to work sick…which is what happens where i work.

wash your hand!!! stay home!! so many times at work there are sick kids-mom gets called to pick their child up from school or nursery and the first place they go is where i work!!! i dont believe in over using hand sanitizer-but i use a lot at my work place. there are snotty germs everywhere in that store!! i actually had a sick grown woman coughing and sneezing while i was dealing with her and she stuck her money in her mouth–coughing around the money-and then handed it to me!!!


December 29th, 2010
9:58 am

Yes, STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK!!!!!! We will carry on without you for a few days. Don’t bring your germs into the office and infect the rest of us.

The place will not close down without you!!!!!

Mrs. G

December 29th, 2010
10:24 am

I’m one of those awful people who is working while sick…:-X I’ve been coughing up my lungs in my cubicle all morning and I know that I’m everybody’s favorite person right now. Fortunately, I have two kinds of hand sanitizer…LOL! The good news, though, is that I don’t have to work with customers and I can keep myself isolated.

JJ – As a rule, I’ve always been all for staying home when sick and I was able to at my previous job, but my sick time where I work now is so limited that I can’t usually afford to stay home! I think that a lot of people are in the same boat. I got REALLY sick last February and didn’t have enough sick time (but the doctor told me I absolutely had to stay home or else I wouldn’t get better, which was probably true…I had been going into work sick for at least a week and I was so run down), so I had to use vacation time (okay, fine…but not fine when you are getting married in four months and have wedding and honeymoon plans!). Then, when my husband and I went on our honeymoon at the end of June, I think that at least 75% of it had to be taken unpaid because I’d depleted my vacation time being sick. Money was tight for the rest of the summer. I’m determined to suck it up from now on…I hate the idea of not having my full paycheck (our budget depends on it).


December 29th, 2010
2:43 pm

I think employers should be more sympathetic to sick employees, especially this time of year. Our company gives us 10 sick days a year.


December 29th, 2010
10:06 pm

at the company i work for sickness is not an excuse to be absent. neither is your car breaking. jury duty-bereavement of immediate family (3 days) and military duty. that are the only excused absences.


December 30th, 2010
11:40 am

The school where I teach tries to “guilt” us into coming in when we’re sick. That’s why we get sick, because people come to work sick and spread germs. “The kids can’t learn if you’re not here to teach them.” No kidding. The kids can’t learn if I’m not efficient because I’m sick, either. “Think of your coworkers.” I AM thinking of my coworkers; that’s why I’m taking the sick day. Sheesh.

sinus allergies | ALLERGIES SYMPTOMS

January 3rd, 2011
9:11 am

[...] Kids sick? Easy cold remedies that actually work – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

neti pot

January 3rd, 2011
5:41 pm

[...] Kids sick? Easy cold remedies that actually work – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Many of my friends’ children have spent their winter break sick so far. So I noticed this slide show of cold remedies that supposedly really work and I thought it would good information to share. (Especially since many cold remedies for children have … Dec 20, 2010 5:26pm [...]