Winter is on its way. As well as colder weather, the chilly season brings with it additional challenges for parents of young children – chief among them the increased prevalence of colds and flu. The statistics tell the story: each year, the average preschool child gets, on average, at least six colds, while flu sends nearly 1500 Australian children to hospital annually. Children are much more susceptible to colds, averaging six to eight per year (with some catching as many as 10!), compared with an average adult, who will suffer from a cold only two to four times in the same period.
Bracing for the cold and flu season is a wise move, and stocking the medicine cabinet is a sensible first step. Here are the top must-have items for helping your children (and you!) survive the cold and flu season with a smile.
1. Aromatic chest rub
Aromatic chest rubs can help relieve cold and flu symptoms, including body aches and blocked noses, and are soothing to apply. Chest rubs are safe to use on the whole family and generally contain natural ingredients, such as peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus, which can help relieve congestion. Choose a chest rub that’s been specially formulated for babies or children.
2. Nurofen for Children*
Nurofen for Children can effectively relieve the four major signs of cold and flu in children, including fever, headache, body aches and sore throats. Nurofen for Children gets to work on fevers in just 15 minutes and provides effective relief from the other three symptoms. Its handy syringe makes it super-easy to administer, and it’s available in a pleasant-tasting orange- or strawberry-flavoured formula. Nurofen for Children provides relief from cold and flu symptoms and is available in specially formulated preparations for babies (3+ months), young children (ages 1 to 5) and older children (6 to 12 years).
3. Petroleum jelly
Discovered in the late 1800s, petroleum jelly creates a barrier between damaged skin cells while locking in moisture to help speed up the skin’s natural healing process. Colds in particular mean lots of nose-wiping, and it doesn’t take long for the skin on little noses to become red and sore. Wiping a child’s irritated nose adds additional misery to life with a cold. Getting in early with regular applications of petroleum jelly can protect children’s and toddlers’ noses from becoming red-raw.
Tissues are essential during cold and flu season, so stock up in advance when your supermarket or pharmacy has tissues on special. In particular, look out for extra-soft tissues such as those coated with aloe vera – people have been using this natural plant extract for thousands of years to help soothe irritated skin, so it’s ideal for use around the sensitive nose area. Arm yourself with boxes of tissues around the house – in bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas, and don’t forget travel packs for the car and your handbag.
5. Saline nasal spray
Many children struggle to blow their noses at the best of times, but a blocked nose makes the task extra tricky. Blocked noses occur because the body produces extra mucus in response to a cold or flu virus; loosening this up can provide welcome relief. Saline nasal drops or sprays can help unblock a baby or toddler’s nose, giving them temporary relief from this annoying cold and flu symptom. Always choose saline drops or sprays that have been specially formulated for babies and young children.
Also worth considering
Other products can provide temporary relief from cold and flu symptoms. Many parents swear by honey as a reliever of cold symptoms, such as sore throats and coughs in children over 12 months. The antibacterial properties of manuka honey in particular have been well documented, and both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend honey to help ease a cough. Throat lozenges are available for children over the age of 6 and can provide soothing relief. Menthol or eucalyptus lozenges may also help clear a stuffy head. A cuddly heat pack may also offer welcome comfort to the small, aching body and is easy to heat and reheat in the microwave.
So there you have it. While there’s no stopping the arrival of the winter cold and flu season, at least this year you’ll be prepared!
*Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. Consult your healthcare professional if symptoms persist. Do not give to babies under 3 months. Seek medical advice for children less than one year.
This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.