Our Mom, a retired nurse, offers 9 Tips From Mom: Kids Flu Remedies. Practical nuggets of wisdom to help your little one’s body heal as fast as it can.
As a mother, watching my little ones wrestle with being sick stinks. Luckily for us, we’ve never had a ’bout of the flu, but with all of the recent outbreaks in our area, I’m a wee bit nervous that our luck may run out this year. I’m pretty sure that I just jinxed myself to bits, but it’s too late now. I’m a bit nervous so we set out to find some good old fashioned kids flu remedies for you!
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), flu activity was high across most of the United States by mid-January this year. Although it’s not possible to predict exactly when the flu season will peak or how severe it will be, based on past experience, it’s likely that this flu season will continue for some time. The worst part: for the 2012-2013 flu season, there have been a total of 64 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported thus far.
So, in an effort to prepare our family for the worst, I went to Mom (who is a Registered Nurse) and asked her for some advice. Nurses have a magical way of making people feel better – and when your Mom is also a Nurse, you pretty much do whatever she tells you to!
If Mom says, “Lay down and close your eyes” – you do it.
If Mom says, “Drink this soup” – you do it.
If Mom says, “Take a bath” – again, you do it.
So with flu season only half-way over, we decided to share some of our Mom’s tried-and-true tips for dealing with the flu if it unfortunately comes knocking at your door.
9 TIPS FROM MOM: KIDS FLU REMEDIES
Tip 1: Drink lots of fluids.
This is especially important for kids because the flu is often coupled with vomiting and diarrhea, which can leave them dehydrated if they’re not getting enough fluids. The tricky part is convincing them to drink something. After my son got hit with a stomach virus last spring, he was terrified to drink anything because he “didn’t want to throw up any more”.
Unfortunately, not drinking fluids will only make them feel worse, so try to get fluids into them any way you can – ice pops, water, fruit juice diluted with crushed ice, ginger ale, or even decaffeinated herbal tea with honey. Just remind your kids not to GULP their drinks or else they might throw up – small sips are much easier to keep down. P.S. You’ll know that they’re staying hydrated if you do a “pee check” – i.e. their urine should be very, very pale in the bowl. 😉
Tip 2: Eat some soup.
Studies have shown that chicken soup may have beneficial health properties, but what I’m more interested in is the emotional benefit of chicken soup. There is something magical about the steamy vapors from a hot bowl of chicken soup and how it reminds you that you’re being taken care of by someone who loves you very, very much. Whenever I smell chicken soup, I immediately think of my mom. Plus, it’s a liquid, which will help keep your children hydrated.
Tip 3: Get lots of rest.
This a hard one for younger children. Whenever our kids are home sick, it’s a non-stop struggle to get them to lie down. So to keep them horizontal, we follow Mom’s plan: we make a “sick” bed on the couch in front of the television.
Our kids aren’t allowed to watch a lot of television, so it’s one of the few perks of being sick. We bring down clean sheets and pillows from the linen closet and set them up in a “sick bed”. We use sheets instead of blankets because the sheets keep them nice and cool while they’re running a temp instead of hot and sweaty under a fuzzy blanket. I won’t promise you that your kids will stay still the whole day, but the novelty of the “sick bed” does help. Just remember, if it’s the flu – you might want to also bring over a clean garbage pail for them in case they don’t make it to the bathroom in time.
Tip 4: Take steamy baths.
I always remember our Mom “forcing” us to take a shower or sit in the tub whenever we were sick. As a kid, I used to be so difficult about it and would put up a fight until the very last minute. Then, when I got tired of fighting, she’d plop me in the tub and I would succumb to the wonderfully hot water and steamy vapors. The warm steam would open up my nasal passages and ease my sore throat – and I would get some relief…at least for a little while. Then, my mom would put us into clean pajamas, and surprisingly, we’d fall asleep.
To encourage as much rest as possible, try giving your children a bath both in the morning and at night. The soothing nature of taking a tub, combined with putting on clean, non-sweaty pajamas, will help remind them that they really are sick and need to rest. However, if you do double-bathe them, just make sure to apply lots of moisturizer to their skin, so they don’t end up with the itchy-scratchies too.
Tip 5: Turn on the humidifiers.
We go to Target each year and buy those ridiculous animal-themed humidifiers for the kids. They cost about twenty bucks and we run them all winter long. In our home, we have steam heat and it can get pretty dry at times, so these humidifiers are a life saver. Nothing adds insult to injury more than having a dry throat on top of a sore throat – yuck!
Tip 6: Again, don’t underestimate the power of steamy vapors.
Whenever we were congested, our Mom would drag us over to the bathroom sink and make us hide under a hand towel. As kids, we though it was ridiculous, but as Moms, we now know that breathing in steamy vapors can help your clogged nasal passages loosen up a bit. More than anything, it just feels nice. Afterwards, she would apply a warm compress to our forehead and sinuses to help ease any leftover headache and sinus pain. Since our kids won’t let us come anywhere near them with saline spray, this is a great trick to have up your sleeve.
We also use a diffuser in their rooms. Although we don’t talk about essential oils too much on the blog, we do use them in our homes. Whenever our nasal passages are clogged, I add a few drops of essential oils to one of our aromatherapy diffusers. I prefer a homemade mixture of:
- Eucalyptus because it helps open up the respiratory system and allow for better breathing,
- Lavender because it’s a natural antihistamine and is very calming,
- and Roman Chamomile because it helps relieve headaches and eases inflammation.
Tip 7: Invest in some cough drops, lollipops and honey.
Whenever we were sick, our Father would always bring us home some Ludens Wild Cherry Flavored Cough Drops. We readily sucked on these tasty little drops to help ease our sore throats. Since our kids are sensitive to dye, and it doesn’t belong in kids products anyways, we recommend these Little Remedies Sore Throat Pops or our kids favorite Yum Earth Organic lollipops.
We also like to use Grandma Martha’s remedy: warm milk and honey. Our kids love it, but if it’s the flu, be careful – milk might be too much for their little tummies. When it doubt, try to get them to lick a spoonful of honey instead. (FYI: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that Infants younger than 12 months should avoid all sources of honey.)
Tip 8: Gargle with salt water.
Yuck. Even now, I don’t like doing it, but it was Mom’s “go to” remedy any time we were sick. According to Mom, gargling with salt water is a short-term fix that helps with mucus and stuffy ears.
Tip 9: Quarantine your sick ones from your healthy ones.
The flu is highly contagious so try your best to keep any siblings away from your sick child. This is incredibly hard for us because our kids are stuck together like glue and hate being apart. But if you want to keep the flu from running through your entire household, try to set some boundaries.
In our home, I put my husband in charge of the healthy child and kick them out of the house for as long as possible. It worked the last time; only my son and I suffered from a nasty stomach virus while my daughter and husband remained barf-free!
Ok friends – Good luck, be healthy, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that you all stay flu-free for the rest of this season,
P.S. Sorry for the disclaimer, but we must note: we are not doctors or nurses. For your safety, and the safety of your child(ren), please use common sense and make an appointment with a licensed medical professional if you, or your child(ren), become sick. We love our readers, but we cannot be responsible for your medical decisions. Hugs!