As a parent, you'll likely find yourself treating your little one for minor illnesses -- such as the common cold -- throughout her childhood. A cold is a viral illness that often causes a congested or runny nose, sore throat and cough, notes the American Academy of Pediatric's website, HealthyChildren.org. After confirming with your child's pediatrician that her illness is a cold and nothing more serious, there are some things you can do at home to make her feel better.
When treating your child's cold, you may think of reaching for an over-the-counter cold medicine to treat the symptoms. With young children however, this is not recommended. Studies have shown that these medications don't work well for children under the age of 6, notes HealthyChildren.org. Furthermore, over-the-counter cold medicines can sometimes have serious side effects. These medications should never be given to children under the age of 2. If your little one has a fever and seems uncomfortable, ibuprofen or single-ingredient acetaminophen can be given. However, always check with your child's pediatrician before giving a fever-reducing medication or any other type of medication.
Encourage your little one to rest as much as possible. Use this time to cuddle with him and give him the extra attention he needs while he's sick. Lay in bed or on the couch with him and read books together, tell stories, watch a movie or color.
Offer your 2-year-old plenty of fluids to drink during the duration of her cold. It's important to keep her sufficiently hydrated. Stick with water or 100-percent fruit juice; avoid drinks with caffeine. Make your child a warm tea, a natural cold remedy recommended at DrGreene.com. Mix the following ingredients and bring them to a boil: 2 cups water, juice from one squeezed lemon, lemon zest from half of one lemon, 2 gloves garlic, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and chopped ginger. Pour the mixture through a strainer and then add enough honey to sweeten. Allow the drink to cool enough for your child to safely drink it, then have her sip on it. Each of the ingredients used to make this tea have been shown to have natural anti-cold properties.
Nasal congestion from having a cold can make your child uncomfortable and make it difficult for him to eat or drink. Clear his sinus passages with a saline nose spray, and then suction out his nose with a rubber suction bulb, suggests KidsHealth. Alternatively, keep a cool-mist humidifier running in his room to keep the air moist while he sleeps. Hot water vaporizers are not recommended for young children because of the risk of burns. You can also prop your kiddo up with an extra pillow when he is lying down, which may help him breath a bit easier.
Things to Eat
While your child may not have much of an appetite while she's sick, it's important that she eats. Serve her chicken soup, which is normally high in sodium. This higher sodium content -- particularly in canned soup -- makes it difficult for a cold virus to replicate, according to DrGreene.com. The steam from chicken soup can also temporarily ease nasal congestion as it increases the speed of mucus through the nose.
Take precautions to prevent your child from getting another cold. Avoid taking him around others who you know are sick. Teach him the proper way to wash his hands and help him do this throughout the day, especially when you are away from home. Sing "Happy Birthday" twice with your toddler while he's washing his hands to make it entertaining and to show him how long he needs to wash, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Show him how to wet his hands, lather them with soap, scrub them, rinse them and how to properly dry them. Teach your toddler how to use a tissue to wipe his nose. Instead of coughing into the air or into his hands, show him how to cough into his upper arm to keep germs away from his hands. Tell him it's important to never cough or sneeze toward another person. This will help prevent your child from spreading his illness when he's sick.