As a doctor and a mom, Jennifer Trachtenberg, pediatrician at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, knows the importance of easing symptoms the natural way - especially in light of last year's FDA recommendation against the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medication in children under the age of two.
Dr. Jen's tips will help make this year's cold and flu season a little more endurable, for kids and adults alike.
Don't get Mouthy with Me!
Replace your child's toothbrush frequently and keep it separate from other family members' brushes when sick. If penny pinching, try soaking it in mouthwash after each use.
Fever is often one of the first signs of the flu. When temperature-taking, reach for what's trusted. The Braun ThermoScan Ear Thermometer, which is used most by pediatricians and moms, features a pre-warmed tip and guidance system to ensure consistent readings. Vicks digital thermometers, which are pocket-sized and great for on-the-go, have a large display that changes color to help parents identify a fever.
Find a Little Teapot, Short & Stout
Try using a neti pot to loosen and rid mucus, thereby clearing nasal passages. Neti pots have been used in India for centuries as one of the disciplines of yoga. For nasal congestion in babies, consider using 2-3 drops of nasal saline drops in each nostril, which are gentler, to help loosen and clear mucus.
Better than a Spoonful of Sugar
Soothe sore throats and help the medicine go down by gargling with salt water. This is the safest, least expensive way to reduce scratchiness and swelling in the tissues. Mix one teaspoon of salt per pint of warm water to create the gargle.
Black & White and Read All Over
Before tossing out an old phone book or using it to prop a door, try propping something else. Lying down can worsen congestion and increase sinus pressure and pain. Place a phone book or two under your mattress at night to elevate the head and lessen over-night congestion. If you have an infant, you can also prop a crib mattress to create elevation.
Humidifiers soothe parched throats and nasal passages, which helps you breathe better and sleep more comfortably. Throughout the night, try using a cool mist humidifier to soothe cold and cough symptoms, like the new Vicks GermFree Humidifier that kills up to 99.9% of mold and bacteria in the water.
Some More Tips from Dr. Jen
Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD, FAAP, is chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com and a mom of three active young children. The nationally renowned parenting expert and board-certified pediatrician has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine for more than 14 years and maintains a successful private practice in New York City. She is also an assistant clinical professor in pediatrics at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.