t can be a frustrating time of year for parents: Not only do children act like, well, babies when they're not feeling their best, but they also can’t take the same products as grown-ups can to help them feel better.
That said, there are things you can do to help keep your kids healthy as the weather gets colder, says Tiffany Fischman, M.D., a pediatrician at Calabasas Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles—like these tips for getting them the immune support they need this winter season.
Help keep their nasal passages healthy
Keeping little nostrils clear is important because infants especially aren’t physically capable of blowing their noses.
As a parent, your goal should be to flush, cleanse and moisturize so that mucus can be extracted as easily as possible.
To do this, “use a cool mist humidifier to add moisture to the air; or run a hot shower or bath, and then sit in the bathroom with your child for 10 to 15 minutes,” Dr. Fischman suggests.
Saline solutions in drop or spray form, such as Zarbee’s Naturals™ Soothing Saline Nasal Mist with Aloe, can also help safely flush out your little one's nostrils.
Help keep their throats healthy
Coughing is a natural way to clear irritants and mucus, but if your child has a dry throat or hoarseness, try gargling with warm salt water or serve soothing, hydrating foods, like soup, Dr. Fischman says. Popsicles, ice cream and cold liquids can also be helpful.
A spoonful of honey can help, too.
Research suggests that it can be effective in soothing coughs associated with a dry throat and hoarseness. So consult your pediatrician about offering your child a teaspoon to a tablespoon of honey. You can also consider a honey-based product, like Zarbee’s Naturals™ Children’s Cough Syrup, for children who are 12 months or older.
However, adds Dr. Fischman, if your child has a sore throat with a fever, head or stomach pain, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, or nausea and vomiting—but no cough or other cold symptoms—contact your doctor to make sure it’s not strep throat.
Help keep their immune system healthy
“Frequent hand washing is probably the most important way to keep your child's immune system thriving,” Dr. Fischman says. So encourage your child to wash with soap and water often, as well as avoid touching his eyes, nose or mouth (if he’s old enough to understand).
And while proper nutrition is always important for good health, giving kids over the age of 2 years old a multivitamin, like Zarbee’s Naturals™ Children’s Complete Multivitamin + Iron, can help fill in any dietary gaps you might be worried about.