Whether your child has a tummy ache, a stuffy nose, or a bug bite, some doctors say that old-fashioned home remedies are often the best way to help them feel better fast. These time-tested treatments rarely have side effects, cost next to nothing, and use items you probably already have on hand. If, however, your child is continually sick, or you suspect something more severe is going on, always consult your health practitioner for advice. But the next time your child has a minor ache or injury, you can usually find these smart solutions in your home.
Honey coats and soothes the throat and helps tame a cough. In a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine, parents of 105 children aged 2 to 18 rated honey helpful and better than cough syrup for treating children’s night-time coughs. Give them 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey. You can mix the honey with hot water and a squeeze of lemon, which provides them a little vitamin C as well as the soothing honey. Because honey is sticky and sweet, it’s important for your child to brush their teeth after they take it, especially if you give it to them at bedtime.
Please note your child must be at least a year old to try this remedy.
Peter Rabbit’s mother fed him soothing chamomile tea in Beatrix Potter’s classic tale, and you can give it to your infant to relax their intestinal muscles and calm them down. Steep the tea for four to five minutes, let it cool to room temperature, and then put one to two ounces in a bottle. Don’t give your baby more than four ounces a day, so that he or she will be sure to have plenty of room in their tummy for breast milk or formula.
Baking soda paste stops the itching of bites. The alkaline baking soda helps counteract the acidic swelling. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a thick paste, smear it on the bites, and let it dry.
For a child over 6 months, fill an eyedropper with preservative-free saline solution, tilt their head back, and gently squeeze the solution into each nostril. (Do it in the bath or over the sink.) In fact, a recent study found that using a nasal wash with a saline solution helped kids get over colds faster — and made them less likely to get sick again.
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Recipe for homemade saline drops: Dissolve about 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1/4 cup of warm water. Make a fresh batch each day and store it in a clean, covered glass jar. (Bacteria can grow in the solution, so don’t keep it for more than 24 hours.)
Breathing moist air helps loosen the mucus in the nasal passages. A warm bath has the added benefit of relaxing your child. Have a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer going in your child’s bedroom when they are sleeping, resting, or playing in the room. Or, give your child a warm bath in a steamy bathroom. Let a hot shower run for a few minutes before getting the tub ready for your child. If they are old enough, let them play in the bath as long as they like – supervised, of course, unless they are old enough to hang out on their own. For children over the age of 2, adding a few drops of menthol to the bath water (or vaporizer) may also help them feel less congested. If it’s not a convenient time for a bath, simply turn on the hot water in the tub or shower, close the bathroom door, block any gap under the door with a towel, and sit in the steamy room with your child for about 15 minutes. (Bring toys along for them to play with.)
If you go to a fancy spa, the therapist may use this salad staple to ease the puffiness around your eyes. That’s because cool cucumber slices help soothe hot, swollen skin. You can place a slice anywhere your child has minor swelling and then simply replace it with another slice from the fridge after it becomes warm.
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