Five Things to Do When Your Kids Come Down with the Cold

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It starts the same way every single time. First my youngest son comes home from his international school in Bangkok with a runny nose. He wanders all over the house, sneezing, sniffling and generally complaining. In the process, he manages to wipe his nose with his hands, his coat, and seemingly every other available surface. Soggy tissues pile up in all of our trash cans and, just as often, on the floor. A day or two later, my son’s nose is as red as a rose apple, and almost as big. His sniffles have degenerated into a hacking cough and the poor kid looks and feels miserable.

What to do when your child comes down with a cold

In the meantime, he’s managed to pass his germs around to the rest of my family. All of a sudden, my daughter comes home with the same watery nose and similar litany of gripes. And before you know it, both my husband I find ourselves coming down with the chills as well. Within a week, I’m stuck struggling to mend myself and entertain two bored, bedridden children.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

Colds are a simple fact of life, especially when you’ve got kids and live in a city that isn’t always the cleanest. They’re normal and hardly cause for alarm, but they’re no fun either. Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up to make the recovery process as short and painless as possible:

Get lots of rest and get it sooner rather than later. Kids don’t like being cooped up, and most try to tough it out through an early stages of a cold. This just makes everything worse. Even if they’re just a little bit sick, ask them to take it easy and get to bed earlier than normal. Have them sleep with an extra pillow under their head to help the phlegm and other fluids drain properly.

Get lots of steam. As simple as it sounds, warm steam can really open up the sinuses and clear out those stuffy noses. Have your children take long, hot showers with the windows and door closed. Alternatively, fill a bowl with boiling water, and ask them to place their head over it with a towel on top and breathe deeply. Just remember to be very careful around the hot water to avoid any accidents.

Drink plenty of warm liquids. Whether your children like tea or soup, warm fluids will help expand capillaries, soothe throats and generally heal little bodies. When I’m too sick, tired or busy to whip up a batch of chicken noodle, I often just pick up soup from one of the many, many restaurants and street stalls on Sukhumvit. Ramen, miso soup or bahn mee gai are all perfect choices.

Gargle salt water to help a sore throat. Kids might complain about the taste, but a quickie salt water gargle can help clear stray bacteria out of the throat and soothe irritation. It doesn’t need to take long–15 to 30 seconds should do the trick.

Wash those hands and faces. It sounds obvious, but it’s not always easy to convince kids on this one. Dirty hands and snotty noses pretty much guarantee that everyone else in your household will get sick. Ask your kids to wash with plenty of soap before eating, when entering the house, or after sneezing or coughing.

Photo Credit: LadyDragonflyCC – >;< via Compfight cc

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Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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