Other warm liquids, like lemon water or warmed apple juice, can also help relieve congestion and can be soothing to your child. A small amount of weak, lukewarm chamomile tea can also be given to children over 6 months.
Other soft foods like pudding, gelatin, ice cream, and popsicles are also good for relieving sore and scratchy throats, and good options to offer your child if he doesn’t have an appetite for his regular diet.
Warm, humid air, such as the steam from a hot bath, can help loosen mucous in the nasal passages, making it easier for your child to breathe. A hot bath can also be relaxing and comforting to a sick child. For infants, sitting in a steamy bathroom before bedtime can help him breathe a little easier.
If you choose to use a humidifier, remember to change the water daily and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Humidifiers can accumulate mold, bacteria, and fungi if they aren’t cleaned properly, which is then sprayed in the air and can make your family sick.
To make your own saline drops, boil 8 ounces of tap or distilled water to eliminate any bacterial impurities and dissolve about half a teaspoon of salt in it. Let it cool, store in an airtight container, and make a new batch every day.
To use, tilt your child’s head back, put a few drops in one nostril, and leave for about 30 seconds. For babies, use a bulb syringe to suction out the liquid.
This treatment is best for children 4 years or older, since gargling can be tricky and unpleasant for young kids. Have your child practice with plain water, and teach her to spit it out instead of swallowing it when she is done.
Water, clear broth, 100% fruit juice, smoothies, and other healthy beverages are all good options for your child. If your child is less than 6 months old, continue feeding him breastmilk or formula unless otherwise directed by his doctor.
Avoid caffeinated beverages, such as soda, as these can make dehydration worse. Contact your child’s doctor if he isn’t drinking fluids or you feel his dehydration isn’t improving or becoming worse.