Your child has a cold: What can you do? 8 useful tips to help your child through a cold

Especially when it is cold outside, children are more likely to catch a cold. Be it a runny nose, a sore throat, a cough or a throat full of phlegm: We have tips here to help you ease the symptoms of a cold to help your child feel better quicker.

Generally speaking: The tips here cannot substitute a visit to the doctor. If the symptoms of a cold do not resolve after a few days or even get worse, you urgently need to take your child to see a doctor. This also applies if they suddenly develop a high fever or have a fever for several days.

1. Rest and plenty of sleep

Infections have to be cured. That takes time and rest. So if your child has a cold, they should take it easy. Even if the symptoms are only mild, they should not run around too much. Make sure they have breaks, so you could read your child a book, put on an audiobook or suggest calm activities like a puzzle, drawing or an activity book.

of sleep is also advisable, as too little sleep is stressful for the body. This, in turn, can weaken the immune system. You should therefore make sure your child gets sufficient and regular sleep - especially if they have a cold.

2. Moisten the mucous membranes

The mucous membranes are a barrier to viruses and bacteria in our body so it is important to ensure that they are always kept moist. Dried mucous membranes - which can easily happen in winter in central heating - are more susceptible to pathogens. Therefore, anything that keeps the mucous membranes moist helps: Drinking, inhalation, nasal sprays – before a cold sets in. Moist mucous membranes are better at fighting off viruses and bacteria.

3. Drink plenty

Many children find it challenging to drink enough and to drink regularly. If your child has a cold, you should make sure they drink plenty - ideally teas, such as sage and thyme. Add honey or a drop of fruit juice to the tea to make it taste better and motivate your child to drink plenty.

4. Heat

Anything warm is good. Ensure that your child’s neck and shoulders are covered and kept warm when they have a cold. A heated wheat bag on the chest or neck is also pleasant and relaxing.

NB: This tip does not apply if your child has a fever.

5. Clear mucus from the throat

If your child has a cold and a build-up of mucus in their throat, one of the remedies is to get them to hum a tune. This is better for their voice than if they try to clear their throat, and the mucus will still be shifted. More tips on how your child can clear mucus from their throat are available here.

6. Moisten and clear the nose

A cold almost always goes hand-in-hand with a runny nose. Nasal sprays can help your child in this case. They liquify the secretions and moisten the membranes in the nose. Usually a spray based on salt water with nourishing substances is sufficient.

If your child’s nose is very blocked, nasal sprays that reduce swelling can be helpful. But you should ensure that, especially for children, you use a nasal spray that is not habit-forming or that you only use it briefly – i.e. max. 5 to 7 days – to avoid your child becoming dependent.

7. Clear the airways

If your child’s cold also makes them cough, inhalation with a nebuliser such as the PARI BOY Junior or the PARI COMPACT2 helps moisten the airways and clear the mucus.

It is worth noting that isotonic saline solution (NaCl 0.9%) moistens the bronchial tubes. Like salty sea air, it has a soothing effect on the airways. Hypertonic saline solution liquifies the mucus in the airways and so supports the lung’s self-cleaning mechanism. With MucoClear 3%, PARI offers an effective inhalation solution that even babies can inhale.

» more information on inhalation of hypertonic saline solution in children

Remember: Steam inhalation with salt water is ineffective. This is because salt stays in the pot. So effective inhalation for the lungs can only be achieved using a nebuliser.

» more information on the myth of steam inhalation – why steam does not help against a cough

8. Cuddling and feeling safe

When your child has a cold, they need special TLC and closeness. Many parents are bound to be familiar with the situation: The sicker the child, the more tearful they are. So you need to help your child not only by easing the physical symptoms... you need to look after mental wellbeing as well by cuddling them and making them feel safe and sound.

More information on acute infections in children and help

On our blog you will find more helpful information and tips if your child is acutely ill.

Note: The information in this blog post is not a treatment recommendation. The needs of patients vary greatly from person to person. The treatment approaches presented should be viewed only as examples. PARI recommends that patients always consult with their physician or physiotherapist first.

An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.

Back to overview