It’s not uncommon for even a healthy adult to catch one of the cold’s going around every now and again. While it’s true that the common cold isn’t something to necessarily worry about, that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant.
This is especially true for those who may be more susceptible to catching these colds – and who may exhibit harsher symptoms/side-effects – because of weaker or suppressed immune systems. Children and pregnant women, we’re looking at you!
If this is you, fear not. We are here to share with you our favourite cold relief recommendations for both children and pregnant women, to help get you through the upcoming cold and flu season.
Cold (Hard) Facts
- The “common cold” is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.
- The viruses that cause colds are carried in droplets that are present both in the air that we breath and on the surface of things we touch.
- Colds are infectious – in fact they are the most common infectious disease in the US.
- They are the most contagious during the first 2-4 days of feeling ill, but can remain contagious for up to a couple of weeks afterwards.
- Colds are spread though person to person contact or by airborne virus particles.
- These virus particles can travel up to 12 feet in the air after someone sneezes or coughs.
Getting Rid of A Cold
Some people are generally really healthy (or just pure lucky) and manage to evade cold and flu season most years without so much as a sniffle. We are jealous of you.
For those who aren’t so lucky – especially you children and pregnant women who are a bit extra susceptible – we’ve found some great cold relief options to help get you through.
Remember though: there are no specific medical treatments that will actually cure a cold, but the following recommendations will help ease symptoms caused by the cold, such as muscle aches, headaches, and fever.
Over the Counter Medicines
Many of you will reach for some sort of OTC medicine – and that is perfectly okay. But make sure that the medicine you are taking is appropriate for you or whomever you are giving it to.
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are both okay for pregnant women and children, just follow the dosage chart on the package, especially when giving it to children.
Aspirin is okay for pregnant women, but do not give aspirin to teens or children.
Cough syrups are also okay to use, as long as you follow the recommended dosages.
Remember, you can often buy children specific medications meant to target cold like symptoms, such as pain relief or cough medicine – simply ask at the pharmacy what they would recommend.
Of course, if you wish to avoid the typical OTC medicines, there are a number of natural alternatives you can consider that are safe for both children and pregnant women to use.
- Drink tea! There are a number of different teas that can help relieve cold symptoms or boost your immune system, such as green tea, herbal teas, lemon teas, ginger teas, hot water with honey, etc.
- Ensure you are getting enough Vitamin C. Vitamin C can prevent or combat cold symptoms, shorten the life of the cold, and can improve your health overall.
Vague. We know. But that’s because there are a number of ways that water can help sooth your cold symptoms.
First and foremost: stay hydrated. By keeping hydrated you are keeping your immune system working at it’s best.
- For a sore throat, you can gargle salt water – simply ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon of salt dissolved into a glass of room temperature water – to temporarily relieve the feeling of a rough or scratchy throat. Note that younger children usually cannot gargle properly.
- Use hot water (the steam) to help clear your sinuses. Fill a large bowl with boiling water – adding a few drops of essential oil, such as tea tree oil, lavender, peppermint, etc. – and place your head above the bowl, covering your head and the bowl with a towel. Breath in the steamy air for a few minutes to relieve stuffed up sinuses.
- Use a device such as a “Neti Pot” – a device that you fill with saline solution or water, which you then use to flush out your sinuses. You pour the solution in one nostril, and it comes out the other. It’s awkward. But it works.
- Get a humidifier for your room. Dry air can make you more susceptible to catching colds and can make the symptoms worse if you do.
Prevention is Key
Of course, the best cold relief available is to do your best to prevent yourself from catching a cold in the first place.
Here are some tips on how to best avoid falling victim to a cold this cold and flu season:
- Wash your hands, a lot. Wash your hands after using the toilet, before you eat, after sneezing or coughing, etc. (and try to avoid touching your face or mouth too often, even if you have washed your hands!)
- Avoid people who are already sick at all costs. Don’t feel bad about cancelling plans or standing a few paces away – they should understand.
- Never, and we mean never, sneeze or cough directly into your hands (or just into the air, for that matter). Tissues were invented for a reason; use them.
- Keep your immune system at it’s best by eating healthy, keeping active, and getting enough sleep. And slow down every once in awhile! Stress and anxiety can also put a strain on your immune system.
If these prevention techniques don’t work and you do feel the sniffles coming on, give some of the previously mentioned remedies a try.
Do you have any other recommendations for cold relief that is safe for both children and pregnant women to use? Let us know!