One of my most popular parenting posts is all about stomach bugs hacks. Being a parent can be hard work sometimes. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share practical parenting tips that would make our lives as caregivers easier. By now, I’ve dealt with all sorts of nasty kid germs and their associated symptoms. From coughing relief to pinworm treatment, we’ve got some mom hacks to share.
It is my hope that my experiences and practical parenting tips can help another mom get through a lousy few days.
But I am not a doctor and I don’t know how to handle everything. I just do the best I can. Often–I need help.
It always throws me off when my “healthy” child gets ill. (By healthy, I mean the one who doesn’t struggle with multiple food allergies and Juvenile Arthritis.) This last month I’ve been thrown off more than usual!
My healthy child is the one who catches a cold…then ends up coughing for two months.
Just two weeks after recovering from the stomach flu from hell, Pork Chop woke up coughing. His cough got progressively worse over a couple days–to the point where neither of us was getting much sleep.
I brought him to the doctor who chalked it up to seasonal allergies and said that Claritin would help. She cautioned that it would take a few days to really kick in. A few more days of no sleep and racking coughs.
That wasn’t a good enough answer for me. I am not a fan of my kids not getting sleep. I am realistic enough to know that as soon as he is better, Pea’s arthritis will flare or something else will happen that will keep me up all night. I’m used to that. That might be why I take naps almost every day. (If you have kids younger than five, there is light at the end of the tunnel. One day, you too will be able to sneak in power naps!)
Unfortunately, I’m now a pro at relieving and managing Pea’s joint pain and Pork Chop’s growing pains. I am pretty good at taking care of eczema and handling allergic reactions. But the coughing fit was a new one for me.
So I turned to my community for help and asked for tips on my facebook page. I was floored by the response. Let’s be real here. Facebook’s algorithms are a necessary evil. With the number of users and pages, there is no way every person can scroll through everything people/pages they follow post. I don’t get too upset about my fairly low facebook reach. It is what it is. But the response to this question completely surprised me.
Thank you to all who saw the question and responded! Not only did you help me comfort my son, you also showed me that the time I spend on my blog is not wasted. I hear people proclaim the evils of social media and screen time every day. And yes–there are negative aspects of a social online world–just as there are in face to face interactions. But there is great good in it too.There is no handbook. We have to rely on each other for practical #parenting advice. Click To Tweet
Now onto the coughing tips!
10 Coughing Hacks for Kids from Moms
- A teaspoon of honey (if your child is older than 1 year old, great natural coughing remedy for toddlers and older)–Honey soothes throat irritation from coughing and tastes yummy! If the cough is from allergies, raw local honey is best. Our pediatrician’s PA told us she became a believer in local honey after a neighbor gave her some. Her son loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches and after a few days of eating it, his severe season allergies went away. When he stopped eating his daily sandwich, they came back full force. Now she is building a bee hive herself! (I think it is interesting that she did not mention the local honey benefits to me until after my son told her that he likes the teaspoon full of honey his Mommy lets him have.) Tove S. puts it in a medicine syringe for easy administration. Amby F. also suggested local honey.
- Peppermint essential oil–I use essential oils quite a bit. (Feel free to ask me about it if interested!) It included peppermint oil which I diffuse at Pork Chop’s bedside to ease his breathing. It smells great too! Tanya M. suggested rubbing peppermint oil on your hands and holding them up to the child’s face for relief.
- Vicks Vapor Rub: I don’t know where I learned this tip because I have been doing it for years on my own feet. At bedtime, I rub Vicks Vapor Rub on the soles of my son’s feet and put socks on them. This did help but I have no idea why. Rachel R. suggested using the Vicks Waterless Vaporizer. I am going to have to try that too. Vicks on your feet isn’t exactly comfortable.
- Nasal Saline Spray — Jennifer H and The Honest Mom suggested this to help clear out post-nasal drip. Jennifer recommends Ocean® Saline Nasal Spray 3.5 Oz (Pack of 2).
- Steam up the bathroom — I remember doing this when the kids had colds as infants. Echo A. reminded me of this old school trick and it works! (How did I even forget the nights holding a baby in a steamy bathroom at 2am in the morning? He used to love bathing with this vapor bath when he was ill as a baby.) Pork Chop took a warm bath after we steamed up the bathroom. Baths always make him feel better. (Here are a few tips to prevent illness so you don’t have to keep going through this.
- Raise the child’s head — Use gravity to your advantage to help congestion drain. I stack several pillows and use our “pillow chair” beneath my children’s head when they are congested. Amy K. raises the head of the bed with books!
- Essential oil blend— Leila B. makes a blend of Fractionated Coconut Oil (which stays liquid at room temperature), rosemary essential oil, lemon essential oil, and peppermint essential oil. She puts it in a rollerball and puts it on her child’s back, neck and feet. She diffuses Eucalyptus oil too. All of these oils promote respiratory support.
- OTC Medicines — our doctor prescribed Claritin. Several commenters mentioned Zyrtec, Delsym for cough relief, and Allegra.
- Prevention — Stella K. had some great tips on preventing the allergies. I use a large hepa air filter. She also recommends getting rid of the carpet, washing pillows in hot water, getting rid of perfumes, vacuuming the mattress and sterilizing it with sunlight. (I am looking into a wand UV sterilizer as an alternative to dragging my mattresses out into the Florida humidity. It rains a lot here.)
- Chiropractor — Kory C suggested getting allergy relief from a chiropractor. I have never heard of going to a Chiropractor for this reason but my Chiropractor did wonders at relieving a sinus headache I mentioned to him when getting treated for back pain. I am going to research this one more and get back to you all about it! She mentioned that it helped with colic and that my friends would be a wondrous thing indeed.
- Bonus Tip–Pineapple! Christy H suggested pineapple. Pineapple, specifically the bromelain in it, is beneficial for arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. I have a popsicle recipe that my kids love that uses pineapple for this reason. I am whipping up a batch to try for the cough. The pineapple popsicle recipe is one that I am saving for the popsicle book that I plan to release in about 6 weeks. If there is interest in it, I would be happy to share it as a sneak peek. Let me know in the comments!
For more ways to give your kids relief from night time coughing click here!
I now also have an awesome recipe for homemade shower soothers.
My thoughts on medication, like Benadryl, for cough
I feel that medication is necessary. I am not a person that only relies on “natural” or “alternative” healing. My philosophy is that medications are beneficial. However, pharmaceutical sales agendas can overshadow what is best for the patient. That is why research and informed decisions should always be made by the parents.
That being said, I do not just believe in throwing medicines at illness and symptoms. I weigh each option based on the situation. For example, I will pull out the heating pad and ice pack long before I pull out the pain relief medications. With every medicine, there are side effects that have to be considered. The allergy medicine can cause drowsiness or fogginess. Cough syrup makes my child more sluggish in the morning so I try other options first. (I did give himDelsym though for the worst of it. I think it helped along with the other things I tried.)
I don’t “push” oils or natural remedies out of an extreme distrust of the system and/or aversion to “chemicals.” (Water is a chemical so I don’t get the anti-chemicals activism. Chemicals are everywhere. That’s why we are taught Chemistry!) I talk about them because they work for me.
That’s just my two cents.
P.S. Want some easy tips on preventing this from happening again?
For more tips: