“Mummy, I think I need alcohol” my then 3 year old (the middle one- Lou) said innocently.
“Sorry darling, what did you say?” thinking I’d miss heard.
“Alcohol Mummy. I poorly”
“Oh you mean Calpol!” I giggled to myself thinking, “That’s one for the baby book!”
With three of them, it’s constant! The nasal drips start in September and rotate around the house until Easter! Two of them are usually chesty with the eldest suffering with sinus and headaches. As far as coughs and colds go, they have to be pretty serious (I’m talking flu- proper flu) to get a day off school. So, I’ve picked up some great tips to treat colds, coughs and croup, to help and make sure they (and we) still get a good night sleep, during the ‘cold’ season!
Temporarily cut out dairy
- Cows milk, cheese, yogurt etc. is mucus producing
- Replace with dairy free alternatives
J and I have dairy intolerances anyway so we have almond/ goat’s milk, feta/ buffalo mozzarella cheese already in the fridge. When I stopped drinking cows milk, I couldn’t believe what a difference it made to my sinuses and I now rarely ‘block-up’ during the night when I have a cold. Be sure to replace rather than remove so you don’t affect their calcium intake.
Menthol rub on feet!
- Rub on the soles of the feet for a cough!
- Chest and back for any cold related symptoms (including cough)
I only leant about putting it on their feet after the youngest was born. I wish I’d known sooner as it really works!
Bowl of hot water or humidifier
- Somewhere in the bedroom
- Plain is fine or add olbas oil or similar
Put it in the room ten minutes before going to bed. It needs to be out of reach if you are going to leave it. When mine were younger, I used to remove it, then put it back once they were asleep and then remove again when we went to bed. I have friends who swear by the menthol vapor plug-ins, I found them rather expensive compared to boiling water, which worked well for us!
For a similar effect, put a damp towel on a warm radiator adding a few drops of olbas oil.
Raising the head of the bed/ cot
- I used a few big hardback books just to raise 3-4 inches
This didn’t always work when they were still in the cot, as I had rather wriggly babies, who would end up with heads down the wrong end!! I found that once in beds, they tended to stay the right-way-around and this really helped to relieve coughing.
Wash hands more!
Sounds simple but it really is effective! When I was constantly changing nappies, I was washing my hands 10X more than any normal person and didn’t suffer much with the common cold. At the time, I put this down to the fact that I work with lots of children and that I’d therefore, gained some sort of immunity. However, I’ve now had two winters of being nappy free and caught every cold going! I’m now making a conscious effort to wash my hands after dealing with any cold-ridden child and it seems to be working. It’s harder to get the rest of the family to participate!!
Croup- always worse in the middle of the night!
- Take your child outside- a change in atmosphere can often relieve the symptoms of croup.
Croup was one of the scariest things I have ever had to deal with. It was the middle of the night and I could hear my younger daughters (Lou- age 3) breathing from the next room. I was about to go and check on her, when she got up, panicking that she couldn’t breath. J was away and I had a 5-month-old baby (as well as a 5 year old) at the time. I tried to calm her, while boiling the kettle (thinking steam might help) and called NHS Direct. On hearing Lou’s breathing in the background of our conversation, they told me to call an ambulance- I was shaking so much, I could hardly dial. They were with me in minutes and immediately decided to take her to hospital (I had already called a friend to stay with the others) but the second we were outside, I noticed an improvement in her breathing. They gave her a dose of steroids on arrival and she was monitored for the rest of the night and following morning, releasing her around 10am, having virtually made a full recovery.
Over the next few days, the baby starting showing signs of croup and not wanting a repeat performance, I immediately took him to the doctors. He informed me that croup was an infection of the trachea (windpipe) and that even though it sounded terrible, the sufferer would still be getting enough oxygen and would not suffocate (unlike bronchiolitis, where the oxygen exchange is impaired). However, even with this knowledge, he also divulged that he himself had called an ambulance for his, croup-suffering child.
- Croup– difficulty breathing and a trade-mark ‘barking’ cough
- Bronchiolitis- like a bad chest infection, lips can turn blue- a sign they are not getting enough oxygen (Lou had this too!)
I hope my experiences will help you in the constant battle of the snotty nose!! Let me know if you try them and if you have any tips to treat colds, coughs and croup to share.