The following is a list of important over-the-counter items parents should have on-hand to help their children through the cold and flu season. These are particularly important as many decongestive and cough suppressive medications designed for infants and young children have been taken off the market and are no longer available. This cold and flu season, the “Must-Haves” for kids include:
1. Nasal Aspirator
The original flexible bulb design still works well to clear stuffy noses and relieve pressure. However, there are new aspirators on the market that are battery-operated and some even play music to distract babies while aspirating.
2. Saline Nose Drops
Good old fashioned, non-medicated saline drops loosen thick secretions so noses drain more easily. Saline nose drops can be used whenever needed. If your baby has a cold or nasal congestion that makes feeding difficult, use before feedings.
3. Temporal Artery Thermometer
A temporal artery (forehead) thermometer* is ideal for the sick child or infant who needs comforting or are in such discomfort that they become fussy and irritated. This device is the only U.S.-made thermometer and works on sleeping babies or a child with an earache or infection without any complications.
4. Cool Mist Humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which helps ease coughing and congestion due to a cold. Warm mist and cool mist humidifiers are equally effective in humidifying the air, but a cool mist is recommended because hot water from a can burn a child if he or she gets too close to it. Be sure to keep it clean and change the water daily to prevent the growth of bacteria, which could potentially keep your child sick rather than helping your child get better.
5. Creams and Rubs
Some chest creams and rubs can ease nasal stuffiness using menthol or other fragrances, and can also help to temporarily relieve coughs due to minor throat and bronchial irritation. Check labels for age restrictions.
*Exergen’s Temporal Scanner™ is the world’s first and only temporal artery (forehead) thermometer, delivering an accurate temperature (comparable to one taken rectally) in just two seconds. For more information please visit www.temporalscanner.com.
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