It may be warming up, but the colds are not going away! Local pediatrician Dr. Nadia Day is guest blogging for us today and sharing home remedies to help the littles (and parents!) get some relief.
Cold and flu season is in full swing here in Arizona, which means parents and kids alike are suffering from many sleepless nights due to illness. Nothing is worse than when your child is sick, and believe me, your pediatrician is just as frustrated as you are that there is no cure for the common cold. To add to all of our frustration, most over the counter medicines for coughs and congestion don’t work well and are unsafe for children under the age of 6. While we all await the magic cure for these crazy viruses, there are some common ingredients that can help ease the sleepless nights.
A study done in 2007 evaluated buckwheat honey vs dextromethorphan (the most common over the counter cough suppressant). It turns out that a teaspoon of honey can help decrease coughing better than any over the counter cough suppressant. Better yet, it doesn’t have any of the side effect we often see with other cough suppressants. Honey has been shown to have both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and the thickness of it may coat the cough receptors in the back of the throat resulting in less coughing. So, if your child is over the age of one with a viral URI, forget the spoonful of sugar and try 1 tsp of honey or a honey stick.
We’ve probably all at some point in time used ginger ale or ginger tea to try to soothe an upset stomach. Surprisingly, some studies have shown that fresh ginger may actually decrease the attachment of certain viruses to our airways and decrease mucous production. Combine this with its anti-inflammatory properties, and you have a product that should be in everyone’s kitchen.
Thyme has been used for 100’s of years as a treatment for cold symptoms. Recent studies have suggested that thyme may decrease the spasms of the bronchi, which would lead to decreased coughing. There is also evidence that it may help increase the clearance of mucous out of the bronchi. Using fresh thyme is best, and thyme oil should never be ingested.
Cinnamon is one of my favorite ingredients to have in the kitchen. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties and may also help aid in digestion. My kids love this sprinkled on apples and oatmeal!
Anyone that has had an after dinner mint knows that peppermint aids in digestion, but did you know it can also be used as a decongestant and expectorant? The FDA has even approved its main active ingredient, menthol, in many over the counter medications to alleviate coughs and congestion. So go ahead and make a nice warm cup of peppermint tea to help decrease the mucous. Remember that peppermint oil should never be taken orally and peppermint and menthol should never be used for an infant.
If your child’s symptoms seem to be going on longer than the typical 10-14 days of most colds, or symptoms seem more severe than usual, please see your pediatrician for further evaluation. We’re here to help!
Dr. Nadia Day is a pediatrician and partner at Pediatric Associates PC in North Central Phoenix (www.pedassocaz.com). She is originally from Illinois where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois. After completing medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, she moved to Phoenix where she finished her pediatric training at Phoenix Children’s Hospital/Maricopa Medical Center Residency Program. During her last year of training she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Day is proud to be an active member of our community. She has won awards from the local chapter of the March of Dimes, and has served on the executive board of the Greater Phoenix Pediatric Society. Dr. Day is board certified and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has a special interest in pediatric obesity prevention and postnatal care of preterm infants.
On her days off she enjoys hiking, barre3, yoga, and traveling to exotic places with her husband and 3 young children. You may also find her playing chauffeur around Scottsdale as she tries to keep up with her children’s busy schedules.