One of the primary symptoms of cold among children include runny nose with thin and clear mucus and then followed by a sore throat or coughing. As the child recovers, the mucus can turn green or brown in color and becomes thicker. It is important to note that both types of excessive mucus can be categorized as postnasal drip and both can cause discomfort to the child. There are natural remedies that you can provide before opting for medications. If you want to learn ways to properly manage postnasal drip, click here.
Always bear in mind that cold medications such as antihistamines and decongestants will not cure the cold but will help relieve the symptoms temporarily. It is best to focus on boosting the immune system of the child as well as keeping him/her comfortable during the recovery period.
When wiping the nose, you can apply petroleum jelly or any soothing ointment over the skin around the nose so that it will not dry out and become chapped. Even saline nasal drops can be used to flush out the mucus and prevent dryness. If available, there are some facial tissues that provide a moisturizing effect or contain saline that can relieve the dryness.
Using foods, herbs and beverages
It cannot be denied that children often have little or no appetite when they are recovering from a cold. You can offer light, warm foods and beverages such as herbal teas, chicken soup and oatmeal since these can help minimize the production of mucus.
Avoid dairy products for children 12 months old and above as well as sugary foods or those that are high in fat. The digestion process will not work effectively during a cold, thus these foods are more difficult to process.
Using steam and humidity
It is important to note that steam and humidity can help slacken the mucus in the chest as well as minimize the dryness of the nasal membranes. All you have to do is to turn on the shower on the hot setting and close the bathroom door to allow the steam to build up. Accompany the child and expose him/her to the steam for at least 15 minutes. When his/her nose starts to run profusely, encourage to blow the nose to eliminate the excess mucus.
You can also use a cool mist or warm mist humidifier at night to achieve the similar effect. Just make sure that you will keep the warm mist humidifier out of reach and clean them regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
In case the natural remedies do not seem to work, decongestants and antihistamines can be used. Unless the symptoms are severe enough though, these medications must not be used right away since they can cause the thickening and dryness of the mucus, causing it to flow less freely, thus increasing the risk for the growth of bacteria and secondary infections.
Antihistamines can be used for a runny nose while decongestants are indicated for a stuffed nose. Take note that cold medications are not suitable for children below 4 years old. In case these medications are used, you have to carefully follow the dosage instructions. A doctor should be consulted if you suspect that the runny nose is linked to allergies instead of a cold.