Remedies for Sick Children

This season has been hit hard with cases of respiratory viruses in children, as RSV, the flu, Covid-19, and the common cold are spreading around. Fortunately, there are many home remedies to treat your children’s symptoms. 

If your child has a runny nose, try using a saline nasal spray by adding one to two drops in each nostril. Doing so will loosen any dry mucus (which contains the virus) and make it easier to remove. For babies, using a rubber suction bulb or nose frida is recommended to gently suck out extra drops or mucous.   Humidifiers with a cool mist vaporizer are also effective in relieving congestion. Humidifiers help make the mucus thinner so that your child can breathe more easily. Note that it’s essential to avoid any hot-water vaporizer as the steam can burn your child. It’s also important to keep the humidifiers clean to avoid bacteria growth and mold.

For a sore throat or if your child is coughing a lot, you can give your child honey mixed in warm water or herbal tea, only if your child is older than one year. For babies under one year of age, honey is not safe to give to them. Honey can soothe children’s throat and cough by thinning the mucus and by doing so, reducing your child’s cough. You can try 1-2 teaspoons, before bed can be especially helpful.

Make sure your child is also drinking enough fluids as it’s important to keep them hydrated to thin out the mucus production. For children over 5 years of age, you can try using cough drops for relief if their cough is not improving. Warm baths or showers can also help clear out the airways.  As well as what we call steamy bathroom treatments – steam up the bathroom and take your child with you into the steamed up bathroom for 10-15 minutes to help clear congestion.

When your child is sick, it’s important to also ensure that they’re getting enough sleep and rest to strengthen the immune system. 

If your child has a fever, you can give them acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (if your child is at least 6 months old). However, we advise calling our office or referencing our dosage sheets on our website before giving medication to children under 2. Always make sure to follow directions on the medication/dosage sheet for correct dosage based on your child’s weight and age. And if your infant is under 3 months and has a fever, please contact us right away. 

In most cases, your child will not need antibiotics as they do not fight viruses and can sometimes be harmful to children. There are certain infections, however, that may require antibiotics. Our pediatrician will evaluate your child before providing a prescription. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s illness or about using remedies to treat your child, please contact our office. 

How to Reduce Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be fun and joyous as many of us get into the spirit and festivities. However, it can also be stressful for a lot of families, especially as you seek time to finish your holiday shopping, prepare for gatherings, fulfill social demands, and deal with changes in routines. We have some tips on how you and your family can manage and reduce the overwhelm and be able to enjoy the holidays.

Maintain your family’s routine as much as possible.

Your kids might want to stay up late on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Dinner might start an hour later than usual when you have guests over for a gathering. While it’s normal for schedules to fall out of sync on holidays, try to maintain your family’s typical routine on the days surrounding the holidays as much as you can. Make sure your kids are getting adequate sleep and eating well. Staying up late for New Year’s is fine but it’s important that your kids don’t fall into a new sleep pattern where they’re going to bed later than usual and waking up late. This can make returning to school after winter vacation more challenging.

Enlist your children’s help.

As a parent or caregiver, you probably have a lot on your plate. And preparing holiday dinners and gatherings can quickly make everything more stressful and exhausting. Your kids can pick up on that energy too and it can interfere with their own well-being. Try enlisting your children’s help in holiday tasks and preparations. Not only will that alleviate some of the workload on your end, but it will also be a fun way to engage the family in the holiday spirit. Playing music while decorating cookies or hanging up decorations together as a family can become fun activities and ease the stress of getting things done.

Set realistic expectations and learn to say no.

You don’t have to say yes to everything! If a party invitation is just one too many, it’s okay to say no. There’s a lot that goes on during the holidays, including parties and get-togethers. Be realistic with your schedule about what you can attend and what you can’t.

Follow health precautions to prevent illness.

Respiratory viruses like RSV, the flu, Covid-19, and the common cold have been spreading this holiday season and cases have been rising. Your child becoming sick can make the holidays more stressful. Ensure that your family is taking precautions, including regular hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and objects, distancing from people who are sick, and wearing masks in high-risk spaces.

Don’t forget to unwind.

You might have a long to-do list, but always make time to unwind during the busyness. Doing so will give your family a break, time to relax and de-stress, and some peace. Down time can be sipping cocoa while watching a holiday movie or reading your kids a book.

It’s also good to check in on how your kids are doing. Holiday stress can sometimes affect children’s anxiety and mental health. Show them your support so that they feel comfortable opening up, which will allow you to be able to help them. And remember, we are also here for your family. Call our office if you need to reach us.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Nutrition and Healthy Eating During the Holidays

It’s the holiday season and a time of family gatherings and holiday food and treats, (like Christmas cookies with sprinkles and candy canes)! However, many families feel concerned about how much their children are eating, especially sugary snacks, during the holidays. While it’s perfectly ok to indulge in treats, it’s important to be mindful of how much your children are balancing those foods with nutritious meals. Here are some ideas for staying on track with your child’s nutrition.

Be mindful of your kids’ portion sizes. Eating dessert during gatherings and festivities is common and there’s nothing wrong with that. But do consider how many candies or treats your children are eating. One way to help ensure that they’re not eating too much is to prepare healthy meals with whole foods, lean protein, complex carbs, good fats, and vegetables. That way, your child will snack on lesser sweets as these meals would fill them up adequately. Always encourage your children to finish their dinner before dessert to motivate them to eat healthy food with the nutrition they need.

You can also combine or include fruit in dessert as fruit is typically lower in calories and will encourage your kids to eat a smaller portion of foods that have added sugar. Fruit is also packed with fiber, making it a more satiating choice for a snack.

There are also a variety of delicious options for holiday foods that are nutritious or ways to prepare traditional holiday dishes using healthier methods.

If you’re baking at home, you can use almond flour instead of white flour. Almond flour is a healthier choice than refined flours as it is more nutrient-dense and has less carbohydrates. It is also gluten free, which makes it a great alternative for those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. And since almond flour tends to be naturally sweeter than most other flours, you can add less sugar to your baked goods. Another healthier dessert option is chia seed pudding. Chia seeds have protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants – all of which are beneficial to your child’s health.

For a lot of holiday favorites like pasta and bread, you can cook whole wheat or grain pasta or buy whole wheat and multi-grain bread. Whole grains are higher in protein, fiber, and nutrients and are digested more slowly, making it a better choice than refined carbs.

To make vegetables more appealing for children, feel free to have fun preparing them and decorating your children’s plate in the holiday spirit. You may want to cut up food items in shapes like Christmas trees, snowmans, or Santa Claus. You can also make vegetable snacks more appetizing by combining them with hummus or guacamole.

There are numerous holiday healthy recipes that can be found online. We recommend checking out Super Kids Nutrition, Eating Well, and as places to start. Happy Holidays!