treating preschoolers with upper respiratory infections
December 16, 2015 4:58 PM   Subscribe

When people say that kids are sick all the time, I didn't realize that they actually meant they are sick all the time. Parents of mefi, what do you do to help the little ones feel better, sleep better, or get better sooner?
posted by pennypiper to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
In terms of helping sleep better, a cool mist humidifier works well.
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:19 PM on December 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Humidifier. (Under doctor's orders) Flonase. Lots and lots and lots of fluids (Popsicles, special drinks, juices, whatever gets them drinking). (My kids let me) flush nasal passages with saline mist.

I make my kids change clothes and wash hands the moment they are home from school and it seems to cut down on infections. Also, be sure to check titers if your peeps are literally sick all the time. My youngest was vax'd but they didn't take the first time and had to be re-vax'd. It dramatically cut the number of respiratory infections he gets.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:24 PM on December 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

I recently discovered Ayr, a saline gel that you can put on and in the nose. It really helps when you have a cold and are constantly blowing, or if your nose is so dry that it may bleed. I use it on myself and the kids all winter.

I learned to recognize the signs of strep in my kids, and if they had a fever with a bad sore throat, I'd take them straight to the pediatrician where they were generally prescribed antibiotics.

If your child is having frequent respiratory infections, it's possible they have or will develop asthma. Check with your doctor, who may recommend regular treatments (such as inhaled steroids or an albuterol inhaler) that can help with breathing.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:31 PM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Vitamin D, probiotics and hand-washing - for everyone!
posted by rozee at 5:37 PM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Teaching them to blow their nose properly - my kid was fairly proficient early but the colds where the just wipes a little go much longer than the ones where she rockets a bunch of snot out. Compared to her cousin, who is perpetually shooting streams of thick snot every time he sneezes, she is much healthier.

That and how to wash your hands properly. Even when she doesn't use soap and he does, her hands are cleaner because she gets her whole hand wet and moves them against each other while he dumps soap on one part, runs another part under the water stiffly, then sort of claps them together limply. Then doesn't dry them and gets soap everywhere.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:38 PM on December 16, 2015

We've had good luck avoiding catching colds by treating allergies with a steroid nasal spray. Not strictly what you were asking but boy did it cut down on the amount of time my toddler spent being sick.
posted by arrmatie at 5:40 PM on December 16, 2015

As someone who as a child was never sick but has acute sinusitis all year long as an adult, I know my upper respiratory problems are made better by avoiding sugar and dairy products whenever I'm in the throes of an infection. Humidifiers are excellent, as is encouraging hydration in general. Get your kids in the habit of drinking water constantly to both ward off and pass through sickness. Hot or cold compresses can really help lessen pain, too; I like those microwaveable barley bags you can get at Kohls but I'd go with warm, wet washcloths instead for a preschooler. And yes, knowing how to blow your nose effectively is great. I'm 28 and am only just learning how and it is horrible.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:46 PM on December 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cool mist humidifier and don't be afraid of children's ibuprofen. It gets better. They spend a couple years catching every single thing they encounter (and then they give it to you, which is extra awesome) and then their immune systems improve and it's not so bad.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:47 PM on December 16, 2015

Epidemiologist chiming in, and the all caps are merited:


More anecdotally, in our family the homebrew rice-filled microwave heat pack is a sick person's constant companion. It's a real comfort and very low-maintenance. Every one of my kids has fallen asleep with one of these in their hands, on their chest, under the small of their back, etc.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:59 PM on December 16, 2015 [12 favorites]

A long hot bath brings a little relief too. Good luck it's tough!
posted by littlewater at 6:03 PM on December 16, 2015

Oh, and it might not really work but Vicks rub is weirdly comforting.
posted by littlewater at 6:04 PM on December 16, 2015

Eucalyptus oil in the humidifier was the old school prescription. Hot bath with steam before bed. Flu shots. Liquids. Tomato soup. Chicken soup. Hot tea with lemon and honey.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:29 PM on December 16, 2015

Tylenol to treat a fever 15 minutes before bedtime helps my kids (3 and 1) sleep much better.
posted by Night_owl at 6:38 PM on December 16, 2015

Honey for a cough!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:16 PM on December 16, 2015

If you can raise their heads as they fall asleep (via extra pillow or wedge), that can ease congestion, make it easier to breathe and help them fall asleep.

Some hopeful anecdata: my co-worker's daughter was almost constantly sick in preschool. She started kindergarten this fall and hasn't been sick once.
posted by mogget at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2015

But no honey for babies under 1 year old.
posted by lakeroon at 9:05 PM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

In the end analysis, both of mine had to have less tonsils.
posted by Oyéah at 9:48 PM on December 16, 2015

Ours know to wash their hands when they get home from anywhere.
posted by LoveHam at 4:22 AM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

ear tubes were what solved this problem for us
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:02 AM on December 17, 2015

My son was like this in preschool/Kindergarten. Very frequent ear infections and what appeared to be colds. Turns out he was allergic to tomatoes, so avoiding those, in addition to ear tubes, resulted in a drastic decline in sickness. Like, to the point that he got perfect attendance at school the next year.
posted by jenny76 at 7:29 AM on December 17, 2015

(oh my god, they totally are sick all the time, aren't they?)

If your kiddo is too young to blow their nose properly, we find a Nose Frida sometimes helps. Especially if used after bath or saline spray. Ours hates it though. Also cool mist humidifier. And yes, handwashing!
posted by john_snow at 7:47 AM on December 17, 2015

Thanks all! They seem to get sick in waves, 4 months last winter, a month so far this winter. Which the doctor said is just back to back "colds", never too serious. But in between the waves I forget what to do, and in the middle of a wave I start forgetting that snotty, congested, and coughy isn't the status quo, but now I have a handy dandy snotty toddler toolkit (i.e. reminder note on my phone :)

General sick: Fluids (special drinks, water), ibuprofen, chicken soup, Ayr, extra hand washing, work on nose blowing and cough/sneeze techniques

Cough: Humidifier, eucalyptus to the warm humidifier, honey before bed

Congested: Saline spray & Nose frida (especially before bed), vicks (maybe, depends on age/kid)

Btw, we tried honey the last three nights after the doc recommended it. I was skeptical ("wait, you want me to give them sugar right before bed?") but it's helping a lot with the nighttime cough.
posted by pennypiper at 8:51 AM on December 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

My kid coughs ALL night long when he has a cold. My dr recommended 2.5ML of childrens benadryl before night time. It does the trick, along with a little honey. Nothing else has seemed to help my little one during night time.

I also use vicks on his feet, chest and upper lip/nose area and it helps as well. I feel you on your frustration with this.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 9:36 AM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Put a valet (or coat hooks and shoe rack) near the front door. Make them take shoes and coats off at the front door. Forbid them from getting on their beds in street clothes. Wash all bedding right after instituting this policy.

Shoes are gross. Leave them all at the front door. The rest of your house should be a haven from the icky stuff that gets on the soles of shoes all day long.

If necessary, clean the carpets after instituting the new shoe rule.
posted by Michele in California at 11:05 AM on December 17, 2015

« Older Traveling as a single woman   |   How to save my marriage Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.