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Health & Parenting

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Home Remedies for Kids' Winter Ills

Antibiotics don't work on colds and the flu, and many doctors have stopped prescribing them if your child has the sniffles. Try these doctor-recommended home remedies instead.

Other Home Remedies for Colds continued...

Chicken soup is still a mainstay. Some data even show it has healing powers. At very least, it's light, nutritious, and tastes good to jaded little appetites.

Kemper and Walls both say acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen and are fine to ease aches. Kemper says ibuprofen lasts longer and goes to work faster.

Aspirin is not recommended for children with fevers and may cause complications.

Steam from a hot shower can ease congestion. Be sure the child is not asthmatic, though. Changes in humidity can cause bronchospasms, Walls says.

Menthol salves and rubs can make congested chests feel better. Alcohol rubs are not recommended anymore -- the fumes are too toxic. A plain backrub can be relaxing.

Have children with nasal congestion sleep on their sides. It keeps gunk from falling down their throats.

A cool mist vaporizer can ease discomfort. Forget the hot ones -- they can burn! You can add menthol or peppermint to the water.

Serve light snacks. Some "old wives" recommend no solid foods if fever is present, but both doctors laughed at this. "Let them eat whatever sounds good to them," Kemper says.

Be sure to push fluids -- ice water or juice, anything the child will drink. If the child isn't thirsty, try a Popsicle or two.

If your infant has croup, try a trip outside into the cold air for a few minutes. "So many parents think the child is about to die of croup and by the time they get to the ER, the time in the cold air and in the car have resolved it and the child is jumping around," Walls says.

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