Particularly prevalent in the cold, winter months, coughs, sneezes and earache can be hard enough for adults to deal with, never mind children who have no experience of how to cope with what can be a thoroughly miserable time.
Children are particularly prone to catching winter colds as their immune systems have still not built up enough resistance to ward them off and as a parent or relative, it can be distressing to watch your little one struggle.
Here are a few tips on how to see them through the worst.
Rest is the body’s response to illness, giving it the time it needs to recover.
It may seem disruptive to your established routine to let them simply sleep when they want to but it is necessary and is a natural response. Once they are feeling better, you can quickly go back to establishing the routine you had before.
Distraction is a proven method of making people feel better. For example, people in pain can have that feeling lessened when they are doing something they enjoy, and pain is not the prime focus.
As with sleep, do not worry too much about screen time, TV watching and similar. If your child is content and not distressed, then that enables the body to do the work needed to recover and the child is not focusing on the symptoms occurring.
Encourage your child to take in more fluids than normal. This helps keep fever down and also slim down any mucus secretions so that they can be sneezed, coughed or simply run out, taking the germs with them.
Both paracetamol and ibuprofen can help a child feel better and get rid of any pain. They can be taken at separate intervals to give them more relief.
If your child is struggling to breathe, a vapour rub on the chest and back, especially at night, will help and if they have a troublesome cough, ask your pharmacist what the best medicine would be.