As we enter the familiar cold and flu season, pediatric offices buzz with activity, grappling with an array of upper respiratory tract infections, from RSV to the flu. These illnesses, accompanied by fevers, coughs, and congestion, can persist for weeks, throwing daily routines into disarray. While it's challenging for parents to witness a sickness's physical toll on their kids, it's also a struggle to deal with the disruption of school, activities, and the inevitable missed workdays.
Children, on average, endure 8-10 illnesses annually. However, during the winter, it feels compounded by reinfections or ongoing sniffles and coughing due to our proximity indoors. Unfortunately, the FDA guidelines restrict the use of cold and cough medications for children under four years old, leaving parents searching for effective alternatives.
So, the question lingers: how can parents navigate this seasonal health challenge? Beyond ensuring their child's vaccinations are up to date, including the crucial yearly flu shot (it’s recommended that children ages 6 months and older receive it), maintaining a consistent bedtime routine and a balanced diet become essential contributors to a healthy immune system—no easy feat with picky eaters in the house.
Parents can employ various safe methods to manage symptoms when faced with a sick child. Here are a few important strategies I always recommend:
- Hydration monitoring
- Fever control with acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Cool mist humidifiers
- Nasal saline and nasal suction devices
- Mentholated chest rubs
- Honey multiple times a day to alleviate coughs and sore throats for children over the age of one
In addition to eating well and getting plenty of rest, parents should think about multivitamins or other supplements that help maintain immune systems. I recommend Life's First Naturals bovine colostrum, a chewable or powder supplement that helps recognize and defend against foreign invaders (germs), protects the body, and is a safe solution for children aged one and up (assuming no dairy allergies). I like Life’s First Naturals’ colostrum because it has immune factors that contribute to a balanced and healthy immune response, and prebiotics that foster the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, home to over 70% of the immune system.
Scientific studies underscore the similarities between bovine and human colostrum, the initial fluid ingested by breastfeeding infants. Both contain protective proteins, immune factors, and prebiotics. The most recent research from August 2023, a randomized controlled trial spanning six weeks, demonstrated a reduction in the frequency and duration of upper respiratory tract infections among children using the product.
For any parent, the prospect of fewer illnesses and a speedier recovery for their child is undeniably appealing. While navigating the inevitability of seasonal sickness, remember the above tips, and as always, please consult your child's pediatrician before starting any new health regimen.
Watch Dr. Crosby detail the tips below: