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Top Remedies for Sick Kids

Cold and flu season is here! Here’s our list of must-haves to have on hand to help your little ones through cough, cold, and flu season and fevers.

Top Remedies for Sick Kids

Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN

Cold and flu season is here which also means fevers! If you haven’t listened to our podcast episode, Help! What do I feed my sick kid?, give it a listen! We share easy and practical tips for feeding and supporting our little ones during a cough, cold, or stomach virus, including what to feed them when they have no appetite, how to keep them hydrated, our favorite natural OTC remedies to reduce symptoms and the length of the illness, and how to boost their immunity along the way. 

We can all relate to the helplessness and overwhelm we feel when our kid is sick, so we wanted to record an episode that would leave you feeling ready to tackle colds and flus when they inevitably hit your home!

Below is our list of must-haves from the episode. (But be sure to check with your pediatrician before introducing your child to a totally new remedy.) And just a reminder: many of the links are affiliate links, meaning, when you use them, part of the proceeds go to support Meaning Full Living at no charge to you! We so appreciate the support!

Our Top Products to Have on Hand for Fevers:

  1. A good thermometer like the FridaBaby 3-in-1: Ear thermometers are known to be inaccurate. Getting a rectal temp is best for kids under 2 months. We love this thermometer because it grows with your little one. 
  2. Pulse oximeter: Being able to get a blood oxygen level at home is really helpful and this one works on both children and adults.
  3. Hydration: Hydration is key during any illness, but especially fevers. For babies it’s all about continuing formula and/or breastmilk to keep them hydrated. For kids over 12 months, we love using coconut water, smoothies, golden milk, broth, and warm tea to keep our kids hydrated.
  4. Fever forehead stickers: These cooling stickers help cool and comfort your little one and are amazing. You stick them on and they provide a cooling compress for hours.
  5. Acetaminophen and Motrin: Good to always have these on hand so when you need it, you have it. Motrin is not safe for babies under 6 months old. Always check with your pediatrician for proper dosing and recommendations for your kids, but here’s a helpful dosing guide for over-the-counter medication from Bryce’s pediatrician, Dr. Cohen.

Our Top Natural Cough and Cold Remedies

  1. Cool mist humidifier: We love this one because it has a calming adjustable light, it’s a great size, and you can add essential oils. Cool mist humidifiers help loosen the congestion and moisten the air to make breathing less irritating.
  2. Saline spray, saline drops (newborns), saline mist: This is one of the most underutilized remedies for kids and adults. It’s an all-natural solution that helps loosen up and pull out snot, which is extra important for little ones who can’t blow their noses yet.
  3. Snot sucker: Thank goodness for this invention! Use it after the saline and before naps, sleep, and feedings. Don’t overuse it, since that can cause irritation. 
  4. Steam shower: This is simple, but magical. Use your shower to steam up your bathroom and then bring your little one into the steamy room for 10-15 minutes. Just make sure they don’t overheat and keep them from any hot water. 
  5. Golden milk with honey or tea with honey: Honey is a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and it’s clinically proven to alleviate coughs and colds by coating the throat and reducing inflammation. Turmeric is also naturally anti-inflammatory, so this recipe packs a one-two punch. This is a go-to in both of our homes! 
  6. Beekeeper’s Naturals Honey Throat Spray: We love this company and their spray and always have it on hand. It provides immune support and helps soothe scratchy throats. 
  7. Chest rub (or this one for baby): Apply a little to your child’s chest – don’t overdo it! Make sure to double-check the age recommendation since some are recommended only for kids 2-3+.
  8. Nose wipes and boogie wipes: These keep their noses from drying out with all the wiping.
  9. A good thermometer like the FridaBaby 3-in-1: Ear thermometers are known to be inaccurate. Getting a rectal temp is best for kids under 2 months. We love this thermometer because it grows with your little one.   
  10. Hydration: We love using coconut water, smoothies, golden milk, broth, and warm tea to keep our kids hydrated.
  11. Fever forehead stickers: These cooling stickers help cool and comfort your little one.

Top Five Remedies to Boost Immunity

  1. Elderberry syrup: We always have this one hand. It helps decrease the duration and severity of the illness, so give it at the first sign of illness. Make sure to follow dosing recommendations. We also love the Elderberry Syrup and Victory Elixir from Tasha Rose Organics. They are pricey, but they are made with quality ingredients by a small business and have really helped us. 
  2. Vitamin D3/K2: These vitamins help boost immunity in babies, kids, and adults. Always check with your doctor before supplementation but here’s general vitamin D guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC:
AgeVitamin D per day
Breastfed and partially breastfed infants400 IU 
Exclusively formula fed infantsDo not require supplementation as formula contains vitamin D
Children 12+ months 600 IU 
  1. Probiotics (baby, breastfed baby, and kid): Probiotics are clinically proven to help with immunity and may help reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of an illness.
  2. Good hand washing: We all know about hand washing since 2020, but getting your little one to wash their hands well, especially toddlers, is not easy. We don’t leave the house anymore without our Suds 2 Go on-the-go hand washing bottle. It’s amazing because you can wash your kids hands with soap and water anywhere, anytime. Use coupon code MFL15 for 15% off the entire site. 
  3. Vitamin C-rich foods: A small amount goes a long way for little ones. For example, two strawberries, half of a small orange, a couple strips of bell pepper, and some broccoli all provide good amounts of vitamin C for your kid per day.