A sniffle here. A chill there. Cold and flu season has arrived. The average kiddo will suffer about 6 to 8 colds a year, and if unlucky enough, a bout of the flu, too.
The rules for nursing a kid through a cold or flu are simple…plenty of rest, warm liquids and maybe some over-the-counter medicine for the aches and fever. (Fortunately, they come in yummy flavors these days.)
But if you have a child with special needs or severe sensitivities, your job as a parent is a bit tougher.
Dyes, preservatives and artificial sweeteners found in many cold medicines can wreak havoc on their already delicate immune system, causing potential issues such as asthma-like symptoms, allergic reactions and hyperactivity.
So, here are some simple ways to treat your sick one:
- Try non-meds first. Warm compresses to the face, head and neck, as well as warm baths and showers, are great for decongestion. Saline mist for the nose may help congestion, too.
- Next try natural supplements. Vitamin C and zinc lozenges combat cold symptoms and relieve sore throats. Look for liquid versions if pills or lozenges are not an option.
- Ease temperature taking. Traditional thermometers can be challenging for active or touch-sensitive kids. Try forehead scanning devices or adhesive strips, which are more comfortable and still accurate options.
- Opt for Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is generally preferred to treat fevers and body aches in autistic children, as acetaminophen can tamper with certain antioxidants and cause serious side effects. Easy-to-chew or liquid, dye-free formats are best.
- Screen all meds with your doctor. If your child takes a regular prescription, and you’re considering trying an over-the-counter medication, check with your doctor first to ensure there are no drug interactions.
(Adapted from Chicago Parent)