Advice about Colds & Flu
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
Advice about Colds & Flu
I've always had a tendency to catch colds and flus but since I had my daughter 5-1/
2 years ago, I have been constantly sick, particularly from September through
March, when these germs are more prevalent. Most of the time, I'm catching them
from my daughter but there are also times when she doesn't appear sick and I
develop something. Also, whatever I catch seems to hang around forever. I have
tried everything to boost my immune system, and nothing seems to work. I've taken
lots of vitamins, large doses of vitamin C, changed my diet (eliminated wheat and
other foods I was sensitive to). I went to a nutritionist who prescribed a complex
assortment of supplements and gone to an acupuncturist, as well as to my general
practitioner. It seems that nothing works for me. People tell me that as my daughter
gets older, she will catch fewer bugs but it's been 5-1/2 years and it doesn't seem
to slow down. This year, since Sept., I have had a stomach flu and a two-week cold
that turned into an upper respiratory flu. I'm certain that stress is a factor since I
work full-time and am juggling parenthood, being a spouse, keeping house, taking
care of two dogs, etc. But plenty of people do all of this without constantly being
sick. When I'm feeling well, I get a good amount of exercise and I eat healthfully. I
know there's no cure for the common cold, but does anyone have suggestions for
My advice is to get sufficient, uninterupted sleep, eat a
variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet, and
do outdoor excercise regularly, even walking in the rain, and
wash your hands well several times daily. The last time my
daughter and I were sick was, seriously, 2002. We don't do
anything special, no vitamins, no herbs, no actupunture,
nothing. I take public transportation every day, work in an
old, dusty building, and my daughter went to fulltime day care
and now goes to public kindergarten. Our stress level is pretty
low, maybe that is the key.
--knock on wood
Since my son got cancer a year ago and having to go throuch
chemotherapy, which makes his immune level to one third of
normal people, we applied one simple rule, washing our hands.
We put hand wash soap on every sink with a roll of paper towel,
and we wash our hand a lot, when we come back from work or
school, before eating meals and snacks, after using bathrooms,
and whenever we feel our hands got dirty. Surprizingly, my son
who is supposed be so weak, has not gotten flu since his
diagnosis. I, my husband, and our younger son got a couple of
flu in the last one year, but the numbers of cold/flu had
declined siginificantly. We also ask anyone who comes in to our
house to wash their hands at first. I hope this simple practice
may work for you too.
Hand washing believer
Maybe this is too obvious, but are you washing your hands?
Insanely vigilant hand washing is the only way I have found to
reduce colds and flu. By insanely vigilant, I mean washing hands
before every meal or snack, whenever I get home, have shaken
hands, have touched public doors, etc. My child is submitted to a
somewhat less vigilant form of this, since I don't want to make
him insane. I tend to touch my face a lot -- eyes and mouth
particularly -- and so I try to make a conscious effort not to do
this if I haven't washed my hands. I keep alcohol wash in the car
and in my purse and my son and I both use it.
This may seem simplistic but I have found that getting into bed by 9, or the latest
9:15, has made a huge difference in the amount of colds I get. I try to turn the
lights out by 9:30. I sometimes wake very early in the morning but still find that I
am healthier getting to be earlier. It sounds like you have tried everything else!
Boy can I relate to your situation! I am currently working with a very special nutritionist
of sorts who is really helping me a great deal. I'd be happy to tell you more about the
work and how to get hold of her if you're interested. She's in North Berkeley and uses
muscle testing to determine what your specific body needs and what part of your body
needs extra support and healing. It's remarkable work and more personalized than,
say, taking supplements that might not even be absorbed by your body. Email me if
you're interested and I'll put you in touch with her.
I'm looking for medication for my 1 year old that consist less
inactive ingredients (i.e. dye). Any suggestion about cold and
pain/fever relivers? Natural remedies, homeopathy?
You might want to take a look at the latest issue of Consumer
Reports. They seem to say that over the counter cold remedies,
particularly cough medicines, for children are generally
ineffective. Things that work for adults do not work for kids;
the possibilities of side effects, however slight, outweigh
likely benefits. Their reporting seems to me to usually be
pretty objective, so I took their views seriously even though I
am someone who is not against using OTC medicines in general.
Editor Note: In January 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned parents not to use the meds in infants and toddlers after three babies' deaths in 2005 were linked to the toxic effects of cough and cold medicines, which sent more than 1,500 kids under 2 to emergency rooms in 2004 and 2005.
In October 2007, drug-makers took the proactive step of voluntarily yanking 14 popular cough and cold medicines labeled for babies and toddlers from the market.
More info here:
Center for Disease Control
My almost-2-year-old has another cold, and once again his poor little nose is
red and raw from my wiping it with tissues (he doesn't know how to blow yet).
Are there any ideas as to how to prevent this, such as good creams to use or
better tissues I should buy (I'm just using regular Kleenex) or different nose-
wiping techniques? The poor little guy just cringes whenever I come near
Golly, do I love those tissues with aloe. They make a big
difference. We also use cloth hankies, which help. And you
know what? Diapers make good hankies, albeit a bit large.
Definitely get Puffs Plus tissues. They are much
easier on the nose than regular tissues. There
are other competing brands that also contain
lotion, but Puffs Plus are the best.
Puffs Plus Proponent
Try wiping with an cloth diaper (we have a stack to use as rags)
and putting some vaseline under his nose once or twice a day.
I use only the Kleenex with lotion added. My kids rarely get raw
noses from them, nor do I for that matter and I have my share of
colds. You can get them at Costco now. If they do get raw, some
Aquaphor on the nose at bedtime helps...
We use vaseline whenever our son's nose has gotten raw from a
cold. You wipe it off the next time you wipe, but it does seem
to help. It also really helps to put it on at bedtime when it
can really do some work since you're not wiping every 10
minutes. We also use the kleenex with lotion in it. I
personally find it much more soothing when I have a cold and so
I use it with my son as well.
Try Aquaphor (available at Longs). We use it on my son for his
eczema, but I've taken to using it on my other kids' noses when
they are red and raw (mine too!). It's amazing.
Quick! go buy some ''Puffs'' facial tissues ''with aloe''! They are
significantly softer and can even be soothing. Also, when my
child has a runny nose I buy chapstick (menthol scented if
possible) and apply it to her nostrils (externally) and her lip
(''mustashe'' area) after each time I wipe her nose. These two
things make a HUGE difference. Lastly, buy some non-medicated
saline nose spray/drops. It really helps loosen the mucus up when
your child is too young to blow their nose.
We us any nonpetroleum based chapstick around our kid's nostrils
and on their upper lip. This also works well for cleanning the
crusty morning nose secretions off their sensitive skin.
SOmetimes we use the tissues with aloe, but they aren't very
Now that cold season is upon us again, I wanted to ask if anyone
has any special cold treatments that work well for them
(medications, steam etc.). My 2.5 year old has colds almost
constantly during the winter (or so it seems) despite having
rather little contact with other children. And, unlike some
children that I know who barely notice their colds, she is very
unhappy (can't breath, can't sleep, coughs, very very runny nose)
for at least 2 weeks with each cold.
Any advice? I haven't seen this discussed in the archives.
a mom who is dreading the winter cold season
As soon as my 4 year old starts to sniffle, I give her
children's Ecinacha (sp), available at the health food store or
Berkeley Bowl and ''Yin Chow Jr.,'' available at Shen Clinic in
Berkeley. I'm told the yin chow jr. is NOT the same formula as
the adult version, but it seems to do the trick. My daughter's
symptoms rarely develop into a full blown cold. I've also had
great sucess with homeopathy, but it is harder to determine the
i would recommend you call your child's pediatrician to discuss
getting the flu shot this season. this year, the american
academy of pediatrics is recommending the flu shot for
children. this may benefit your child, especially when a tough
flu season is anticipated. good luck!
a mom that believes in vaccinations
I find that washing my child's hands frequently makes a
significant difference in number of colds. I wash his hands when
I pick him up from childcare and before he eats meals or snacks.
I drink (and my kids, now) 2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
with 2 tsp honey in hot water throughout the day when I'm
getting a cold. The apple cider vin. has some really strong
healing properties and if I catch my sniffles or scratchy
throat in time it works. I also regularly take lots of
There is a product called (I think) Zinex or something like
that. It's a homeopathic product. It's a zinc jell. You put it
in your nose the second you feel the possibility of a cold and
you will not get a cold. My brother swears by this stuff. I used
it once at the right time and I did not get a cold. I used it
again a little too late and I still got the cold but not as bad.
The reason we get colds is because our immune system is not
functioning at it's best. This is a really hard one for kids
cause they usually are not open to the healthiest of foods.
Eating a lot of sugar, packaged foods (I'm not saying you do,
but for the people who do) preservatives and not enough fruits
and vegies will deplete the immune system.
Washing hands a lot helps.
My 6 month old daughter had a terrible case of the sniffles
and coughs and really couldn't sleep well which made her
very cranky. My pediatrician suggested Dimetapp Infant
Drops which worked wonders. You can get a formula that is
just a decongestant or a decongestant and cough
suppressant. For a young infant, ask your pediatrician how
much to give.
For the very runny nose, I use a warm steam humidifier at
night. It keeps their nose running instead of allowing it to
get stuffed up so they can't breathe and therefore not sleep.
It makes a mess of the pillow case, but at least they sleep.
Also, for just a cough, there is a fairly new cough medicine my
doctor recommended called Delsym that I just love. Check with
your doctor about whether it's safe for a 2 year old.
And better than all these, become paranoid about hand washing
to help prevent getting sick in the first place. Carry instant
sanitizer with you everywhere and use it before every meal and
snack. It really does make a difference.
Mother of 3 sickies
Two useful items: 1. Ayr saline nasal gel keeps nasal
passages from getting crusty /red and quickly helps one
breathe more easily (best applied when child is sleeping if
they object to it, tho some like the gel) 2. Kids herbal cough
elixir, black cherry flavor. (Found at Berk Bowl or Whole
Foods, made by ''Eclectic''). And I just picked up Echinacea
and Vit. C gummi bears at Trader Joe's...
this page was last updated: Oct 7, 2008
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network