5 Ways to End Your Sick Kid's Misery

Kids under 6 years old shouldn't take over-the-counter medicine, but we've got a list of other remedies to try when your kid is feeling awful.

  • Honey

    A spoonful of honey quiets kids' coughs better than over-the-counter cough syrup and helps them sleep, according to a study from Penn State Hershey's College of Medicine. And Canadian researchers found that honey can kill bacteria that cause sinus infections. Look for darker honeys that have more antioxidants. Never give any honey to babies under age 1.

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    Chicken Soup

    Chicken soup isn't just a comfort food anymore: Researchers at University of Nebraska Medical Center found that this age-old cold remedy actually reduces inflammation that causes cold symptoms.

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    Rest

    Sleep and immunity are tightly linked, so it's best to keep the kids home, let them lie on the couch, and put them to bed early when they have the flu or a fever. A kid with a simple head cold can go about their normal activities.

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    Drinks

    Fluids soothe a scratchy throat, prevent dehydration, and thin mucus so it drains more easily. Jell-O and Popsicles work well too.

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    Disinfect

    To keep germs at bay after your child's been sick, wash her sheets and clothes in hot water, change her toothbrush, spray furniture and carpets with a household disinfectant (such as Lysol), and use germ-killing wipes to sterilize toys, doorknobs, light switches, and other hard surfaces.

    Originally published in the November 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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