At Home Cold Remedies... What Really Works?

Updated on March 07, 2011
A.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
19 answers

My 4 year old is sick with the cold, and I feel horrible. He coughs so much, and he says his feelings hurt(although he really means his lungs). I can see it in his little eyes he doesnt feel good. I dont want to give him cough medicine, only tylenol and motrin for when he is running a fever, but what else can I do to help him be more comfortable. At night is when he coughs the most, and it makes it hard for him to sleep. He has a bad past of coughing so hard that he gags and vomits. He is a picky eater already, so him throwing up on top of it makes me want to pull my hair out! And the cherry on the cupcake? Im pregnant!!! I cant get sick too!! I heard giving him 1/2 a teaspoon of honey will help with the cough is that really true? I put vicks on his chest, to help him breathe so he isnt so conjested. What else can I do?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Give him tea with a good amount of honey and some cinamon. We also give the kids homeopathic remedies. We use Briar Rose, which helps the immune sytem. We have seen Dr. Feder in L.A. (see her website). At that age we gave 12 drops in the morning and 12 drops at night. For coughs we also gave lithy tree. (same amount of drops). Read through her website.



answers from Hartford on

We stopped giving my son over the counter medicines when he has a cold or cough and I have noticed he gets over them much quicker now. Warm showers work great to get the mucus out. Teach him to blow his nose and spit out any yucks that come up. Lots of ice water and orange juice. Cool mist humidifier at night helps too. When my little guy is stuffed up he will sometimes take 3-4 quick showers a day and it helps clear him out.

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answers from Honolulu on

He should go to the Doctor.

What if he has Bronchitis, or Pneumonia, or RSV, or Pertussis, or Croup etc.

OTC remedies, will not cure that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

A family friend of ours swears by a remedy for coughs that his mom (a nurse) taught him. He says to slather a generous amount of vicks on the bottoms of your child's feet and then put on the warmest socks he has and put him in bed or on the couch to rest. They did this with his son a couple of weeks ago when he had the flu and it was the only way they could stop his cough. He said it sounds funny but it relieved his cough for 6 hours at a time.
Of course it is a good idea to see his doctor. But if they give you the generic "it's just a cold or virus" diagnosis home remedies can really bring some relief.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We've tried all sorts of home remedies, such as honey, lemon, Vicks, saline... and none worked with any effect. The only thing that seems to truly reduce my son's cough in times of a bad cold is using a nebulizer (in conjunction with a non-steroid bronchial dialator medication, such as Xopenex). However, you need to see your pediatrician first for the device + any meds.



answers from Houston on

Our doctor is now recommending not using the OTC cough remedies and instead making a mixture of equal parts lemonade and honey, warming it slightly (like the temp. of hot chocolate) and then swigging all at once. What I did last time was make up about a half cup mixture in a measuring cup and kept it in the refrigerator (for when I was too sleepy in the middle of the night to mix and measure!) Then I would just warm it up as I needed it, pour a bit into one of those medicine cups that come with OTC liquid medicine and give it to my kids when they needed it. Usually about a teaspoon at a time.

My daughter is like your son in that her coughing fits can lead to gagging and vomiting--not fun! The lemonade/honey mixture really seemed to work for us last time!

P.S. Be sure you buy real lemonade and not a powder mix or a juice drink that may have other things added, like extra sugars. I just bought the Simply Lemonade brand and figured that worked best!


answers from Milwaukee on

saline solution!!!! for his nose-it will help clear out his nose and help him breath!!



answers from Los Angeles on

Get a humidifier for his room (some of them have dispensers where you can put the Vapor Rub and it will diffuse into the air he breathes). Not sure if this is true, but some people also say you can even put Vapor Rub on the soles of his feet with socks over it and it will soak in. There have been a lot of studies that say honey is helpful, so it couldn't hurt! A cough and upset stomach can also mean an ear infection, so you might want to get that checked out if it's not going away...good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Go to Wholefoods and get Nettles & Eyebright for will help with the mucus build up in lungs..also get Umcka..u can get that at the Vitamin Shoppe..get the lemon powder and put it in hot water then let it cool..u can add honey..put it in a grown up tea cup and tell him he's drinking from a grown up cup..also Hylands C tablets ..under the tongue..and if you want to knock that cough out Musinex works..My son and boyfriend both had the same thing..its going around..i however did not catch it..i got some other more heady type thing..more allergy-ish...So u may not catch it..
there is also Chestal cough medicine..honey flavored..but the musinex is what knocked it out for my son..and also make sure his room is warm enough at night..seemed like my son's room was a bit cold..he likes cold but he started sleeping in our bed when he'd wake up from coughing and then for the next few nights he slept w/ us and the cough went away..
now he's back in his bed and it seems like the cough is coming back a little.
also Gentle Vapors..get the plug in ..don't use a humidifier or vaporizer unless you clean it often w/ white vinegar..the humidifier you have to clean every day and the vaporizer once a week.
Also if u use honey make sure its raw..otherwise you're just giving him sugar.

good luck..hope your sweetie feels better soon





answers from Seattle on

Our pediatrician says there is evidence that honey (or honey/lemon) are effective for coughs. Especially when they are too little for the really good stuff. And humidifiers and vicks have also been shown to work. You are totally on the right track!

For what it's worth, I give mine Tylenol (or Motrin) if they are feeling bad, not just if they have a fever. It helps them sleep, which can quiet the cough for a while.



answers from Norfolk on

I've heard the honey words because it's thick and as it goes down, "grabs" mucous that may be in the throat. My grandfather takes a tablespoon of vinegar everyday before breakfast...I personally have not tried it, but he just turned 80 and has never had a cold >_< Either that, or I've seen him take a spoonfull of pure molasses. Probably could find that at a health food store. Water works for me, I load up on water and flush it out along with eating. I don't always feel like eating, but I force myself to, even if it's just a bowl of soup, have to keep the body hydrated. He's not old enough yet either, but one that does work is mixing a cup of black tea with dark rum.


answers from Los Angeles on

you can try boiling a pot of water with some eucalyptus oil (from the drug store, inexpensive) to help with the cough. it will freshen the air in your home as well :) & supposedly kills or deters dust mites that irritate the lungs. I love this, even when not sick.



answers from St. Louis on

my 6 and 4 year olds like using Breathe Right strips for kids at night when they're congested. They think they're fun!


answers from Austin on

Saline nose spray and a steamy shower helps loosen congestion. Drinking plenty of fluids(including pineapple juice) can thin the mucus. Ibuprofen or tylenol can reduce the swelling to make it easier to breathe.
Honey, mint tea, warm apple juice, chicken soup, or popsicles could soothe the sore throat.
At night, you can try elevating the head of the bed by putting blocks under it or a folded blanket under the mattress(If I just used an extra pillow, my son would roll off it in the middle of the night).
If the fever lasts for more than 4 days, or comes back a couple days later even worse, or if it sounds like he's gasping for air- then you should probably take him to the doctor. It can be worse in kids with asthma or allergies. Last time I took my son in after 4 days of fever and coughing, and he had pneumonia. It took 3 different round of antibiotics to get rid of it.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi, my family did this, My mom would go get a bottle of golden gran its 190 proof. and get honey, you take about a shot of that and mix it till were you can easy poor it, and give the child a teaspoon-tablespoon of it.
Always worked for us



answers from Boston on

Vicks on the bottom of the feet really does work for bad coughs. I've been doing it for the past 7 years and it works everytime. Wish I could explain why. A tsp of honey and lots of water. I did just buy Maty's cough syrup made with Buckwheat honey but I think the next time I might try the lemon and honey that Lynn suggested and save my money on the syrup.



answers from Chicago on

Yes, a teaspoon of honey helps.

Get a Vicks vaporizer for his room at night and use the Vicks vapor liquid. It helps a lot with the coughing and breathing at night. Make sure he's propped up with pillows on his back, that will help.



answers from Los Angeles on

HI A.,
They have an all natural cough elixir by Eclectic which can be purchased at any health food store. It is flavored and really helps to loosen the gunk. We have given it to our son in very small doses when he was just a few months old. That along with a cool mist vaporizer with a few Eucalyptus essential oils in it did the trick. Finally, Badger (also an all natural product) carries an infant chest rub. Rub this on your son's chest and feet and put socks on him and he'll sleep quite comfortably.


answers from Los Angeles on

You've got some great responses from other mom's. I just wanted to add that you need to make sure he's drinking lots of clear fluids throughout the day too. And warm fluids will help to soothe that irritating cough.

I'm pregnant too and my kids have been sick this winter. Both kids have had colds, ear infections, and my son just got over pneumonia. I was exhausted from being up with them at night and from having cranky kids during the day, but I never got sick. So don't worry about that too much. Good Luck and I hope your little guy gets better soon!!

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