Kids health

Sick day remedies: do they work?

Read this before you run to the store to stock up on supplies for your sick kid. Our medical adviser Dina Kulik, paediatrician, emergency room doc and mom of three, weighs in on the must-haves and the stuff you can skip.

Using nasal spray on a baby

Photo: iStockphoto

Throat lozenges: Yes
Good for soothing sore throats in kids seven or older (they’re a choking risk for younger ones).

Kids’ saline nasal spray: Yes
It’s not fun, but it helps. Spray and then use a snot sucker.

Probiotics: Maybe
Probiotics may help cut short stomach flu-related diarrhea.

Electrolyte drink: No
Diluted apple juice actually does a better job of keeping sick kids hydrated than paediatric electrolyte solutions.

Chest rub: Yes
It really does help to ease congestion and decrease coughing to let them get to sleep.

Brat diet (post-stomach flu diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast): No
Zero evidence it works—kids can eat whatever they want. Offer small amounts of food and drink often, and avoid anything that seems to worsen symptoms.

A version of this article appeared in our October 2016 issue with the headline, “Do they work?” p. 73. 

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Read more:
How to know when your kid is too sick for school
Immune system boosters: 5 foods you need to eat 
6 common medication mistakes parents make with kids

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