Saline wash: Help clear nasal passages for easier breathing with a saline spray. A saline wash “can cause sneezing, and that sneezing can help eliminate some of the mucus in the upper nasal passages,” says Matthew Baral, a naturopathic physician and chair of the Department of Pediatric Medicine at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.
Once the clogging mucus has been loosened, a thorough nose blowing is necessary to get it all out. Teach a reluctant nose blower by first having him blow through his mouth, just like he’d blow out candles on a birthday cake, says Baral. Then encourage him to blow through his teeth with his jaw closed. Next, have him blow with his mouth closed, so the air comes out of his nose.
Wet sock treatment: If a wet blanket can bring a party to a halt, a wet sock could do the same for a cold. “It works really well with kids with a lot of intense congestion in the head and nose,” says Baral, by bringing blood flow to the feet and decreasing some of the pressure in the head. Run a pair of cotton socks under cold water and squeeze them out. At bedtime, put them on your child, followed by a pair of dry wool socks. By morning, the socks should be warm, head congestion eased, and the fever will often be broken. “All of my patients tell me it’s a really powerful treatment,” says Baral. Children tend to like it, too. “It seems to have quite a sedating action and helps them sleep a little bit better,” Baral says.