Boy with brown hair drinks yellow liquid while mom sits beside.

Dehydration in Kids

We’ve all been there; your kiddo or baby is sick, loses their appetite, and isn’t motivated to drink. You may be surprised to hear that, as pediatricians, we don’t worry so much about a child not wanting to eat, even for a few days! Instead, our primary concern is preventing dehydration. Dehydration occurs when fluid intake is insufficient to meet the body’s needs or to keep up with fluid losses. Small children and babies can go a few days without eating much without any issues, but without drinking enough, they can become dehydrated fast! This is especially true if they have vomiting or diarrhea. Read on for signs of dehydration in kids, tips for preventing and treating dehydration at home, and when to bring them to see a healthcare provider. 


Signs your baby or child may be dehydrated:

Early signs of dehydration in kids can be subtle; look for decreased energy, dry lips, dark urine. Other more significant signs include:

  • Decreased urination or wet diapers – less than one void every 4-6 hours
  • Dry lips and mouth
  • Fussy and irritable (even after fever is treated)
  • Reduced or no tears when crying
  • Sunken eyes
  • Flattened soft spot (fontanelle) in an infant
  • Very sleepy or lethargic

When to call your healthcare provider:

  • Fever in an infant under three months of age
  • Any of the above signs not improving
  • No wet diaper or urination in 8 hours
  • Difficulty breathing or very fast breathing
  • Bluish color to the face or lips
  • Very sleepy or lethargic

How do I prevent or treat dehydration at home?

In many cases, encouraging plenty of fluids can help prevent dehydration in kids and babies. If a child has mild hydration, similarly, there are things you can do at home to increase their fluid intake. However, in some situations, it can be too challenging to manage or the dehydration may be significant enough to warrant medical help. Therefore, if your child shows signs of dehydration and is not improving or if they start to show any signs of more significant dehydration, it is best to bring them to a healthcare provider asap. In some cases, the best dehydration treatment involves IV fluids. Remember, dehydration can be life-threatening, so don’t hesitate if you are concerned.


Top tips to prevent dehydration babies and kids:

Think about fluid intake early and try to push those liquids before your little one gets behind. 

  • Breastfeeding and bottle-fed babies should be encouraged to eat on their regular schedule and if taking less each feed, then offer feeds more frequently.
  • Don’t give water to babies under six months.
  • Consider an oral rehydration solution such as ORS powders or Pedialyte, especially if they aren’t eating to replenish electrolytes (safe for any age.)
  • Other fluids to try:
    • Half juice/half water (sugary drinks can make diarrhea worse, but may be helpful when diluted if they are refusing other options)
    • Clear broths
    • Popsicles! These can be a great trick for kids since they taste good, and the novelty makes them extra appealing. Pedialyte pops are a pediatrician fav!
  • If your older baby or child is well enough to eat, you can offer foods with added fluids.
    • You can add breastmilk or broth to pureed foods.
    • Puree pouches contain a fair amount of liquid and are easy to eat, even if appetites are low.
    • You can try offering fruits with a high water content, like watermelon.
  • If your child has frequent vomiting, refrain from offering food until they can keep fluids down. Focus on tiny sips of clear liquids frequently. Be sure to provide drinks with electrolytes.
  • Do not give your child medicine to stop diarrhea unless your pediatrician advises.
  • Do not give Pepto Bismol to children under the age of 12 years old. 
  • In a pinch, use a medicine syringe. 
    • For young children and babies who are flat-out refusing to drink, a last-ditch effort can be to administer small amounts of fluid the same way you would medicine. 
    • Using a medicine syringe to the back of the cheek, administer 15-30ml of breastmilk, Pedialyte or ORS every 10-15 minutes.

It can be worrying and difficult when your baby or child refuses to drink, but knowing what to do and what signs to look for can help you be prepared and get help when needed. Check out the resources below for more information! – Dehydration

Cleveland Clinic – Dehydration and your child – Dehydration

Close up image of crying baby

RSV in babies and kids

RSV has been all over the news lately due to an early rise in cases this season. Never fear, there is no reason to panic, but it is always helpful to be informed! RSV is not new, it’s a common virus that causes cold symptoms in most of us, but we are seeing more cases and more severe symptoms in some people this season. Read on for more info about RSV in kids and babies, why it is on the rise, and what steps you can take to protect your family. 


What is RSV?

RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. In most people, it is a virus that causes cold symptoms such as runny nose, cough, and sometimes fever. However, in certain groups, like babies and young kids, it can cause more severe symptoms. Most children have already been infected with RSV by the time they are preschool age. 

Which children are at increased risk for more severe RSV?

In specific populations, especially young infants, RSV can cause inflammation in the lower lungs and small airways, leading to Bronchiolitis or Pneumonia. Children at higher risk from RSV include:

  • Babies under age two, but especially infants under three months
  • Some premature infants that are low birth weight or have chronic lung disease 
  • Children with severe asthma or other chronic lung problems
  • Babies or children with certain heart defects
  • Weakened immune systems due to a condition or medications

What are the Symptoms of RSV in babies and kids?

Symptoms of RSV in the Upper respiratory tract include:

  • Fever (temperature > 100.4)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fussiness 

Symptoms of Bronchiolitis or RSV in the lower respiratory tract:

  • Cold symptoms, in addition to signs of respiratory distress:
    • Wheezing
    • Rhythmic grunting with breathing
    • Fast breathing
    • Head bobbing with breaths
    • Using extra muscles to breathe, which looks like belly breathing or pulling in under the ribs and above the sternum.
    • Flaring of the nostrils

How is RSV diagnosed?

Healthcare providers diagnose RSV by asking about your child’s symptoms and performing a physical exam. There is also a nose swab test for RSV. If your child has symptoms of lung congestion or is showing signs of bronchiolitis, they may also check an oxygen level and possibly order a chest X-ray. Most of the time, since RSV is usually mild and resolves on its own, further testing isn’t necessary. However, if your child is at risk for more severe symptoms or lives with someone at higher risk, it may be worth asking your doctor about a test for RSV. 

How to treat RSV?

Just like a common cold, there is no cure for RSV. However, things that can help your child feel better include what would help with any bad cold:

  • Nasal saline and suction
  • Medicine for pain or fever, like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin, only in babies over six months)
  • Honey for cough if your child is over age one year.
  • Humidifier
  • A menthol-based chest rub may be helpful if your child is over the age of two years.
  • Plenty of fluids/frequent small feedings in infants


When should you call your doctor?

Call your doctor right away if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • Signs of bronchiolitis
  • Difficulty breathing or pauses in breathing
  • Bluish color around the mouth
  • Signs of significant dehydration – less than one wet diaper every eight hours, not making tears, dry mouth and lips
  • Persistent fever or symptoms not improving after seven days

Why does RSV seem so much worse this season?

RSV is not a new scary virus; it is around yearly, typically in fall to early spring. However, one reason there seems to be such a boom in cases is that the safety precautions we practiced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic also protected us from spreading RSV and other respiratory viruses. As a result, cases of RSV and other viruses significantly decreased over the last couple of years. Since most regions began lifting requirements for masking and distancing last year, we are seeing RSV and other respiratory viruses re-emerge in full force! In addition, many children in daycare or school who typically would have already been infected are now being exposed for the first time, which can mean their symptoms are more severe. 

How can you prevent RSV?

RSV spreads in the same way a cold does, through droplets from someone who is infected with the virus. Steps to take to help protect your family from RSV include:

  • Good hand hygiene – Teach your family to wash hands well and frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Limit exposures – If you have a young infant, avoid crowded places during the cold and flu season and keep them away from anyone with cold symptoms. Keep kids home when sick and show them how to cough and sneeze into their elbows. 
  • Immunizations – Although there is not currently a vaccine against RSV, you can help keep your child healthy by ensuring they are up to date with their other immunizations, including a yearly flu shot. In addition, if you have a newborn or young infant at home, adults who spend time in close proximity should be vaccinated against the flu and make sure their Tdap vaccine, which protects against whooping cough, is up to date.
  • Protect your child from secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Breastmilk has also been shown to decrease the frequency of particular infections by providing antibodies. 
  • There is a monoclonal antibody treatment for high-risk babies, such as very premature infants or those with chronic lung disease. 
  • In addition, trials are underway for an RSV vaccine with some promising preliminary results.

As always, if you have concerns about your child’s specific risks or symptoms, talk with your pediatrician. We wish you a happy and healthy start to the holiday season! Remember, wash your hands, stay home when sick, and get your flu shot!


More resources:

CDC – RSV in infants and young children – RSV

Child stands with mouth open wide covering his eyes.

Sore throat in Kids. Is it Strep?

Sore throats are a common symptom in kids and can be a real pain. However, did you know not every sore throat is strep, and not every sore throat needs antibiotics? Fortunately, most sore throats will go away on their own. However, if your child has a sore throat, there are some things you can do in the meantime to help your little one feel better. Read on for more info about what strep throat is, how it is diagnosed and how to treat strep and other causes of sore throat!

What is a sore throat?

A sore throat refers to pain and inflammation of the throat (pharyngitis) or tonsils (tonsillitis.) Most of the time, sore throats in kids are caused by common viruses. 

What is strep throat, and is it contagious?

Strep throat pharyngitis or tonsillitis is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus. Strep throat is not common in kids under the age of two years. Strep throat is contagious and easily transmitted from bacteria present in the droplets of an infected person, so it is best to keep your child with strep away from others. As with any infection, practice good hand washing and clean shared surfaces.

What are the symptoms of strep throat?

The main symptoms of trep throat are due to inflammation in and around the tonsils. The main symptom is a sore throat, but this may not be the primary complaint in young kids. Other common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • Swollen lymph nodes (‘glands)
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

What symptoms do not usually occur with strep throat?

Strep bacteria doesn’t usually cause other upper respiratory symptoms. Therefore if your child has the following symptoms, strep throat is less likely:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Ear ache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

How is strep throat diagnosed?

When a healthcare provider is evaluating your child for a sore throat, they will likely do the following things to determine the cause:

  • Physical exam
  • Vital signs, including temperature
  • Rapid strep test
  • Throat culture

How does a rapid strep test work?

  • With a rapid strep test, a healthcare provider swabs the back of the throat with a long cotton swab and the test gives a positive or negative result in 5 minutes or less.
  • If the test is positive, it is very reliable, and your child will likely receive antibiotics to treat strep throat. The only caveat is that some people are “carriers” of strep, meaning they have some streptococcal bacteria in their throat all the time, and it is not causing their current symptoms. Therefore, if your child continually tests positive for strep, it is worth discussing with your healthcare provider whether they could be a carrier, which may alter the treatment plan.
  • When a rapid test is negative, this either means they don’t have strep and the pain is due to a virus or that not enough bacteria were picked up by the rapid test. Often the next step would be a throat culture.

What is a throat culture?

A throat culture involves sending a swab sample from the back of the throat to the lab. In the lab, they watch the culture to see if bacteria grow. They check for growth at 24- 48 hours and can determine whether or not it is strep throat. 

How is strep throat treated?

  • Antibiotics
    • The mainstay of treatment for strep throat is an antibiotic to treat the bacteria.
    • In most cases, the infection would likely resolve eventually without antibiotics. However, if untreated, there is an increased risk for prolonged illness or other complications from strep throat, such as rheumatic fever.
    • Remember, antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, so if your child’s strep test is negative, antibiotics will not help. 
  • Pain relievers
    • Treating the inflammation and discomfort of a sore throat can help your child feel better quickly. 
    • Acetaminophen(Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin) are over-the-counter pain relievers that can help. 
  • Fluids
    • Hydration is essential during any infection. 
    • Your child may need extra encouragement to drink if swallowing is painful. One benefit of ensuring their pain is well controlled is that they will be better able to stay hydrated. 
    • Warm tea, broth, ice-cold liquids, or even popsicles are sometimes tolerated better than room-temperature fluids.
  • Other helpful tricks
    • Lozenges for older children may help keep the throat moist and provide some relief.
    • Saltwater gargles for older children who can gargle and spit may also be helpful for temporary relief.

How can I treat other sore throats that are caused by a virus? 

  • All of the above, except for the antibiotics! 
  • Remember, antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria. They do not affect viruses. 

What are other causes of a sore throat?

Other viral infections are the most common causes of sore throat. Less commonly, other types of bacterial infections can lead to sore throat as well.

  • Common cold viruses can often cause pharyngitis.
  • Coxsackie virus causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease and can lead to sores in the mouth and throat that cause pain.
  • Infectious Mononucleosis, also called “mono,” can cause various symptoms, including severe pharyngitis and tonsillitis.
  • Croup is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the upper airway leading to a barky cough, sore throat, fever, and congestion.
  • Abscesses or severe swelling are a less common result of strep throat or other bacterial throat infections that can lead to swelling in the back of the throat. These can be dangerous due to the potential to block the airway. 
    • If your child has a severe sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, or noisy breathing, they should be urgently evaluated by a healthcare provider. 

My child gets strep throat a lot. Do they need their tonsils out?

Tonsillectomy, or the removal of tonsils, was historically common practice for children with multiple episodes of strep throat. However, it is only recommended now in extreme cases because the procedure’s risks often outweigh the benefits. Talk with your doctor if you are concerned your child may need a tonsillectomy. 


More resources:

CDC – strep throat – Strep throat or Sore throat

How Can I Boost My Child’s Immune System?

“Immune Boost” is a popular buzzword these days, especially going into the third year of a global pandemic! Parents are eager to find ways to support their child’s immune system and help their families stay healthy! However, much of the popular advice circulating on the internet isn’t accurate or scientific. The good news is in addition to a healthy lifestyle; there is research to show certain supplements can help strengthen the immune system! Here we will talk about what you can do at home to help your family stay healthy!

Healthy lifestyle matters! The common wisdom that good nutrition, sleep, daily exercise, and low stress can help you stay healthy is true!


CDC: 6 tips to Enhance Immunity

The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system

Impact of Lifestyle on Health

We also recommend appropriate vaccines if your child is eligible since these prime immunity against certain infections. As wonderful as nourishing our children’s bodies and supporting their immune systems are, these things do not provide targeted protection against specific illnesses. Many vaccine-preventable diseases can cause severe illness and be life-threatening. Vaccines offer safe and effective protection. If you have concerns or questions, please discuss them with your health care provider. Also, don’t forget the importance of handwashing, especially during cold and flu season!

Vaccine Safety

Did you know not all immune support is the same? Studies show certain supplements help prevent common infections like colds and diarrheal illness and others help decrease the duration or severity of illnesses when they occur! Read on for more info and a breakdown of the supplements shown to help prevent certain infections and those that can help you recover faster!

Immune boosting supplements to help prevent colds and diarrheal illnesses


Vitamin D    

What is it?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium absorption. It also plays an important role in immune health, muscle function, and brain cell activity.

How does it boost the immune system?

Studies show regularly taking a Vitamin D supplement can reduce the number of colds you get, especially if you have low vitamin D levels!

How to get it: 

  • Food: It is hard to get enough Vitamin D from foods alone, but you can get it from fortified milk, cereal, and fatty fish. 
  • Sun: Your body can also make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight. However, it is difficult to make enough from this method alone as there are risks from unprotected sun exposure like sunburns and skin cancer. Therefore a supplement is usually your best bet.
  • Supplements: Studies show good results taking doses of vitamin D ranging from 400 IU/day to 2000 IU/day. The specific amount depends on age and vitamin D level, so discuss with your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

Safety: Vitamin D supplementation is very safe for most people! Taking too much Vitamin D, however, can be a bad idea. It can lead to hypercalcemia, a condition in which too much calcium builds up in the blood, potentially forming deposits in the arteries or soft tissues. It may also predispose to painful kidney stones. Don’t take more than the recommended daily allowance unless advised by a physician (see table below.)


Table of Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D

Table of Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D


What is it?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are the same or similar to the organisms that live in our bodies. 

How does it boost the immune system?

Research shows Probiotics can reduce the number of colds, the duration of colds, the number of school absences, and antibiotic use! Many different probiotic products are available, and specific strains can provide different health benefits. Currently, there is the most evidence for Lactobacillus Rhamsnosus to prevent colds and diarrheal illnesses. 

How to get it: 

  • Food: Probiotics are present in fermented foods like yogurt and can provide many benefits for health and a happy gut. 
  • Supplements: In order to get specific strains for particular health benefits, the best source is a supplement. A general recommendation is to choose probiotic products with at least 1 billion colony-forming units (cfus.) To help prevent colds and diarrheal illnesses, look specifically for products containing Lactobacillus Rhamsnosus. 

Safety: Side effects are minor and include mild GI symptoms. Probiotics are safe for most people, but consult your physician if you or your child has a severe or chronic medical condition that affects the immune system.



What is it?

Echinacea is a flower and popular herbal remedy.

How does it boost the immune system?

Studies show echinacea may help prevent colds and reduce complications of colds such as pneumonia and ear infections.

How to get it: 

  • Supplements: You can get echinacea from many different types of supplements. Studies have looked at various doses and formulations of echinacea, making it hard to compare results. 

Safety: Echinacea is safe for most people, but there is a slight risk of an allergic reaction or rash. 


Immune boosting supplements to help recover faster



What is it?

Zinc is a mineral and an essential nutrient, meaning the body can’t store it and must get it in our diet or from supplements. It plays a role in many physiological processes, including immune function.

How does it boost the immune system?

Research shows that taking Zinc may lower the number of colds and pneumonia. In addition, when taken within 24 hours of the start of symptoms, it also decreases the duration and severity of the common cold!

How to get it: 

  • Food: Foods like meat, shellfish, and legumes contain Zinc. 
  • Supplements: Some studies show the best results with 20mg a day supplement for immune benefits. 

Safety: Zinc is safe for most people! However, side effects can include mild GI upset and bad taste. In addition, we recommend avoiding intranasal forms like nasal sprays or swabs because they have caused permanent loss of smell in some people. 




What is it? 

Elderberry is a fruit from the Elderberry Tree.

How does it boost the immune system?

Studies have shown promising evidence that Elderberry can shorten the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms. 

How to get it: 

  • Directly: You could consume Elderberries directly with likely the same benefits. However, certain parts of the plant can be toxic and cause stomach upset, so proper preparation is important for safety.
  • Supplements: Supplements are most likely the most efficient and safest way to get immune benefits. Many elderberry products are now available. Studies have included a range of doses, but most have shown the best results with 600 – 1000mg a day.

Safety: Elderberry is safe for most people! No harmful effects have been reported from taking Elderberry supplements. However, as mentioned, certain parts of the plant can be toxic. If it is prepared improperly or if too much is consumed, it can cause GI symptoms. 


Vitamin C: 

What is it?

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin meaning the body can’t store it, so you must get it from your diet or supplements. It is an antioxidant and plays a vital role in immune health, healing, and building blood vessels, cartilage, and bone. 

How does it boost the immune system?

Studies show Vitamin C can decrease the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

How to get it: 

  • Foods: Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach.
  • Supplements: It is possible to get adequate Vitamin C from a diverse, healthy diet. However, you may be able to get extra immune benefits if you supplement your intake. Studies have shown doses of 1-2g a day have the best results.

Safety: Vitamin C is considered safe for most people; however, high doses can cause digestive distress like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.



At ZenOsa we are committed to using science to create natural remedies that actually work! For example, our natural cough syrups contain Elderberry, Zinc, and Vitamin C, all shown to help you recover faster from colds and the flu! We included vitamin D as well since we are more likely to be low in the winter months, and a little boost may help prevent recurrent infections. We wanted to include all of the most beneficial ingredients in one product, so you don’t have to give your child multiple things! Check them out here!

And we have more good news; in the pipeline at ZenOsa are our new daily immune boost supplements for kids and babies to help them stay healthy! They include science-backed ingredients that help prevent common illnesses like colds and stomach bugs. These include probiotics (Lactobacillus Rhamsnosus,) Zinc, Echinacea, and Vitamin D. We hope to launch this fall, so make sure you’re on our email list and stay tuned!


Mom holding spoonfull of medicine for kid seated nearby.

5 tips on how to give medicines to kids

Giving medicine to kids and babies can feel impossible! But, with our 5 simple tips, giving medications to even the wiggliest little ones is doable.


1. Keep it positive!
Try to avoid creating a negative association.
  • If we need to give medicines, our little one is already not feeling well. If we abruptly hold them down and forcefully squirt medicine in the back of their throats when they are already upset, they are unlikely to feel like cooperating. They also won’t be very excited about getting treatment the next time.
  • Try to give the medicine when you and your child are calm. Some protesting may be unavoidable, but do what you can to make them comfortable before you start. Try to tell them in a calming voice what you are doing beforehand. For tiny babies, swaddle them and get them nice and cozy before giving the medication.


2. Be prepared.

Get everything ready before you start.
  • You don’t want to be scrambling to open a medicine bottle while holding a squirmy baby.
  • What do you need?
    • Double-check your dose, draw up the right amount of medicine beforehand and set it in a spot you can easily reach.
  • Call in backup if you need it.
  • Even tiny babies can be tough to keep still, and having an extra set of hands to help with holding the baby or handling the medication can make things go a lot smoother.


3. Master your technique.

Yes, there is a technique!
  • What not to do:
    • Squirting the medicine straight in at once usually ends up with them spitting it out or gagging on it.
  • What to do:
    • Slide the dropper or oral syringe inside the mouth, along the inside of one cheek. Squirt a small amount of medicine to the back of the cheek and listen for a swallow. Repeat until you give the whole volume.
    • You can even let them suck on the oral syringe if they like the taste.


4. A spoonful of honey helps the medicine go down!

Offer something yummy and comforting after the medication, like a breastfeed or bottle to soothe and help wash it down.
  • For toddlers, you can offer something tasty like honey (only if your child is over age 1,) diluted juice, Pedialyte, or even a popsicle.
  • As a bonus, offering your child extra fluids will help them stay hydrated, which is always important when they’re sick!


5. What if they spit it out?

Sometimes even with the best technique, your little one will spit that medicine right out.
  • If it is relatively immediate (less than 30 minutes):
    • If it is close to the total amount, repeat the steps above and give another dose.


  • If it has been more than 30 minutes and they vomit:
    • They have likely absorbed some of the medicine, so it is best to wait until it is time to give another dose.
    • In the case of fever/pain remedies, you may be able to provide a different medication instead.
    • Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen work differently and are safe together, so if your child has vomited after administering one and still has symptoms, you can give the other.


child blowing her nose with winter clothes

Cold and Flu Home Remedies for Kid

One of the most frequent questions we get from parents in our pediatrics office is “what are the best cold and flu home remedies?” Although it comes around every year, cold and flu season can still bring stress and sleepless nights. If your child is in daycare or school, it can feel like the colds are nonstop from fall through spring. Even though we can’t eliminate those nasty viruses, we can give you the inside scoop on our favorite cold and flu season home remedies. Read on to learn what we stock our medicine cabinets with as pediatrician moms!

Stuffy Noses

Nasal saline spray or drops– help loosen up nasal congestion and soothe dry, irritated nasal passages.

  • We recommend 1 spray in each nostril or 1-2 drops in each nostril.


Snot sucker (nasal aspirator) – just like it sounds, these are devices designed to help suck the mucous out of your baby or child’s nose since they can’t yet blow their noses effectively.

  • There are many different types, but we recommend one that comes apart entirely so you can clean it well. The bulb suctions you get in the hospital for your newborn are ok for a few uses but are difficult to clean thoroughly, so we recommend replacing them pretty quickly.
  • Nasal suction works best after nasal saline drops or spray to loosen the congestion.


Humidifier – adding moisture to the air can help loosen nasal congestion and soothe dry coughs.

  • There are many great options out there! Be sure to use them as directed and clean regularly to avoid mold and germs.


Gentle face wipes or tissues with aloe – runny noses can be constant, and continuous wiping can irritate little noses.

  • We recommend soft tissues with aloe or unscented wet wipes that contain mostly water.


Fevers and discomfort


Fever and pain medicines – Fevers are one of the body’s ways of fighting off infection. They don’t always need treatment, but if they are making your child feel poorly or not eating or drinking well, treating the fever can help them feel better. If they have pain from body aches or a sore throat these medicines can provide some relief.

  • Acetaminophen is the only safe option for pain and fever medication for babies under six months.
  • Ibuprofen is a pain reliever and fever medication that decreases inflammation and is safe to give after six months of age.
  • For more information about fevers, check out our article, Fever FAQ.


Coughs and Scratchy Throats

Natural cough syrups – conventional cough medicines typically contain dextromethorphan, which is not safe in children under six. They are also not as effective as some natural remedies such as honey. I bet you can guess our go-to’s for natural cough medicine for our kids!

  • ZenOsa’s Organic Children’s Cough Syrup – has delicious organic honey, which soothes the throat and decreases cough. Honey is only safe for children over one year.
  • ZenOsa’s Organic Baby Cough Syrup – is safe for babies less than one year of age and contains monk fruit instead of honey.
  • Both of our formulations contain powerful immune-boosting vitamins to help your child recover faster!


Menthol Chest Rub – for children over age two apply a mentholated chest rub over their chest and neck to help relieve symptoms of cough. If your child has sensitive skin test a small patch of skin before applying liberally.


Liquids – Helping your child drink plenty of fluids helps to avoid dehydration and can thin out mucous that causes stuffy noses and coughs.

  • Water
  • Pedialyte
  • Diluted juice (half juice/half water)
  • Popsicles



Immune supporting vitamins – there is evidence that certain supplements can help cold symptoms resolve faster!

  • ZenOsa’s cough syrup formulations contain the recommended immune-boosting ingredients, so you don’t have to give multiple medications; parenting win!
  • We recommend elderberry, zinc, vitamin c, and vitamin d to help your little one recover sooner!



We hope these effective home remedies help you get through cold and flu season with a little less worry. As always, if you have questions or concerns about your child’s health, be sure to discuss them with your pediatrician! Best of luck this cold and flu season!


Mom and son touching noses and smiling.

Nosebleeds in kids: Why they happen and what to do about them

Nosebleeds (epistaxis) in kids can be messy and sometimes downright scary! But have no fear; they are common in childhood and usually nothing to be alarmed about. Armed with some knowledge about why nosebleeds happen and what to do about them, you can feel ready to handle the next gory episode. As with any new symptom, it is best to discuss with your doctor if you have any specific questions or concerns. 


Why do Nosebleeds happen?

What are they?

  • Nosebleeds are bleeding from the soft tissues (mucous membranes) inside the nose, usually from a broken blood vessel.
  • Most nosebleeds come from the same area, near the front part of the nose, where there is a collection of tiny blood vessels called the Kiesselbach plexus.


What causes them?

Nosebleeds are common in childhood and are more common in dry climates and winter.

  • Dry air causing skin irritation
  • Nose picking
  • Colds and allergies
  • Injury to the nose
  • A foreign body in the nose


What do I do if my child gets nosebleeds?

What do while my child has a nosebleed?

  • Stay calm and reassure your child. Avoid commenting on how much blood there is! 
  • Advise your child to breathe slowly through their mouth.
  • Have your child sit and lean forward slightly. They should not lie down or tilt their head back as this can cause them to swallow blood, yuck.
  • Apply firm pressure to the nostrils at the soft area just below the bony bridge of the nose. Hold for at least 5 minutes and resist the urge to peek and see if bleeding has stopped. Set a timer if you need to!
  • You may also choose to apply a cold compress.
  • If bleeding does not stop, repeat the above steps. If bleeding continues, bring your child to a medical provider. In some cases, they may decide to do a procedure called cauterization, where heat is used to help stop the bleeding from a broken blood vessel. 


How do I prevent nosebleeds?

  • A humidifier placed in your child’s room can help with dry air.
  • Nasal saline sprays and drops can also help avoid dry skin in the nose moist and protected.
  • If you think your child might have congestion due to allergies – talk with your Pediatrician about possible treatment options.


When should I talk to my Pediatrician about nosebleeds?

  • If your child has recurrent nosebleeds.
  • If a nosebleed does not stop or recurrent nosebleeds repeatedly bleed for more than 5 minutes.
  • If your child has other symptoms such as easy bleeding from cuts and scrapes, bleeding from their gums, blood in their stool, or easy bruising.
  • If there is a large amount of blood.
  • If your child feels light-headed, fatigued, or short of breath.
  • If the bleeding results from an injury and your child has continued pain.
  • If you think there may be a foreign body in their nose that you cannot remove.


For more information: AAP – nosebleeds

Fever in Kids

When kids have a fever, it can cause a lot of worry and uncertainty for parents. We get it! This is understandable since fevers can make your child feel awful and in rare cases can be a sign of something serious. When fevers first start it is hard to know whether it is something serious or no big deal! The good news is most fevers are nothing to worry about and armed with a little knowledge and know-how, you and your kiddo will be feeling better in no time!



What is a fever?

Temperatures fluctuate throughout the day and vary from person to person. If your child feels warm and is flushed, they may have a fever, but this is not an accurate way to assess their temperature as it can be affected by things like their environment, being overdressed, activity level, etc. The most accurate way to assess fever is to use a thermometer.


The exact cutoff for what we call a fever in medicine depends on how you measure:
  • measured orally (in the mouth): 100°F (37.8°C)
  • measured rectally (in the bottom): 100.4°F (38°C)
  • measured in an axillary position (under the arm): 99°F (37.2°C)


What causes a fever?

For as much worry as they cause, fevers are not a problem in and of themselves and are really just a clue that there is an infection or inflammation going on in the body. Believe it or not, fevers are usually a good thing!
  • Fevers are a normal physiologic response to illness and the body’s way of resetting it’s internal thermostat to try to fight off infection.


Will fever harm my child?

  • In the far majority of cases, no.
  • Even high fevers do not usually cause brain damage or other complications.
  • Most of the time we only recommend treating fevers when they make your child feel crummy or to avoid dehydration.

How high is too high of a fever?

Did you know there is not typically a set temperature above which we need to worry?
  • A fever would have to be 108 or higher to cause brain damage. Temperatures this high are very rare and often involve external factors such as a very hot environment.
  • However, sustained fever above 102 can cause dehydration and in some cases a high fever > 104 can be a sign of more serious illness and is a reason to consult a physician.


The best way to evaluate how your child is doing is to look at their behavior and appearance. Things to consider:
  • Are they eating and drinking well (emphasis on drinking and hydration, it is ok for appetite to be decreased for a few days.)
  • Do they still have periods during the day when they are playful and happy?
  • Do they look ok when their fever comes down or are they still listless or sleepy?
  • Aside from nap or bedtimes are they relatively alert and interacting with you?

How do I treat a fever?

  • In babies 3-6 months Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is recommended.
  • After 6 months Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) can also be used.
  • Do not give your child Aspirin which has been associated with a disorder called Reye syndrome that can occur in the setting of a virus with use of Aspirin.
  • In addition to medications, simple measures such as encouraging hydration, offering cool liquids or popsicles, avoiding overbundeling, keeping the home or bedroom cool, and applying a cool washcloth on the forehead can also help. It is not recommended to put the child in a cold bath as it doesn’t provide any additional benefit and can be very uncomfortable. Shivering can even raise the body temperature. A lukewarm bath can be helpful though.
  • If your child is under 3 months with fever they should be evaluated by a physician.

When should I call my Pediatrician?

Most fevers can be safely treated at home, but as always if you are worried or have questions, give your pediatrician’s office a call! That is what we are here for. Otherwise, below are some signs that it is time to check in with your child’s doc.


  • If your child is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4 or more
  • If your child has an immune system problem or is on medications that weaken their immune system
  • If your child has been in a very hot environment such as a hot car
  • If your child looks very ill, is extremely sleepy or fussy and unconsolable
  • If your child has signs of dehydration; ie. lethargy, sunken eyes, no urine in > 8 hours, not making tears
  • If your child has difficulty breathing that doesn’t improve with clearing nasal congestion
  • If your child has severe pain; head, neck,  throat, ear or abdominal pain
  • If your child has a seizure
  • If your child has had a fever for more than 3 days or persistently higher than 102
  • If your child doesn’t seem to be feeling or looking better when fever comes down
  • If your child has severe vomiting or diarrhea


Helpful Resources:

Fever –


Fever without Fear –