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!