More wet and cold weather expected till Jan 2020! Not only are we currently in the year-end inter-monsoon season with more rainfall and lower temperatures, this time of the year is also one of Singapore’s two annual peak flu periods.
According to reports, children have about six to 10 colds a year. Though in most cases the child should recover in about a week or so, any downtime is still worrisome for the family. Moreover, it will be a real bummer if your child catches the flu bug during the December school holidays and your family’s vacation plans get thwarted.
The Yin & Yang of It All
So how can you help your kids keep coughs and colds at bay? We always hear our grandmothers telling us not to eat certain foods because they are “Yeet Hey” or “Liong” (meaning “heaty” and “cooling” respectively in Cantonese), thereby causing sore throats, coughs and colds when taken excessively. The concept is based on the TCM philosophy of yin (cooling) and yang (heaty), as explained in this article.
Cooling foods such as chilled watermelon, ice cream or cold drinks are believed to trigger coughs due to too much yin in the body. On the other hand, sacrificing sleep for late-night exam revisions, eating too much deep-fried food, chocolates or durians can increase heatiness in our bodies. That’s when grandma’s cooling herbal tea concoctions come in handy to reduce the yang.
Then there’s also the advice from our elders about keeping babies’ tummies covered when they sleep so they won’t catch a cold. Surprisingly, we also learnt from this article that the Japanese sometimes strap stomach warmers during winter because they believe that cold stomachs may cause illness. Fact or myth? No harm keeping ourselves nice and toasty anyway, right?
How to Soothe Your Child’s Discomfort
When we see our kids coughing or having the sniffles, we may be reminded of those home remedies that our grandparents or parents used to administer on us during our own childhood days. Why not try one of the following on your children:
Turn off the aircon.
Prolonged hours in a confined air-conditioned space can cause dryness of the throat and turn on the coughing fits. Chilly aircon temperatures may also cause more sneezing and runny noses.
Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids as sipping lots of water can help to clear stuffy noses faster. A glass of hot water or milk also soothes the throat and warms the body.
Steam it up.
In the old days, some mothers would prepare a basin of hot water and ask their children to put their faces near and breathe in the steam. This method actually helps to soothe the mucus membranes lining the nose.
Nothing better than a good sleep to help your child’s body recuperate and recover from the viruses. Lying down to rest also helps to ease the endless flow of nasal discharge and muscular aches and pains.
Don’t forget that trusty bottle of chest rub
As far as our generation might remember, they used to come in little blue-tinted glass jars with green metal lids. Nowadays, though the packaging has been changed to lightweight plastic, the brand’s signature colours lend the well-known product an air of familiarity.
Vicks Vaporub was, and probably remains, a familiar household name in Singapore. Many of us pre-millennials would remember our mothers using the mentholated ointment for our upper respiratory ailments, to help us relieve our blocked nose, cough, muscular aches and pains.
Mum would usually apply and massage Vicks Vaporub on our chest, neck and back before we went to bed to help soothe the symptoms, helping us have a more restful night. That’s because Vicks Vaporub can relieve cough and gives up to eight hours of relief from nasal congestion due to cold.
Vicks Vaporub is suitable for children two years old and above. It should be used as directed and never in or around the nostrils.
Not a Vicks mum yet? Why not join the generations of parents who have trusted the Vicks remedy for cough and cold relief – with over 125 years of history and millions of packs sold.
Finally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is always a good bet for your family’s overall well-being. Simple outdoor play and regular exercise will help everyone stay fit, as well as build up immunity to keep illnesses at bay!
Disclaimer: Individual response varies. If fever is present or symptoms persist, consult your pharmacist or doctor.
For babies 3 months and above, a gentle non-medicinal rub, Vicks Baby Balsam is available for comforting baby care. Together with your loving massage, Vicks Baby Balsam contains fragrances of Lavender and Rosemary and helps to gently moisturize and soothe your little ones.