Tuesday, 27 February 2018

How To Treat Winter Coughs: Top Tips From The Experts

Ever since the Christmas holidays, myself and the boys have been struck down by one illness after another - there have been ear infections, sinus infections, chesty coughs, miserable colds - to put it bluntly, it's been a pretty grim time! I feel as though we are finally turning a corner and starting to all feel a little brighter and so I'm determined to do whatever I can to keep us all that way. I've spent many a night over the past few weeks chatting to friends about this and doing some frantic online research too, and I thought that I'd share some of the top tips I've come across with you today.


1) Keep It Clean! 

It probably sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but experts agree that the single most effective way to keep viruses and colds at bay is to simply wash our hands! The trick is to make sure we're washing them often and well - a once a day 15 second job isn't going to do the trick and we all know how difficult it can be to get little ones to do a good job of it.

The most important times to wash our hands are after going to the bathroom and before eating, in our house we also make sure we wash our hands when we come home from school or places like soft play centres too just to be on the safe side. The most important thing to remember when washing your hands is that you need to wash with soap for at least 30 seconds in order to kill germs and make sure you clean under your fingernails too. To encourage the boys to do this, we've started singing "Happy Birthday" twice when we wash - this works out to be roughly 30 seconds and it makes it a bit more fun for the boys! They think its crazy so it makes them giggle, which can't be a bad thing!

2) Watch What You Eat 

Ensuring that you're getting plenty of Vitamin C in your diet can really help to give your immune system a boost - foods such as oranges, lemons, kiwi and broccoli are ideal for this. Mushrooms have also been clinically proven to be beneficial in fighting off common colds too, particularly the shitake variety. I have a great mushroom casserole that my boys which I'll be sharing on my blog next week if you're interested!

3) Try A Tailored Treatment 

Dr Sarah Jarvis from BBC's The One Show says: "Being proactive and treating your cough with a tailored treatment is the best thing you can do. Self-pity won’t do you any favours! The right cough mixture can work to relieve your symptoms while your immune system fights off the infection. Cough syrup won’t cure a viral infection (nor will anything else, including antibiotics) but it can offer relief.” “There is no such thing as a ‘one cough medicine treats all’ there are a range of different products on the market, so make sure you’re picking the right products for your individual needs.

A dry cough can be treated with a demulcent, which can help by coating the throat. A chesty cough can be relieved with an expectorant cough mixture to help loosen the phlegm and make it easier to cough up from the airways.” Covonia do a fantastic range of treatments for different coughs - the Covonia Dry & Tickly Cough Linctus (RRP £4.89) contains Glycerol which is great for providing soothing relief for sore throats and irritation caused by your cough - this is suitable for children aged 1 year and over, while the Covonia Chesty Cough Mixture Mentholated (RRP £4.75) contains two expectorants as well as a menthol which works as a decongestant and can be used for children from 5 years and above.


Covonia also offer a Hot Dose Cough & Cold Syrup which, when diluted with 15ml of hot water, creates a 30ml “shot” of powerful flavoured remedy to be sipped at bed-time. This gives a high impact taste and welcome night time relief from dry coughs and congestion. ( Suitable from 12 yrs +, Always read the label before using any products)

4) Don't Be Too Touchy! 

You only have to take a quick stroll around the supermarket to notice that so many people are sneezing and coughing a lot these days, usually into their hands...which they then use to touch shopping trolleys, card machines, pens etc...which you then end up touching after them. Gross! For this reason, I make sure I carry a hand sanitizer in my bag to use on myself and the boys whenever we've touched anything in communal areas like this - I also make sure I always have my own pen with me so I never need to use the shared ones at the bank or Drs office!

5) Get A Good Breakfast! 

I really find a good warming, hearty breakfast can make all the difference to the boys energy levels and general lust for life throughout the day. Luckily for me, they absolutely LOVE a good bowl of porridge which is ideal for releasing slow-burning calories throughout the morning. And if they're being fussy about it, I find that playing a game of "You're Goldilocks...lets try the bears porridge!" works a treat to encourage them. How do you keep yourself and your little ones healthy during the winter months? I'd love to hear your tips!

*With thanks to Covonia for partnering with us on this post. Please note, Dr Sarah Jarvis does not endorse any brands.



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