Comforting a Child Who Has a Respiratory Illness

Comforting a Child Who Has a Respiratory Illness

Topic Overview

Here are some ways you can help comfort your child who has a respiratory illness (such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection or a cold):

  • Ask your doctor if your child can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help relieve fever (if present). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.
  • Prevent dehydration. Encourage your child to drink extra fluids or suck on flavored ice pops, such as Popsicles. Let your baby breastfeed more often or give your baby extra bottles. Liquids may help thin the mucus and also reduce fever (if present). But don't force your child to take fluids, which may cause your child to vomit.
  • Let your child rest. Unless you see signs of dehydration, do not awaken your child during naps or at night to take fluids.
  • Keep your child away from smoke and fumes. This includes cigarette smoke, smoke from wood-burning stoves, and fumes from gas, oil, or kerosene heaters. These irritate the breathing tubes and slow healing.
  • Place extra pillows under the upper half of an older child's body, or raise the head of the bed by putting wood blocks under the bed frame.
  • Use saline nose drops and an aspirating bulb to clear your child's nose. You may need to suction your child's nose if he or she is unable to breathe well enough to eat or sleep.
  • If your child is having trouble breathing or if symptoms are getting worse, contact a doctor.

Credits

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.