Staff Picks: Treating Childhood Illnesses: What Works and What Doesn't?

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by: Laurie Mega
There are lots of treatments for common childhood illnesses that have stood the test of time -- some for the wrong reasons. What works and what should you stay away from?

Karo Syrup for Constipation: Not a Thing

Karo syrup is a brand of corn syrup that was once widely recommended for helping babies poop. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, this kind of dark corn syrup doesn't contain the same chemical structure that once allowed it to soften stool.

If your baby is constipated, it's best to consult your doctor. He or she can recommend a course of treatment.

Honey for Coughs: Sort of a Thing

On this one, the Mayo Clinic basically says it's worth a try. Studies have shown that it may help ease nighttime coughs in toddlers.

In my experience, if a kid is coughing because junk is draining from their sinuses, they're going to keep coughing until the junk goes away. It's the mucus irritating their throat that's making them cough.

Ice Baths for Fevers: Not a Thing

This is another no-no. You can give your child a luke-warm sponge bath after they take a fever-reducer, but never give them a cold-water or ice bath. You'll bring their temperature down too quickly.

Treating Fevers

Aspirin for Fevers: DEFINITELY Not a Thing

When your kid gets a fever, there are fever reducers your doctor may recommend, like infant or children's ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol). But aspirin will definitely NOT be one of them.

When your babies, kids and teens are at a higher risk for something called Reye's Syndrome when they have a viral infection. It's rare, but it's extremely dangerous, causing swelling in the brain and liver, according to Mayo.

Giving them aspirin for the accompanying fever further increases that risk.

If your kid has a fever, talk to your doctor about what and how much fever-reducer to give.

Steam or Cool Air for Croup: A Thing

Finally! A thing! Steam or cool air do help ease that barking cough kids get when they have croup, especially at night. 

Both my kids have had croup, and I've used this one myself. 

You can either use a cool-mist humidifier, or run the shower to make the bathroom all steamy. If you do the shower, though, don't leave your kid in for more than 10 minutes.

If it's a cool night, open the window and let the cool air hit their face. 

Remedies to cure and ease ailments aren't the only things that change. So do the foods you think may keep your kid from getting sick. Find out which foods actually help your kid fight off colds and flu and which ones don't.