We pediatricians feel really helpless when it comes to the common cold. Children can be expected to catch a few a year and there really isn't much we can do to help alleviate their symptoms. Of course ibuprofen or acetaminophen work great for pain or fever. Saline and humidifiers can help keep phlegm loose. Honey can ease an cough. There is no evidence though that OTC cough and cold medicines help children, and there is the risk of significant side effects and unnecessary ER visits for overdosing.
Now, there is a new study in the journal Pediatrics:
It shows that Vick's VapoRub can actually help alleviate cough and congestion and results in more sleep for parents and child. Finally, I have another tool I can offer parents to get them through the inevitable cold's and flu's this winter!
Remember to be careful that your child does not ingest any VapoRub since swallowing large amounts can be dangerous. Also, watch out for rash as it was found to irritate some children's skin.