Cold emergency: how to protect children from sore throats

Just when we hoped to have left the winter behind a new Siberian weather disturbance has frozen every little hope of bringing the children to play in the park without having to scream every 2 minutes “cover yourself or you will get a sore throat!” or “do not take your clothes off, you are sweaty and will get ill!”.

Strange as it may seem, it is not the cold that actually causes the much feared sore throat, but rather the temperature changes that alter the mucous membrane and promote the entry and proliferation of viruses and bacteria.
The result of these uncertain periods of time are the famous “season sicknesses” (hoarseness and pharyngitis), with symptoms ranging from lowering of the voice tone to difficulty swallowing, fever and irritation between nose and throat (rhinopharyngitis).

The perfect natural remedies for children

Since 70% of the cases are viral infections and only 30% are bacterial, there is often no real need to resort to medicinal products and antibiotics. When it comes to a simple sore throat, without other more serious associated symptoms, it may be useful to resort to natural remedies that, in most cases, are effective:

  • Honey: its soothing properties can help fight infections and bacteria, clear the airways and alleviate the discomfort caused by sore throats. The fluid texture acts directly on the mucosa and lubricates it to help eliminate mucus quickly. In other words, grandmother’s good old remedy of hot milk and honey before going to bed is always valid.
  • Propolis: in any format (candy, drops, syrup, spray) Propolis is a natural product that can be useful to combat inflammation of the throat. Another lesser-known, but actually equally valid, use is as a disinfectant and healing agent in the case of small canker sores and mild irritation of the oral cavity.
  • Myrrh extract: a little less known than the first two, but equally useful, is found mainly in the form of spray throat. The effectiveness of myrrh extract-containing throat products lies in the fact that they form a local protective barrier on the mucous membranes, reducing contact with external aggressive agents and thus the risk of infection. Not to be underestimated, myrrh is also an effective antioxidant and improves the immune defence mechanisms.

It is therefore better to avoid crowding paediatricians’ studies when a few home-made precautions would be enough to cure a simple sore throat. It is advisable to consult your doctor if there is no improvement after 3-4 days, or in case of high fever, blocked airways and prolonged difficulty in swallowing.

Can sore throats be avoided, or, even better, prevented?

It seems paradoxical, but in reality it is important not to raise the temperature of the heating above 19°-20° to avoid that the passage to the outside is too abrupt – better to wear vests and heavy jumpers! Then get used to the children going out (adequately covered) even if it is cold: in these cases the dry and excessive heat of the closed environments can worsen the symptoms.
Finally, prevent seasonal illnesses with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, to increase the intake of vitamin C. When it is not enough – we know, it is often a challenge to get children to eat fruit and vegetables – evaluate together with the paediatrician the use of a vitamin supplement.