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I want to start this article off with letting all the parents out there know YOU ARE doing a great job. Don’t get discouraged with anything you read. Don’t hesitate to get help when needed. You are fantastic, beautiful and doing great!
Cold and Flu Season is Among Us.
It is cold and flu season, so I wanted to talk about the power of the steam shower. There are so many benefits to a steamy shower for your child. These benefits include loosening congestion, opens your lungs, and helps soothe a cough. Some other benefits, other than it’s great for your pores, include relief of asthma symptoms, and croup. According to an article in Steam Showers Inc., which you can read about here, cold weather can lower your immune system. Your immune system allows you to fight off infections and viruses associated with the common cold and influenza. This is why I am so passionate about showing parents the power of the steam shower. It will work miracles for you and help your little ones not only feel better, but get better as well.
My Child and a Steam Shower? How the Heck Does That Work?
My favorite way to do a steam shower with my daughter is to actually make her take a hot steamy shower. I let the “hotter than normal” water run and she can sit/play/relax in the shower as long as she wants. First, I want to clarify when I say “hotter than normal” water I mean I use a safe temp then make it a little warmer. I still feel the water to make sure it is not going to burn her skin or become dangerous in any way. Also, my daughter is 5, so she can tell me if the water is just way too hot for her skin.
Now if you have a baby or a little one my recommendation for incorporating a hot shower includes you (the parent) getting in the shower with the baby. Hold the baby against your chest and help them breathe in the steam. Be sure they don’t ingest the water as to avoid dry drowning later. Some parents prefer to just sit in the bathroom and let the water run. Then the steam from the shower fills the bathroom and they allow their baby/child to breathe it in that way. Personally, I prefer being in the shower with my baby. First, it promotes mother-baby bonding time and skin to skin contact. Second, it gets your baby in the shower with the shower curtain to help keep the steam in the shower.
How do I Know if the Steam Shower is Working?
Your child will start to cough. That is okay. That just means the lungs are opening up to allow air flow now. Coughing up “gunk” is a good thing for your child. I always look at it as I’m coughing up the germs making me sick. After a few steam showers your child will start feeling better. They will have had a chance to give their lungs and sinuses some time to “heal” essentially. You might be asking yourself “How often should I be giving these steam showers?” I am glad you asked. I recommend one in the morning after waking up to help open up the lungs and chest for the day. And another one right before bed to help do the same thing. This will give your child’s lungs a chance to function normal at the beginning of the night, so they are not up the entire night coughing or struggling for air.
What Else Can I do to Alleviate These Symptoms: Humidifier VS Vaporizer.
Everyone loves breathing in steam to help them feel better. I recommend when your child is really sick (but has already seen the Dr, or isn’t sick enough to see the Dr) to leave them in a room with you and the door shut with a humidifier or vaporizer going.
Let’s talk about vaporizers and humidifiers.
A humidifier releases cool mist in to the air. “Humidifiers release cool moisture into the air by breaking up cool water particles using a rapidly turning disk submerged in water, dispersing cool mist into the air” (Air and Water, 2017). They do generally cost more than a vaporizer. Also, they require more maintenance. You are more likely to get mold and mildew in/on your walls and furniture. You might be wondering which humidifier you should choose. I have heard a lot of great things about the Honeywell brand. You can look on their site here for a Honeywell humidifier. They do need to be cleaned often to remove this mold and mildew from the humidifier as well.
Let’s talk about vaporizers. Vaporizers release a warm mist in to the air. They contain a heating element to boil the water. “Inhalants such as plant extracts, herbs, and other medicinal vapors can be used with vaporizers to help with coughs and colds.” (Air and Water, 2017). These do not require as much maintenance, but do require some still. There is a lesser risk of germs and bacteria being released in to the air because the water is being boiled.
I want to put a link here for buying the one that we use, and the one I highly recommend. It is the Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer. I recommend this one because we can actually add the smell of Vicks to the warm mist being released in to the air. It is perfectly safe for children to inhale. You can put little pads in the designated spot, or you can use a liquid that pours in to a little container that is also designated on the vaporizer. This vaporizer is amazing for helping my asthmatic child when it flares up from having a cold or virus. This is why I highly recommend this one, however everyone’s child is different and you should use whichever one is best suited for your child and your home.
Which one do you prefer? Comment below and tell us please.
Steam Showers Inc. (2014). Treating a Common Cold with a Steam Shower. Retrieved from http://steamshowersinc.com/blog/treating-a-common-cold-with-a-steam-shower/
Mauer, E. (Unknown). Dry Drowning: Know the Signs. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/kids/safety/outdoor/dry-drowning/
Air and Water. (2017). Humidifiers Vs. Vaporizers: Which One Do You Need and Why? Retrieved from https://www.air-n-water.com/humidifiers-vs-vaporizers.htm