Good Medicine: Cold Season Recommendations

Good Medicine: Cold Season Recommendations

 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

In all his wisdom, Solomon understood the power of good medicine and its effect on the body. For him to state the effect of a joyful heart being good medicine, he must have had an experience that helped him know the difference between good and bad medicine.

While these recommendations may be no substitute for a joyful heart or your physician’s advice, they may just be the thing needed for a runny nose! So as we are in the midst of cold season, here are some of my favorite cold and cough treatments:

 Nasal Saline – Use it to thin secretions and rinse the sinuses. It’s great for a runny nose at any age. I like the aerosol mist sprays for the littles and the SinusRinse bottles for the bigs. It flushes the mucous, decreases congestion, and helps get over the illness a little faster.

 Humidifier – I routinely recommend this especially for the littles.

 Vaporub (Menthol) – This remedy has been shown to help ease breathing and sleep in the littles when they have cold symptoms. Okay for most littles 6 months and older. Use the child’s palm as a measuring device and put a palm-sized amount on the upper chest before bedtime. Some parents prefer putting it on the child’s feet–just don’t put it on the face or near the eyes.

 Zarbee’s – Use the Infant cough for children 2-12 months of age and the honey-based one for those 12 months and older. Think of it as a liquid cough drop. It doesn’t get rid of the cough – it coats the throat for temporary relief. The honey-based one for kids 12 months and older also has elderberry which has some scientific evidence for stimulating the immune response to fighting a viral infection.

 Dimetapp Cold and Cough – This is my favorite cough and cold medicine for kids 4 to 12 years of age. Its grape flavor is liked by most and has a blend of an antihistamine, decongestant, and cough suppressant. I am particularly cautious in its use with asthmatics and kids <6 years of age.

 12 Hour Ceterizine-D – This is great for drying up a runny nose and decreasing congestion in the bigs (>12 yrs old) who can swallow pills. It can be combined with Delsym 12 hour cough or prescription benzonatate perles to control the cough.


While these are some of the more commonly used medications I consider good medicine and recommend to many of my patients as well as use in my family, not all medications are good for all people. It is always good to consult with your doctor who knows you and what is most likely best for your body.

It is important that I note that antibiotics don’t help colds. As many are learning, they not only open you up to side effects and diminishing effectiveness when you need them to work, they also kill off some of your body’s gut microbiome that helps you in other ways.


Scott Huitink, MD FAAP

Dr. Scott Huitink loves being a Pediatrician and strives to support parents in the care of their children by encouraging, educating, and providing them with up-to-date medical expertise. His passion to provide high quality, personable, pediatric care can be seen in his face-to-face visits with children, his insights provided through his Facebook Page–“Compass Peds”, and his interest in improving the well-being of the community around him. Dr. Huitink has a wide array of experience in the care of children from newborns to young adults and has been instrumental in the education and implementation of clinical standards. He is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and can be found seeing patients in the Nashville area at Compass Pediatrics.