With cold and flu season around the corner, you may be looking to explore wellness options for your child that don’t involve over-the-counter medications.
Luckily, there are many at-home remedies you can try to alleviate your little one’s discomfort as they battle these unavoidable viruses.
Here a few ways you can use natural remedies to help your child battle the dreaded cold and flu season:
Essential oils can be used as a topical rub or for aromatherapy to help alleviate your child’s cold and flu symptoms – especially when it comes to clearing the nasal passages and reducing congestion.
Some oils even have anti-viral properties to help treat infections and reduce fever.
Inhalation is the most beneficial way to use essential oils to clear nasal passages and improve breathing. You can add a few drops to a diffuser, steamy bathwater or in a large bowl for steam inhalation.
Topically, you can add a drop or two to a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and massage into your little one’s head, neck or feet.
Just keep in mind that when using essential oils with children, you only need a small amount.
While there’s no hard science to prove that using vitamin C can prevent colds and flu, it can certainly shorten their lifespan as well as boost your child’s overall health.
The best way to get vitamin C is through your little one’s diet by having them eat fresh foods such as oranges, broccoli, tomatoes and bell peppers.
You can always give your child a vitamin C supplement but be wary of overdoing it – too much of this vitamin can lead to an upset stomach and even kidney stones.
Staying hydrated is a great way to recover quickly from a cold or flu. When you keep your body properly hydrated, it has the natural ability to flush germs out of your system.
Most individuals should have around 64oz of fluid each day.
Fluids don’t necessarily have to be limited to water – tea and soup are comparable ways to get enough liquid into your body.
Getting enough sleep is beneficial to your overall health, since it helps support immune system function. This, in turn, wards off nasty viruses and bacteria to begin with.
So it makes sense that helping your little one get enough rest while they are sick is a good way to get over a cold or flu.
If your child is having trouble sleeping while sick, you can try to run a humidifier in their room to keep their head from drying out or have them sleep with an extra pillow to lift their head and help their sinuses drain.
Chicken soup is more than good for the soul – it can help you combat the effects of the cold and flu.
Hot liquids, such as soup, can help reduce mucus buildup as well as keep your child hydrated.
Plus, chicken soup has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties which helps to calm nasal swelling and alleviate symptoms.
Also, it helps to thin mucus, making it easier to cough up and remove from your body.
This is due to the minerals found in chicken bones as well as the vegetables added to the soup. Minerals such as zinc, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium seep into the liquid stock.
As long as your child is over the age of one, you can give them a teaspoon of honey half an hour before bed to help settle their cough.
Just be sure to have them brush their teeth before going to bed.
Honey contains natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as hydrogen peroxide, that helps to fight colds and flus.
Plus, its thick consistency helps to coat the throat – not only does this soothe a sore throat, but it helps to prevent coughing as well.
If your little one is running a fever, a lukewarm bath can help to bring down their temperature. Just make sure the bath isn’t too cold for them.
Another way to reduce a fever is to place cool washcloths under their armpits.
Just remember that fevers should be taken seriously. If natural methods don’t help to bring down your child’s body temperature, administer an age-appropriate dose of Tylenol.
Rice or Salt Sock
Ear pain can be an excruciating symptom of the cold and flu for little ones, causing pain throughout their ear and jaw.
You can help relieve this pain by filling a sock with either rice or coarse sea salt. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and tie off the end of the sock.
Gently warm the sock by microwaving it for a few seconds before laying it along your little one’s ear and jaw.
The rice and salt retain heat and will help to shift the pressure in the ear and lessen the discomfort.
This will not, however, address an ear infection. If you suspect your child’s ear is infected, have it looked at by your family doctor.