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Top 5 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies for Kids

It’s that time of year again, and your kids will be bringing home more than homework and art projects from school, and sharing more than toys and snacks with friends.  Rhinovirus, influenza, and adenovirus are just a few of the viruses that can bring congestion, fever, sore throat and body aches to you and your family this cold and flu season.  And, while it may impossible to stop these contagious viruses from entering your home and sickening your children, you can fight back by being prepared.  Here are my top 5 natural remedies to have stocked in your medicine cabinet to ease your child’s symptoms, decrease duration of illness, and even prevent them from getting sick all together!

top 5 natural cold and flu remedies for kids
elderberries

1.  Elderberry Syrup:  Prevent and treat.

Elderberry, or Sambucus nigra, is a powerful weapon against the fight of cold and flu viruses.  Elderberry contains a special protein that prevents a cold or flu virus from attaching to, and infecting, healthy cells. This action effectively confines the cold or flu virus, limiting the duration of illness and even preventing it from occurring in the first place. One clinical study found that the use of Elderberry decreased the duration of flu symptoms on average 4 days earlier than those that received placebo or rescue medication. As an added bonus, it tastes great. No begging, pleading or bargaining needed for your kids to take their medicine!

2. Chamomile tea: Reduce fever, calm, soothe, sleep aid.

With more and more claims being made about the safety of acetaminophen, many parents are confused about how to help their fevering child or infant. Chamomile tea is an alternative option to acetaminophen or ibuprofen that safely and effectively lowers fevers while providing a soothing effect to calm your child, and even help them For infants three months of age and younger with a fever, you should always seek medical attention. However, if your baby is older than three months, you can give them chamomile tea with a medicine dropper. For children older than 12 months, adding a little honey (try 1-2 teaspoons per 8 oz. cup) to the tea may additionally relieve a sore throat and/or cough (see #5!). Try Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile tea.

chamomile tea
essential oils

3. Essential Oils: Relieve congestion, calm, soothe.

Let’s face it, when your child can’t breathe through their nose, you’re both miserable. Inhaling diluted essential oils by steam or vapor can be extremely effective to relieve congestion, and enable your little one to get some much needed relief, and rest! Try mixing 5-7 drops each of eucalyptus, thyme, and lavender essential oils into 1 cup of melted coconut oil, and place in a jar with a sealable lid.. Once the mixture has cooled and set, rub a small amount on your child’s chest (Homemade Vaporub!). Or, try essential steam; add 3-4drops of these oils on the shower floor, turn on a hot shower to get the bathroom nice and steamy, and sit in the bathroom with your child for 20 minutes while they inhale the essential steam. I suggest reading a book with your child to pass the time while they get some much-needed relief. Adding oils to a portable vaporizer in your child’s room is another great option, and can really aid in a good night’s sleep. However, it is important to make sure you are always purchasing quality essential oils. There are many companies out there selling essential oils that do not provide the quality and purity a medicinal essential oil should possess. Never ingest essential oils. If you have questions of concerns, contact your medical provider.

4. Garlic Mullein oil: Relieve ear pain, resolve an ear infection.

Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses in children. It is also an illness that has seen a steady and consistent increase in the prescription of antibiotics for treatment. This increase may be contributing to antibiotic resistance, a growing epidemic. However, not all ear infections are caused by bacteria, they are also caused by viruses. Therefore, prescription antibiotics may not resolve the illness, and may be potentially harmful due to the growing resistance of antibiotics. Before heading to urgent care for a prescription, try garlic mullein oil drops. These drops will not only relieve ear pain, they help draw out the fluid trapped behind the tympanic membrane; the cause of the infection and pain. Place 2-4 drops each ear twice daily and cover each ear with a cotton ball. Do not use if your tympanic membrane has ruptured. If you are unsure if this has occurred, contact your medical provider.

ear infection
homemade cough syrup

5. Homemade cough syrup: Calm a cough, relieve a sore throat.

In 2008, the FDA strongly recommended against giving over the counter cough and cold medication to children under the age of 2. In fact, many manufacturers state on their product labels not to give the medications to children under the age of 4! So, what is a parent to do? Food as medicine to the rescue! Making a batch of this homemade cough syrup at the beginning of cold and flu season will leave you prepared for when your child(ren) develop a bothersome cough. Garlic has impressive antimicrobial and immune boosting properties to help fight off that offending virus or bacteria causing the cough and sore throat, while Ginger also has equally impressive antimicrobial activity while providing some soothing warmth to an itchy and irritated throat. Make sure to add the “optional” ingredients to this recipe for maximum medicinal effects. Give a teaspoon of this cough syrup to your child alone, or in some warm water to ease a hacking cough or sore throat. Simply double the dose to ease these symptoms for adults. Remember, the more garlic, onion, and ginger, the better! So, feel free to add more than the recipe suggests if you choose.

When your children are sick with a cold or flu, you want them to feel better fast! With these tips and trick under you belt, you will definitely be armed and ready to help your child kick those pesky cold and flu viruses to the curb so they can get back to doing what they do best, being kids!

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