Colds and flu. Coughs that keep everyone awake all night. Stuffy noses that hurt and make your eyes water. All these horrible things just make the cold seem worse and the nights darker. So let’s beat those bugs with some simple home remedies that you can whip up right now at home. Some may need a quick trip to the supermarket, but you can do it!
Warm milk with honey helps with a sore throat like nothing else. If you have a cough, it is best to avoid the dairy so make it hot water with lemon and honey. Or just a teaspoon of honey to coat the throat and ease the pain. Honey has natural antibiotic powers but don’t give it to kids under a year old.
2. Warm drinks
A blocked nose and inflamed membranes like the soothing comfort of warm drinks. Try rooibos (with honey if you need some sweetness) without milk or sugar, or green tea for those lovely antioxidant properties. Not only will your throat appreciate it, but it keeps you hydrated. Kids will love rooibos tea and hot drinks like Ovaltine or Horlicks are fine for them to drink too. Please always read the packaging though.
3. Damp towels
Can’t afford a fancy and expensive humidifier? Me neither. A damp towel is a great way of achieving the same goal at almost no cost. Drape it over the radiator and change them whenever they dry out. You can also put a bowl of water beside the radiator to evaporate gently, add some essential oils to the water to give it some oomph. Again, check if they are suitable for kids.
4. Blow your nose
It sounds obvious, but it is darn tough teaching a kid to blow their nose. Mine insists on sniffing, which makes it worse! Blow, blow and blow again and stop your nose from becoming raw and sore by applying Vaseline regularly throughout the day.
5. Hot bath
If your child has a really bad chesty cough, run a boiling hot bath, shut all the windows and doors, roll up towels to block any exits and sit with them in the steamy room until they start to breathe a bit easier. There is the added bonus of having a lovely bath once the water has cooled down enough for you and baby to jump in.
6. Microwave it
A doctor friend of mine recommended that I take a damp cloth and bung it in the microwave for a bit. You don’t need those fancy microwavable packs, just take the cloth, ensure it isn’t too hot, and then place it on your nose to ease the pressure and congestion. If the heat doesn’t work, try using frozen peas instead. Cold can be just as effective as heat in this case.
You are going to ward off vampires and, quite possibly, visitors, friends, and family members with this particular cure, but boy does garlic pack a punch. Garlic has antiseptic powers as well. It does mean your house will be a bit whiffy for a while but making food like garlic soup or a few drops of garlic oil in hot water (disgusting but effective) do wonders for a blocked nose and helping to bring down a fever. I honestly swear by it. In fact, an excellent combination is chicken soup (again a scientifically proven flu-fighting tool) with plenty of garlic to get that extra kick.
8. Chicken soup
Chicken soup has cysteines which thin mucus so your child gets relief from congestion for a short period of time after eating it. It isn’t a miracle cure really but it does help ease discomfort. Whip up a batch of home soup and freeze it up for using when the colds strike, or get in some tins if the idea of cooking makes you cry. Tinned chicken soup does the job just as well, amazing but true. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory powers and helps to speed up the movement of mucus, easing congestion for a short period of time.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, or if baby has colic, chamomile is the way to go. It is a mild relaxant and sedative that can help you to sleep, plus it is great for upset stomachs – easing the symptoms gently. For yourself, make a strong cup of tea and drink it while it’s hot, for little ones, check with your health visitor as to the best way to prepare and dilute it for their little systems.
Then whip your ginger out, slice it, and pour some hot water on it. The amount of ginger you use is up to your personal taste (and the age of your child) but it is great for easing head and chest congestion. In fact, you can find a bunch of great recipes using garlic, ginger, lemon and salt on the web – all of which combine powerful natural remedies to create one big cold killer.