The sniffle and sneeze season is here again and kids are dropping like flies as they get sick and huddle up at home. My little one is wrapped in blankets and is sitting and staring at the TV like a small miserable parcel and so I decided to hunt down home remedies to make her life better.
Not only do natural home remedies generally mean no weird additives or strange side-effects, but they can be whipped up in an emergency, late at night and whenever they need a boost. They can really come in handy if you have run out of medicine and it is too late to get to a chemist.
A sore throat can be nicely helped in a couple of ways. To start with hot milk and honey is a brilliant solution. Not only does it help them get back to sleep, but the honey coats the throat and eases the pain. And honey has natural antibiotic properties that are helpful in fighting off the germs. Remember, children under a year old should not have honey though…
Hot drinks are also a good way to relieve a blocked nose and to soothe inflamed membranes in your throat and your nose. So if you don’t like honey or lemon or milk, make yourself a cup of tea or herbal tea instead. For the little ones it is best to make sure the herbal tea is allowed first, or to give them something like Ovaltine or Horlicks which will work as well.
Some people don’t recommend dairy when you are ill as it can make your nose worse so hot water with honey is a great substitute. I tend to use milk and honey for coughs and sore throats.
Regular drinks like these can ease congestion and limit dehydration too, so they perform a multitude of lovely functions all at once. Hot water with lemon and honey is an old favourite, and with good reason. Lemon is packed with vitamin C and helps the body build its defences. And for sick mums, it is great at reducing cellulite if drunk instead of coffee.
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.
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.
If a really badly blocked nose is a problem, especially in little ones who can’t blow their noses properly (if at all), and the above remedies are not working as quickly as you would like, try using hot or cold packs around the sinuses. For a child a warmer pack is probably a lot more comfortable to bear than a cold pack, and just as useful.
Place a warm cloth along the sinus across the nose and leave it there for a few minutes, rinse and repeat. Parents can plonk a bag of peas there for a cold shock to the sinus system that will, weirdly enough, actually help.
Steamy rooms, elevated heads on pillows, and regular blowing (where possible) are all great ways of reducing the pressure in the sinus and easing discomfort. I also recommend trying the chamomile tea from Family Herbal Remedies, this is a doozy of a cure.
It’s also worth looking into natural cures that will prevent your cold from coming in the first place. I swear by Echinacea. I used to get every cold coming but once I started taking this (about two weeks before cold and flu season to have any effect) I have batted off a good 70% of them every year. The hardier and nastier viruses may get through but their virulence is halved.
When you are a manic mum, getting sick is quite possibly the worst thing ever. Take Echinacea and you will be pleasantly surprised, I promise. This is not for kids, though, at least not for young ones.
The next, pretty obvious, solution is rest. Probably the easiest home remedy of the lot really. Lots and lots of sleep. Your body needs the time to fight off the germs using all the healthy recipes and remedies above.
If you are currently embroiled in the battle of the germs, good luck! And hopefully some of these ideas will help you all through it.