It's the time of year when it seems like no matter how hard you try, someone in your family is bound to end up with a cold, a cough, or both.
This weekend, both of the kids got sick with low grade fevers, really bad coughs and really bad runny noses, aches and chills.
It's so hard to see them not feeling well.
I try not to use a lot of conventional medicines or antibiotics and like to stick to natural/herbal remedies instead. I find they work just as well or better, without added chemicals or stimulants that are so common in drugstore medicines. With kids, there aren't really any cough medicines that you can use anyway, until they are older. For teething and fevers, we do use Tylenol to reduce the pain and get fevers under control.
I though I'd share a few natural remedies that our family uses regularly when we're not feeling well.
Keep in mind that I am not a doctor, and this is what works for our family. Use these remedies at your own discretion. In the case of you or your loved one having a high fever (103 or higher) or difficulty breathing, go to the hospital.
To treat colds, congestion and coughs, here are some things I do:
*Keep your children hydrated. Make sure they are getting enough liquids. Water and herbal teas are best. Try to cut back on sugars, as they inhibit the body from healing itself. Keep reading for an easy "tea" recipe.
*Eat more garlic. It boosts the immune system. Chicken soup also has healing properties and the broth helps open airways and soothe sore throats. Put extra garlic and thyme in there to make it even better.
* Give the kids a hot bath, and let them inhale the steam.
The moisture helps loosen phlegm that settles in the chest so they can cough it out more productively. I also put about 10 drops of eucalyptus oil into the water. It helps open up the airways and invigorates the lungs. It also smells really good. :)
* Keep a humidifier going when they sleep. Again, this helps them breathe and keeps the nasal passages moist.
*In the case of croup (characterized by a barking cough that sounds like a seal, usually in the middle of the night), sit the child upright and let them inhale cool air. Go outside for 5-10 minutes to let the air get into their lungs. If your child is having a lot of difficulty breathing, call 911. We nearly had to do this a couple nights ago, when Eliana woke up coughing and wheezing and couldn't catch her breath. We took her outside for a few minutes and prayed over her and she finally stopped wheezing and was able to sleep. Those were a few scary moments though- no parent wants to see their child unable to breathe!
*For coughs, a homeopathic product that seems to work well is Chestal Cough Syrup.
We buy it at Whole Foods, and it can be used from age 1 on up. Since it has honey in it, don't use it with kids under the age of one. There are dosage instructions right on the bottle, for easy reference.
|The cough syrup and the eucalyptus oil.|
*Drink "Honey Lemon Thyme Tea" (this is what the kids call it.)
It's just that- a few slices of lemon and some dried thyme from the spice cabinet put into a cloth napkin (or a tea strainer- we just don't have one) and boiling water poured over it.
|lemon and thyme|
*Rest, rest, rest. Read stories, watch movies, snuggle, play quiet games, color, do puzzles, etc.
Let them sleep as much as they want to- their body needs rest to heal.
|The kiddos spent an hour or so today playing dishes, |
spooning water back and forth between pans and cups.
*Play outside. Once your kiddos are feeling well enough, fresh air always seems to help everyone. There's just something about it that clears the lungs and brightens the spirits. So, go outside for a few minutes- even if its cloudy or a bit cold. ( I wouldn't recommend this if it's below zero or something. Use your own judgement.)
*Go to the chiropractor. This one may sound weird, but it really does help! If your kiddo's ears have fluid in them it can cause an ear infection, and the chiropractor can adjust their ears, which drains the fluid. Then you don't have to get antibiotics to treat the ear infection! Also, if your back is out of line, it affects your breathing. We found this out because we were already going to the chiropractor regularly. So, if you believe in chiropractic, try it out. We've avoided having to go to the doctor at least twice for ear infections for Eliana by simply getting her back, neck and ears adjusted.
These are by no means an exhaustive list. They are just a few things that I do to help my little ones feel better. :) Most of these remedies were passed down to me from either my mom or close friends, and they really do help. Do you have any natural remedies that you use to help your children feel better when they're sick? I'd love to hear them!