As Winter melts into Spring, the sniffles and allergies are sure to bloom in your family. Here are some natural ways to cure your family’s illnesses…
When your child falls ill with a cough or cold, it may be tempting to reach for over-the-counter remedies to relieve their symptoms. But whilst these can offer some relief, they can’t prevent colds or shorten their duration, and many have side effects. Used for anything more than a few days, they can make your child’s symptoms worse, and some government experts have questioned their safety. So what are the natural alternatives?
When your child falls ill, make sure they get plenty of rest as this helps their body to focus its energy on fighting the virus. Give your child an extra pillow as this will help the nasal passages to drain so that they can breathe more easily.
Your child’s body will be producing more mucus than normal, and this uses up moisture. By drinking plenty of fluids, not only will they stay hydrated but the mucus will be thinner, making it easier for them to blow it out or cough it up. Make sure that they avoid any caffeinated drinks as these can make dehydration worse.
Resource: Fun kid-friendly soft drink recipes
Warm drinks help to ease your child’s symptoms by loosening the mucus as the warmth passes down their throat. This makes it easier for them to cough and soothes the inflamed membranes. Offer your child soups, hot chocolate, warm lemon water with honey or decaffeinated tea and coffee to relieve their discomfort.
Chicken soup is an old-fashioned cold remedy that you might have heard of and there is some research that suggests that it does actually work. It is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory, inhibiting the movement of the most common type of white blood cell that defends against the infection. Although some are sceptical, it is fair to say that giving your child warm chicken soup will certainly help to loosen their mucus, if nothing else.
Resource: Cold fighting soup recipes that are children friendly – from Eating Well Magazine
Steam works like warm drinks, loosening the mucus and relieving stuffy noses. Sit your child in the bathroom with a hot shower running, or give them a warm bath for instant blocked nose relief. Placing hot water in a bowl and allowing them to inhale it can also be very effective but be careful that they do not scald themselves on the water or steam.
Encourage your child to blow their nose regularly and not to sniff up the mucus. It’s also important that they don’t blow their nose too hard as this can cause earache. The best way for them to blow their nose is to press a finger over one of their nostrils whilst they blow gently to clear the other.
For older children with a sore throat, a salt-water gargle can offer short term relief. You can make this by mixing up a teaspoon of salt with a small glass of warm water.
Colds are always associated with red, sore noses from constant blowing and this can add to the discomfort. The solution is to use just a dab of a moisturizing balm (such as Alba Botanicals Un-Petroleum Jelly) on the sore areas. You can also help prevent the soreness by offering your child baby wipes or facial tissues with lotion to blow their nose on as these keep the skin soft and moist. To make your own try this recipe.
For children aged 12 and over, Echinacea is thought to be a highly effective supplement in fighting coughs and colds. It is thought to stimulate the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and boosting the activity of other immune cells. However, Echinacea is not recommended for children under the age of 12 as there is an increased risk of allergic reaction which may include skin swelling, hives, rashes, shrinking of the airways in the lungs, asthma and anaphylactic shock. You can find Echinacea in most high street stores, pharmacies, health food shops and online (though if you’re going to buy online, ensure it’s the real dealer by sticking with a reputable seller like Nature’s Best for example.)
You may have heard the old saying ‘feed a fever, starve a cold’. In fact, this is nonsense. When your child’s body is fighting a virus, it needs all the help it can get, and starving is never the answer. Offer your child healthy nutritious food and try to work in as many immune system boosters as you can: button mushrooms, acai berries, watermelons, cabbage, almonds, grapefruit, wheatgerm, low fat yogurt with active cultures, garlic, spinach, decaffeinated tea, sweet potato and broccoli have all been marked as having immune-enhancing effects.
Resource: 12 immunity boosting snacks from Parenting.com
Many people reach for Vitamin C at the first sign of a snuffle but does it really work? Many swear by it but some research suggests that Vitamin C may help to shorten the duration of a cold by only a small amount if taken regularly. However, Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that your child needs to keep their body strong and healthy and it certainly won’t hurt giving them extra Vitamin C whilst they are poorly so offer them strawberries, blackberries and oranges to snack on for a Vitamin C boost.
Resource: Yummy “Soper C Smoothie” recipe from Annabel Karmel
This article was contributed by Carly, a keen blogger from the UK. When not writing, Carly LOVES scouring Pinterest for home decorating inspiration, and walking her two doggies in the local park.
Sneezing child: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46589312@N08/4505231328/”>SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/“>cc</a>
Berries: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/31817493@N08/5414933178/”>kPluto</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/“>cc</a>