Natural Home Remedies for Colds and the Flu

Cough cough.  Sneeze sneeze.  Sniffle sniffle.  With all the wonders of winter, it is also the season for colds and the flu!  As you’ve probably come to realize, when any one member of the family is sick, it is no fun for anyone.  Between treating symptoms and lack of sleep, one sick family member can plague the entire household.

When you’ve got a baby in the mix, natural home remedies for colds and the flu may be the best way to go.  Babies cannot tolerate medications like older children and adults, and if you are breastfeeding, you certainly need to be conscious of the medications you are taking that can transfer to your baby through breast milk.

Before resorting to medications try these natural home remedies for colds and the flu:

Hydrate:  Drinking plenty of liquids is essential when fighting a cold or the flu.  Water and water-based juices, fruits and vegetables help you flush out pathogens that can be causing your illness as well as mucus causing congestion in your ears, nose, throat and chest.  If you are breastfeeding and your baby is sick, offer extra feedings to help keep your little one hydrated, especially if she has been vomiting.  If your baby is close to 12 months old and your pediatrician gives you permission, you may be able to give your baby some water in between feedings.

Drink Hot Herbal Teas:  All-natural decaffeinated herbal teas give you a boost of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help your immune system fight colds and the flu.  Plus, drinking in hot beverage can help clear your sinuses.  Take small sips if you feel nauseous.  Do be careful which teas you select if you are breastfeeding as some may be too strong for your baby.

home remedies__1450659948_108.89.138.209Eat Chicken Soup:  Prescribed for centuries by Dr. Mom, there may be some truth to this age-old home remedy.  Beyond the nutrients of the soup – hopefully protein, fiber and vegetables – leaning over a hot bowl of soup and breathing in steam may relieve your congestion.  If anything, you’ll be getting much-needed sustenance to help strengthen your body as it works hard to fight off whatever is ailing you.

Take a Hot Shower:  Similar to hot tea and chicken soup, standing in a hot shower can help drain your sinus cavities to relieve pressure and congestion.  Hot water can also soothe aches and pains throughout your body so consider soaking in a hot bath after your shower.  For little ones not ready for showers yet, steam up your bathroom and then sit with them in the room for 15-20 minutes.

Use a Humidifier:  It can be terrifying to listen to your little ones’ coughing and labored breathing so do everything you can to make it easier for them to breathe.  Humidifiers are terrific for babies and children to moisturize their nasal cavities and help ease distressed breathing.  Also, be sure to suck up excess nasal mucus with an aspirator often throughout the day.

Gargle with Salt Water:  Help eliminate post-nasal drip and soothe a sore throat with a salt water rinse.  Use warm water and regular table salt and gargle several times throughout the day.  This easy natural home remedy can help ear congestion as well.

Suck on a Lozenge:  There are many cough drops and throat lozenge options and most of them actually work at calming a sore throat.  Those with added Vitamin C and other antioxidants will help your immune system too.  Some cough drops contain menthol or other powerful natural nutrients so do be careful not to overdo it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Never give a baby or child a lozenge, however.  Even older children should be supervised when sucking on anything.

Try a Natural Serum:  Sambucol, oil of oregano and apple cider vinegar can be added to your water to help neutralize your infection.  These natural substances have antimicrobial properties that work with your immune system to fight off colds and the flu.

Rest:  With life’s many obligations, resting may be the hardest natural remedy to follow.  After all, your role as a parent doesn’t stop when you’re sick.  But do try to take it easy by getting extra sleep, not exercising and doing sedentary activities.  If necessary, schedule a babysitter to help with your kids so you can get better faster.  When kids are sick, it is often hard to get them to settle down but think through some less active, quiet activities you can do together such as crafts, puzzles and board games.

We hope these natural home remedies for colds and the flu help you and your family this winter.  Cheers to your best health!