‘Tis the season for the flu and colds. Ugh. It is starting to seem like everyone has a cold or the flu. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help keep your family healthy. First, make sure to wash your hands (we like to sing “Happy Birthday” or count to 30 as we wash) before eating and after using the bathroom. You should also ensure that your kids are getting plenty of fluids and increase their vitamin C intake. This is a great time to drink more orange juice! Finally, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
In addition to these simple tips, here are some home remedies to try when you or your children are feeling under the weather. Make sure that you seek medical advice or visit your doctor if symptoms worsen or you are feeling very sick.
- Coughs. To reduce a cough, add honey to a glass of grape juice or just eat grapes for a couple of days. Grapes have a natural expectorant to help minimize coughing and lung pain. Another suggestion is to make a drink by squeezing a whole orange into a cup of warm water. Drink this mixture every two to three hours and don’t eat anything else during the day. The last idea is to slice a lemon and add salt and pepper to each side. Suck out the lemon juice to help relieve coughing. And for older children, have them drink a glass of hot water with lemon and honey.
- Stuffy nose or congestion. Create a steam room in your bathroom by running hot water in your shower and closing the bathroom door. Sit with your child in the warm, steamy bathroom as the congestion loosens up. For older children, boil water in a teapot, microwave or on the stove. Put the boiling water in a pie plate or a large bowl on your kitchen table. Have your child sit at the table and place a towel over his head and shoulders. Have your child breath in the steam through his nose.
- Sore throat. For a sore throat, older children can try gargling with warm salt water. Add one teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle the water for several seconds and spit it out. Another idea is to take Echinacea supplements. Always be sure to read and follow the directions on the product’s label before using any supplement or medicine with children.
- Insomnia. Older children can try drinking chamomile tea with 2 teaspoons of honey about an hour before bed. Another suggestion is to put lavender on your child’s pillow or rub a small amount of lavender on her temples or put lavender drops in her bath water. We like to use the Johnson and Johnson’s lavender lotion as part of our evening routine. Exercise can also help people fall asleep. When the body and mind get enough mental and physical stimulation, falling asleep comes easier. Try working out for 20-30 minutes or taking a brisk walk at least 2 hours prior to going to bed. We like to do yoga in the evening since it helps stretch and relax the body. Make sure to breathe properly while doing yoga to get your mind and body to relax.
- Headaches. When your child has an aching head, place a cold compress on the affected area. You can also massage his neck and shoulders. Older children can try drinking a cup of mint tea with honey.
- Warts. Try duct tape. Wrap your child’s wart with duct tape every day so that the wart cannot breathe. It usually takes about 2 weeks for a wart to completely disappear. Another option is to rub a freshly cut pineapple on the wart, or make a mixture of ground flaxseed, raw honey and flaxseed oil and apply to the wart with a bandage. You can also place a piece of banana peel on the wart and let it sit for up to 24 hours. Another idea is to soak the wart in warm water for 15-20 minutes and then dab cider vinegar to the area and let it dry.
We hope these common remedies will help your family reduce some aches and pains. Make sure to try different options and use what works for you. And you should always visit your doctor if your symptoms worsen. Have a safe and healthy rest of the winter!
© Let’s Talk Kids, LLC 2013