Whether you are an expecting, new, or well-versed parent, you will no doubt share the common worry of what to do when your little one is sick. The common cold, as its name suggests, will most definitely strike you and your youngster at some point. However, it is often not recommended to use over-the-counter medications for young children, which means you sometimes have to let the symptoms play out. This can be difficult as a parent when all you want to be able to do is appease their discomfort in some way. Luckily, in some cases, you can use natural methods to help them feel better sooner. Below we have outlined some simple, useful, natural home remedies that can be used for both children and adults alike.
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Raise Your Pillows
We are kicking things off with probably the most basic, yet effective remedy. Simply adding an extra pillow or two to prop your child up when they’re lying in bed will help to ease congestion. You want to make sure their position is closer to sitting rather than laying down. This is particularly useful at bedtime as it will allow them to breathe with more ease and reduce coughing, which in turn will offer them (and you!) a better night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep in itself is recommended to help a person heal from a cold or flu, so you can see this one as a bonus two-in-one remedy!
Honey naturally contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that help soothe cold symptoms. You can either swallow the honey directly from a teaspoon or if you prefer to drink it, you can mix it with some warm water.
It is also quite common for some people to add a squeeze of lemon, fresh ginger, or a teaspoon of turmeric to some warm water along with the honey. This is particularly nice and soothing if you are experiencing a sore or aching throat as a symptom of your cold. Similar to honey, turmeric and ginger contain natural remedial properties. Studies have found that both of these ingredients contain pain-reducing powers. Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is just what you need when your glands are a bit swollen.
Just remember to check that the water is not too hot if you are using this method for a child. It is also very important to bear in mind that honey shouldn’t be given to an infant under one year old as this can lead to infant botulism. In this case, you may end up needing to visit a pediatric nurse practitioner who has undertaken special training for children’s health needs, as they will be able to offer the appropriate specialized treatment.
Use a Steam Bowl
This is a great one for adults to do and is also suitable for children as long as it is carried out under adult supervision. A steam bowl is very effective in easing congestion and will leave you breathing easy. All you need to make an at-home steam bowl is a large heatproof bowl, a towel, water, and a kettle.
Simply boil the kettle and then pour the boiling water into the heatproof bowl. Drape the towel over your head and with your eyes shut, gently lower your face towards the bowl, ensuring that you don’t get your face closer than around 10 inches from the water. It is recommended to do this for around 10-15 minutes.
Some people also like to add a drop of essential oils to the water. Eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea-tree have all proven to be very effective at helping with congestion and, on top of this, they all have an appealing scent.
Not only will this home remedy help to ease congestion, but a steam bowl also acts as a great at-home facial cleanse. This is because exposing your face to hot steam allows all the facial pores to open, making way for any of the dirt and grime of day to day to life to be extracted. To ensure all the pores close again and keep the dirt out, splash your face with cold water after you have finished steaming. This one is more for the parents, and we expect will be quite well received as a bit of respite if you are having to take care of a poorly little one.
Eat the Right Foods
Sometimes a bad case of the cold or flu can cause you to lose your appetite, but it is important for you or your child to try and eat the right foods to not only keep your energy levels up, but to also aid your body in fighting off the infection. There are many foods you can try giving to your child, such as rice and bananas, which are both said to help stop diarrhea and soothe an upset stomach. Blueberries are also good for this, as they are said to help lower fevers and ease aches and pains.
For the adults, you might want to try chili peppers to open up the sinuses, bell peppers for their vitamin C, and black and green tea for a natural antibiotic. And of course, plenty of water to keep hydrated is a must.
In order for these methods to work efficiently and effectively, it is recommended to repeat them around three times a day until you begin to feel better. We recommend in particular practicing these remedies just before bedtime. As we mentioned earlier, getting a good night’s sleep when you are under the weather is very important.
However, it goes without saying that if you or your child do not start to feel better within seven to ten days, it is highly recommended to call your doctor for more advice. These natural remedies are suitable for the common cold, but if an illness is persisting, it might be that you need to take further measures that a doctor would be best placed to guide you on.