The Mommy Diary: Natural Remedies to Tackle The Common Cold

As a mom of 6-year-old twins the one thing I dread about the school year (during the winter) is the potential of sniffles, fevers, and that nagging cough that won’t go away. So, after a few years of paying close attention, taking notes at the doctor, and seeing what works and doesn’t work for each child (because everyone body’s is different) I made a list of some things that have worked for me. My kids still get sick during the winter but these tips have helped to lessen the duration of the cold and cough.

Lesson #1- Smoothies

Last year I gave my kids smoothies once a week and didn’t notice a big difference but this year I started giving them a smoothie every other day after school. I usually switch up the ingredients slightly but usually blend one banana, one apple, a very small piece of peeled ginger, a small handful of blueberries, four strawberries, a handful of spinach, and a few baby carrots. Since doing this, they spent the first two months of school with no colds at all.

Lesson #2- Vitamins

This year I stepped it up and I give them a whole food liquid vitamin (that has to be refrigerated) and elderberry syrup once a week. We use Animal Parade multivitamin and Sambucus Elderberry syrup. Elderberry boosts the immune system and can aid in treating upper respiratory infections.

Lesson #3- Lowering Fever

The first thing I do when I notice they are warm is put them in lightweight clothing and cover them with a light sheet at night to sleep. I also give a ton of fluids, mostly watered-down juice for the sugar content and calories because they usually aren’t that hungry when they don’t feel good. The sugar is good for the brain if they aren’t getting enough nutrients in the form of food. I also take thin damp washcloths and place them on the forehead, back of the neck or whatever area seems to be the hottest. If I notice the natural remedies aren’t keeping the fever moderate and the fever starts getting higher I will give a fever reducer. I used to be that parent that hesitated about giving medication during a fever, however I realized that by giving a fever reducer when I noticed a low-grade fever is escalating, it prevented many ER visits. For some reason with my kids when I would wait until the fever was full-blown (101 or 102) then it was harder for me to get it down at home with ibuprofen.   

Lesson #4 TLC

Being a mom of twins, I’m always moving around but this year I made sure I slowed down a little more when the twins are sick (and they are usually always sick at the same time). I make sure I take extra time to hug, kiss, hold and do things like color with them. When kids feel comfort and reassurance it can help nurse them back to health. It’s been proven that hugging can boost serotonin levels which elevates mood and also relaxes the muscles.  

Lesson #5 Post Nasal Drip

The common cold or flu causes a buildup of mucus. If your little one can’t cough it up or blow their nose yet then use a mucus bulb to pull out excess mucus but don’t overuse or it could irritate their nose. Use the bulb two times a day and apply a little vaseline on the inside of their nose to prevent it from getting chapped. The less they swallow, the less likely they are to get a bad cough. If your kid is older teach them how to cough phlegm into a tissue or properly blow their nose. Taking an expectorant is good for getting the excess mucus up. We use Matty’s Children’s Organic Mucus Cough Syrup—the thyme in this product works as an expectorant.

Lesson #6 Tackling the Cough

If your little one still ends up with a cough, then try luke warm decaffeinated tea with a little lemon once a day. Sit with them in steam twice a day (and sleep with a warm steam humidifier if possible). The last thing you can research is called Chest Physiotherapy (CPT) which is a clearance technique used to help loosen phlegm in the lungs. This basically involves the parent cupping their hands and gently tapping the areas around the lungs (on the chest, under arms, and on the back) which create vibrations which can help loosen phlegm. But make sure you aren’t patting too hard. Ask your doctor how many times a day this should be done. This technique worked wonders for my boys.

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