My oldest started back at school this week. It is bitter sweet for me because I miss her while she's away from me but I know she has a blast with her friends and her teacher at school. Being back at school can also mean there are more opportunities for illness – which in the long run does strengthen their immune systems – but can be tough to deal with in the short term. After one week of school everyone in my house (except me) has the sniffles.
There are a lot of things I do as preventative measures and there are a number of remedies that I use. The biggest part of prevention is diet along with some superfoods and some supplements. This post details all of my tips on prevention. In addition, some of the preventatives also work as remedies in higher and more frequent dosages.
At the first sign of the sniffles, this is what I do…
Elderberry syrup is my daughter's favorite remedy because it tastes really good. It's easy to make and it only requires 3 ingredients (one being water). There are many different recipes for Elderberry Syrup. It can be as simple as elderberries, water, and honey or other herbs and essential oils can be added to give it even more power (here is my basic recipe). A friend of mine likes to add ginger to her syrup and I thought that was a great idea because of the warming effect of ginger. Warming herbs and spices help to break up congestion and help the nasal passages to drain. Sometimes I add rose hips to my concoction because it is very high in vitamin C. Also, essential oils like lemon or thieves (a Young Living blend) can be added once the syrup is made to enhance it even further.
Garlic is really one of my go to herbs for a lot. It has so many anti-microbial properties that it helps get rid of a lot of nasty stuff. Garlic oil is simple to make and you only need two ingredients – garlic and olive oil. I talk about making it in this post where I used it as an ear oil remedy. Garlic oil can be used as ear oil as explained in that post or it can be rubbed on the skin or taken internally. This is a good one for small children since it can be used topically. I am using this one on my 1 year old now. Whenever I change his diaper I rub some garlic oil on his feet and put socks on (which he loves to pull off).
Diffusing Essential Oils
I love to diffuse essential oils even when no one is sick. It's a natural way to freshen the air and also provides health benefits. I often diffuse lavender because it smells great and it calms my children (and me). I use a diffuser similar to this one found on Amazon (I think the one I have is discontinued now). Once I notice the sniffles I make sure to run a diffuser in my children's bedroom while they sleep. The oils fill the air and as they breathe them in it soothes their symptoms and assists the body in healing. Some oils I use for colds and congestion include eucalyptus, thieves, R.C. (a Young Living blend), and lavender.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt is one of my detox tools. Adding some epsom salt to the children's bath is an easy thing to do since I am already bathing them anyway. I am not scientific about it I just add a handful or two. Espom salts help to pull toxins out of the body through the skin. One thing to note is that it's important to drink water afterwards to help replenish the body.
Herbal tea is so soothing when you feel a cold coming on. There is something about the warm feeling it creates that instantly makes me feel better. My daughter loves to drink tea with me so it's another easy way to get some herbs into her when she needs it. If you need help enticing your children to drink tea try getting a kids tea set and make it a tea party. Some herbs I use for tea are chamomile, echinecea, and elder flower.
I use a combination of all of these remedies when I notice the first signs of a cold and it usually helps knock things out pretty quickly. It addition to all of these things its important to keep in mind that a healthy diet is top priority. I make sure not to allow sweets and to offer lots of warm broths and soups to help the body get rid of all the nasty bugs.
Want to learn more things you can do to help your children when they get a cold? Check out the online course I've created with my friend Wendi (who's also been a pediatric nurse for 20 years), it's called A Parent's Guide to Natural Remedies. If you enjoyed these tips, you'll LOVE this course!