This year probably brought in more calls regarding the flu virus, head colds and bronchitis than any other year in our practice. As someone who rarely gets sick, I was over whelmed with symptoms that had me considering a 9-1-1 call so someone could put me out of my misery. I reminded myself however, just as I did all my clients, patience is the best medicine.
Even the most naturally minded get desperate at times, considering NyQuil or worse, a hammer to the head. Interestingly, over-the-counter medications for children under the age of two were pulled from stores shelves in 2008. Little proof existed that these remedies were effective, or even eased symptoms. A multitude of studies have shown that simple remedies can be helpful and accessible in most family’s homes. Next time you find yourself in a similar situation, you might try:
- Drinking plenty of hot, steaming liquids
- Taking a hot shower or creating a steam bath by running hot water into the sink and covering your head with a towel draped over the top
- Use essential oils like Eucalyptus to help unclog stuffed sinuses
- Try oil of oregano or colloidal silver, with their anti-viral and anti-bacteria qualities
- Consume extra vitamin C and B vitamins, either through food or supplements
- Drink herbal teas, such as Breathe Easy
- Use hot compresses to reduce sinus swelling
- Try the traditional homemade chicken soup, loaded with garlic and onions
- Buckwheat honey can ease nighttime coughing and sleeplessness, start with 1/2 to 1 tsp in children although avoid entirely in children under one year of age
- Saline solution can be helpful in washing the noses of little babies with congestion. Combine 1/2 teaspoon of table salt per 1 cup of warm water. Put two to three drops in the nostril and use a nasal aspirator to suction it out. Older children and adults can gargle saline solution for sore throats.
- Children older than 2 may enjoy a topical vapor rub for chest and nose congestion. A 2010 study found that vapor rub containing camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oils relieves symptoms and aids sleep in children with colds.
- If symptoms last longer than a week or if a fever persists for more than two to three days, call your healthcare provider. If your child has severe ear pain that does not go away or a sore throat accompanied by fever and swollen neck, call your provider right away.