It’s officially heating season again where, along with jaw-dropping utility bills, comes itchy dry skin and tiny, snotty, tissue-averse noses. Wildly vacillating temperatures and endless rain has seemingly dovetailed a long and intense allergy season right into a brutal early cold and flu season. When you’re facing sniffles and sneezes at every turn, it’s important to know how to safeguard your family while understanding that, like a fever, you can’t “treat” a cold or the flu, only manage the symptoms for your (or your child’s) comfort. It takes about a week to 10 days for a cold to run its course, so stock up on tissues (or handkerchiefs if you’re super green) and be patient.
Washing hands frequently, getting lots of sleep, eating well, and steering clear of the kid with the hacking cough at storytime (and anything he’s touching) are all important precautionary measures. But if you or your little one do catch a bug, there are several safe and natural ways to deal with the symptoms without resorting to dangerous over-the-counter kids’ cold and flu remedies (they were taken off the market completely several years ago amid claims of fatal side effects and are now back with the recommendation that they only be used for kids age four and up).
- For colds with a runny nose, try pulsatilla, a tasteless homeopathic remedy that is taken under the tongue. It can also help with emotional volatility and clingy behavior.
- Thieves oil is a great antibacterial, and also helps with congestion when rubbed onto the chest (as you would a vapo-rub). The blend of cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary originated during the plague in Europe when it was worn by thieves so as not to become infected while robbing the dead.
- Try this macrobiotic drink that is said to boost immunity: Place one teaspoon of shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce) and one thinly sliced scallion in a mug and cover with hot bancha twig tea. For optimal effect drink the tea as hot as possible. Bancha tea diluted with apple juice is great for kids.
- If your little one suffers from ear infections, try garlic drops or a visit to the chiropractor or osteopath.
For information on natural ways to combat a fever, check out my blog post from March.