I hesitate to use the word “remedies”. People usually understand that word to mean “cure”, but there truly is no “cure for the common cold”. I do, however, have natural treatments I use to speed recovery and reduce symptoms, when needed. This post will be about everything except herbs, the next post will have all of the herbs we use (read that post here!).
I know, I know. You’ve got so much to do and the kids are sick, too. You need to get things done- no time to rest! Don’t worry. I am not saying that you should curl up under a blanket for the whole day and do nothing (though by all means, do that if you can and want to!!). When I say to rest, here’s what I mean:
- Take breaks/naps: even just a 20 minute catnap or rest time can do amazing things! If you’re caring for kids, especially sick ones, don’t let yourself get run ragged. The dishes will still be there in 20 minutes… I promise. If the kids are sick, they need rest, too. Cancel anything you were planning to do (really, the other parents don’t want you sharing your germs) and plan some fun quiet activities. Read together, watch a Christian movie, snuggle and chat. If they want to run around, let them, but don’t drag them all over town, if you can help it.
- Make things easier: If you have some paper plates and plastic silverware stashed away, pull it out and then you won’t need to do unnecessary dishes. If you’ve made freezer meals for just such a situation, you’ll have nutritious and delicious dinners without any work, too! If you don’t have these things this time around, plan ahead for next time! There is always a “next time”, right?
- Go to be early: I understand the draw that some of us have to stay up late and “catch up” on all the things that went undone during a sick day. Resist! If you’re the one who is sick, you need to sleep so that your body can fight the virus and recover. If your kids are sick, you will be soon, too, if you don’t rest.
When you or the kids are sick, it can be so tempting to order a pizza or buy some comforting junk food. Resist!!! Your body (and theirs’) desperately needs nutrient-dense food to recover quickly. If you aren’t familiar with “real food”, this post will get you on the same page. Here are some of my favorite things to eat and serve when any of us come down with a cold.
- Chicken and Beef Broth: There are so many minerals in homemade “bone broth” or “stock” (people use several different names for it). It’s nourishing, comforting and delicious. Serve with a little Celtic sea salt or use as a base for some soup.
- Frozen Homemade Casseroles and Dinners: Our very favorite to freeze and then eat when we’re sick is my Shepherd’s Pie with either ground beef or shredded chicken. In fact, I’m making a double batch this week so that I can freeze one! We also like frozen lasagnas- homemade, of course!
- Savory Muffins: I’ll be guest-posting that recipe on Intentional By Grace in a few weeks, so be sure to watch for it. These work beautifully with the freeze now, thaw and eat later method!
- Cultured Dairy: Some people (though not all) find that dairy makes them more congested when they have a cold. If that’s the case for you or your little ones, cut out all dairy except cultured dairy (yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream) until the cold is gone. Even if uncultured dairy doesn’t cause any problems, increase your intake of the cultured kinds to give your body plenty of good bacteria to boost your health!
- Raw, unfiltered Honey: I’ll touch on this some more in part two, but go ahead and use raw, unfiltered honey in place of other sweeteners (in tea, coffee, etc.) during a cold. It’s amazing stuff!
Yes, I am going to tell you to drink more water while you’re sick! It will help prevent dehydration from prolonged or high fevers and it will help to thin mucus, reducing the risk of infection developing. Drinking it isn’t the only way to use water to help yourself!
- Humidifier: Get some moisture in the air (use a warm shower if you don’t have a humidifier) to help thin down the mucus! If you’re using the shower, just hang out in the bathroom with the shower running and the door closed. For babies and young children, be sure to avoid overheating them by removing as much clothing as necessary. When our baby had a cold, I would strip her down to her diaper and take her in the steamy bathroom for 15-20 minutes, then wrap her in a soft towel before leaving the warmth so she wouldn’t get chilled.
- Salt water: Use high-quality Celtic sea salt! Add a few pinches to warm filtered or distilled water and gargle. Also, you can use a neti pot or a dropper to use the salt water in your nose. For a baby or young child, just drip 2 to 3 drops in each nostril, then use a nasal aspirator. This will thin the mucus and help remove it. Do your very best to make this a silly game rather than a traumatic experience.
- Bath: A warm (not too hot!) bath can help you or your little ones feel better. Add some Epsom or sea salt.
Even with a really bad cold, you can still sit out on the deck or porch step for a little while for fresh air and sunshine. If it’s the middle of a hot summer, go out before the heat and humidity get bad or wait until evening. During a cold winter, spend a few minutes soaking in some sun at the warmest part of the afternoon or even sit inside in front of an open window with sunshine coming in.
- Sunshine: Just fifteen minutes outside will boost the immune system with real vitamin D! If you and your little ones are able, try to get outside a few times a day with as much exposed skin as you can manage with the weather. Synthetic vitamin D isn’t at all like what our bodies are designed to create in response to the sun, so stick to the real thing! (We’ll talk about a natural supplement to get some extra vitamin D in part two.)
- Fresh Air: Some fresh air is wonderful for increasing oxygen! If weather permits, open all your windows as much as possible to move out the virus-laden air and get plenty of fresh air inside.
Herbal remedies, essential oils and other remedies will be coming in future posts. Feel better soon!
Do you love natural remedies, too?? Here are some of our other favorites!
- Natural Remedies for Ear Infections
- Natural Remedies for Mastitis
- Natural Remedies for Abscesses
- Natural Remedies for Morning Sickness
- Our Simple Country Life: Hearts4Home
- A Delightful Home: Your Green Resource
- Natural Living Mama: Natural Living Monday
- The Better Mom
- Homestead Revival: Barnhop
- Like a Mustard Seed: Living Green Tuesday
- Time-Warp Wife: Titus 2sday
- Nature’s Nurture: Tiny Tip Tuesday
- Growing Home: Teach Me Tuesday
- Mercy Ink: Heart & Home
- Deep Roots at Home: Encourage One Another
- Women Living Well
- Frugally Sustainable: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
- Little Natural Cottage: Natural Living
- Sweet Kisses and Dirty Dishes: Healthy 2day Wednesday
- Organic Aspirations: Eco Kids