My Favorite {Simple} Cough and Cold Remedies

Or I could alternately title it: "What to do when your three year old is barking like a seal and your one year old's nose is running like a faucet."

Because that's pretty much been life the last two weeks. Thankfully the seal barking (viral croup) didn't last very long, but the nasty, hacking cough and runny nose is still hanging around with my three youngest kidlets. 

I will admit to being quite slow when it comes to taking my kiddos to the doctor for these types of things.  Unless they've had it for a week or more and then start running a fever (indicating that the viral infection has now turned bacterial), we just try to ride it out.  

Why try home remedies?  Well, treating the symptoms in natural ways can go a long way in helping that runny nose not turn into a sinus infection or bronchitis. Also, having some basic "how to make them feel better without giving them medicine" remedies really helps when you have family members who take daily medications.  My daughter for instance, has complex heart defects and takes 3 different heart medications daily.  Just about every "cough and cold" product is a "no-no" for her because it can cause side effects dangerous to her heart, or counter-act with her current meds.  

Today I'm sharing my favorite "cough and cold" treatments (and one medicine!) that I use when my family members are sick like this.  

1.  Tea is wonderful for soothing those sore throats, but can also be very effective for certain ailments.  For instance, I've been making a brew of peppermint, chamomile and mullein leaf for my littles that are congested in their chest.  I always add raw honey and fresh lemon to it as well.  Kiddos can't drink it nice and hot like adults, but it doesn't matter, the tea will still help.   (The Bulk Herb Store is a great place to read up on the different uses for herbs, you will learn a lot!

2.  Honey can be your lifesaver when your kiddos are coughing so badly that they can't sleep. Our oldest son, born at 28 weeks, has struggled with asthma since he was 8 months old.  And I've lost count of how many times he's had bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, RSV, etc.  But when you have a child with asthma, cough suppressants are NOT okay.  Coughing is their life line.  A spoonful of honey (local is best) to ease the coughing spasms works like magic!  Just let them lick it off and they'll be feeling better in no time.  

3.  Lemons are like edible sunshine. =)  When I have sick kiddos, I put lemons in their water and tea.  The lemon juice will help cut through the mucous in their throat, add needed vitamin C, and just simply make their water taste good so they'll drink more.  Fluids are SO important...above all else, encourage your kiddos to drink lots of water!  

4.  With coconut oil and eucalyptus oil, you won't be needing any more of that Vick's stuff.  I just put a blob of oil in a medicine cup, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil, mix it up and put in on their chest.  Breathing it in will help "open them up" so they can breathe better and cough more effectively. You could also add a drop of lavender oil to sooth your child if they are having trouble sleeping. (Trader Joe's is my favorite place for organic coconut oil, and I get my essential oils through Puritan's Pride.)

5.  Guaifenesin...I know, not a "all-natural home remedy", but it's great stuff.  Plain ole' guaifenesin (a.k.a. Robitussin) with no other meds added to it, is extremely effective for chest colds.  It is an expectorant, thinning the mucous and lubricating the throat, so coughs will be more effective and you can, well, cough up that nasty stuff.  Our daughter with heart problems can even take this since it doesn't interact with her heart medications, and doesn't cause any side affects.  (As always, ask your pediatrician before using, especially with a baby, or if your child has other health problems or takes other medication.)

6.  Now this is NOT for consumption, but Tea Tree Oil can be your best cleaning friend when you have sickies in the house.  If you haven't ever heard of it, Google it and you'll find some amazing things.  You can make your own homemade disinfectant (find my recipe here) or just add a few drops to an all natural cleaner like Mrs. Meyers.  I even add a few drops to the hand soap in the bathroom for extra germ killing power. Many times I'll put some tea tree oil in the washing machine when I'm doing the sheets and/or anything I know they've wiped their nose on!  Seriously, my 3 year old is still working on the whole tissue thing...goodness, he just grabs anything and wipes his nose with it! GAH!  Or just uses his sleeve...it's gross!  Please tell me I'm not the only mother whose child does this! (I buy my Tea Tree Oil at Walmart in the vitamin section.)

So there you have it, a little round up of what we do to treat the nasty coughs and colds around here.  Of course there's always homemade chicken noodle soup with lotsa garlic, fresh fruit and veggies, no refined sugars, etc. that are very helpful as well!  

P.S. I'm not a nurse or anything...just a mom with four kids, sharing what I've learned through experience.  If you have any questions or concerns, always talk to your doctor! =)  

I'm off to fix another cup of hot tea and lemon...I'm afraid my sweet little people have shared the virus with me.  Again. =/

Hope ya'll have a wonderful day!

What are your favorite "home remedies?"  Has your household been plagued with the sickies lately?

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  1. We make lemon water all year round, and it really does help prevent sickness! We also use vitamin C crystals, which dissolve easily in juice or tea. My children have not had a cold in about a year and a half (knock on wood, right?!) Lemon water keeps the body alkaline, which helps the immune system fight germs better.
    Hope you all feel better soon!!

    1. Thanks Leah! And we really should do the lemons year round, I know it would help. It just has been an usual year for sickness, we typically are not sick like this! Everyone says it's the weather, but I just don't know. I am thankful though that it was this winter instead of last when Lucy was a tiny baby!

  2. One of our staples is Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE). It works great for just about anything but is awesome as an antibiotic. Where the regular antibiotics kill off all bacteria, GSE only kills the bad stuff. There is one warning, though. . . it is NASTY! We found that mixing it in a smoothie is the way to go. It adds a nice little twang (that we miss when it's not there), but doesn't overpower. : )

    Hope you all feel better soon!


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