caring for sick littles, naturally

The weather hasn’t been able to make up its mind over the past month.  Between the rain, the tiny snowflakes, the sun and warm temperatures, sickness has invaded our household.

Poor Harper has gotten the worst of what colds have to offer.  Her nose is red from rubbing, her cough is big and heart-breaking for mama to listen to, and she struggles to sleep solidly at night.  After two long nights of Terry and I alternately going into Harper’s room to snuggle and sooth her, I decided that the cold needed to be dealt with rather than letting it run it’s course.

Here are some of our natural cold-fighting remedies…

1. Chamomile tea.  I put water in the tea kettle and take the kettle off the burner right before boiling.  I steep the tea bag for about 5 minutes so the tea can get as much chamomile flavor in it as possible.

To cool it down, I either place 3-4 ice cubes in the tea or I stick the cup in the fridge for a few minutes- the tea needs to be warm, but not burn their mouths.  Both girls will drink it straight from the mug, but I often find it’s easier to pour it into their travel cups.

2. Honey-soaked onion as cough syrup.  I cut up half a medium onion, place it in a bowl & cover the onion in honey.  Cover the dish and let it sit overnight.  In the morning, strain out the honey syrup into another bowl.

My girls and I will simply eat a teaspoonful of the honey syrup by itself, but it can also be easily mixed into warm tea.  We have a few teaspoons each per day.  It really does help!  It smells like onion, but for some reason, it doesn’t taste like onion.  I can’t explain the flavor, but it is very interesting.

3. Plain, local, raw honey.  We eat a LOT of raw honey to combat seasonal allergies, but it can also help with colds.  My preference is mixing about 1T of honey with a generous sprinkle of honey, warm it a little so it mixes easily, and serve it on toast.  It can also be eaten straight off the spoon :)

4. Humidifier.  After our move, we discovered that our humidifier didn’t survive the trip.  We have yet to replace it, but humidifiers are a great way to ease a nasty cough.  You can also add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the humidifier (side note: essential oil is NOT intended to be ingested!).

5. Warm bath/ steam shower.  Add 2-3 inches of warm, almost-hot water to the bath tub and put the sick little in the tub.  Continue to run the water so that the bathroom steams while the little bathes.  Place warm wash cloths on her back and chest and alternate them with warmer wash cloths every few minutes.  Next, rinse wash cloths in cold water and alternately place them on chest and back for another few minutes.  Usually, the warm part of the bath lasts about 10-15 minutes and the cold part lasts about 3 minutes.  Bundle up the little in a towel and then into warm, snuggly PJs or clothes.  I’ve heard it recommended to do this a few times a day, but we just do it in the evening before bed.

Alternately, bring the little into a steamy bathroom when the shower is running.  The steam does wonders for loosening congested noses!

6. Garlic with or without raw honey.  This is reserved for when we are VERY sick, because we prefer our garlic cooked and mixed with veggies :)  Crush a clove of garlic, cover with raw honey & gulp it down three times a day- for an adult, 3 cloves/ day, for a child, 1 clove/ day.  My girls (2 and 3 years old) will take it, but I sometimes have to bribe them with a little treat.  You can also skip the honey, but I am not one who can eat garlic without something else!

I think that covers all of our remedies :)  Any other natural solutions for littles?

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