4 Safe Home Remedies to Help Your Child Fight the Flu
Don’t you have a feeling that we live in the land of a perpetual sickness at the moment? It seems everyone around is feeling under the weather and is taking their turn with the various cold and flu viruses. And our children are the ones who are most susceptible to the germs that they invariably end up picking up from preschools, playgrounds and by just playing with other kids.
The flu outbreak has been really bad this year to the point of even getting dangerous and taking lives. I’ve already written a very comprehensive blog post on everything that parents need to know about the flu. If you haven’t read it yet, do head there first. It’ll help you understand what is flu, what are the symptoms and how we can protect our children from it.
But what if you took all the precautions, and unfortunately, despite all your efforts… your child still gets the flu? Today I want to talk about some safe home remedies that could ease your little one’s condition.
How to Treat the Flu
The worst thing for any mother is to see her child being miserable from sickness, any sickness. And of course, often the first reaction is to head to the local pharmacy and get some magic medicine that will cure your baby right away.
But that’s the last thing you would want to do! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that over-the-counter medications can be dangerous for children younger than 5 years old.
When it comes to flu, only antiviral drugs can lessen the symptoms and shorten the time that we are sick. In the United States, antiviral drugs are prescription medicines so with the first flu symptoms you should consult with your pediatrician to get a prescription. There are three FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one of which is Tamiflu. Tamiflu is the one that can be given to children that are 2 weeks and older. You can read more about antiviral drugs in my blog post here.
You need to understand that even if your child is prescribed an antiviral drug and you start the treatment, it usually takes from 5 to 10 days for the flu to run its course. Getting caught off guard and being completely unprepared will put even more stress on you. You should be ready to stay at home and offer lots of comfort to your little one so that getting through the illness feels somewhat easier.
4 Natural Home Remedies
I feel like I write about humidifiers in all of my blog posts, but this is indeed one of the essential items in your child’s room during the fall-winter season. The flu virus lives longer in dry air, so by using a humidifier, you can significantly reduce its life. Plus breathing moist air helps loosen the mucus in the nasal passages and makes sleeping and resting so much easier for your sick child.
Just make sure you follow instructions and regularly clean your humidifier. If you leave water in it, mold and bacteria can accumulate inside and then spray into the air which you certainly want to avoid.
Giving your child a warm bath in a steamy bathroom is another way to ease coughing and stuffy nose. If your little one is particularly cranky you can even let him play in the tub as long as he wants. You’ll be surprised how much this eases his condition. Or even if you don’t feel like giving your baby a bath, sitting in a steamy bathroom for 10-20 minutes can help too.
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of essential oils. So for an additional soothing effect, you can use essential oil vapor during bathtime. The one below is safe for babies and toddlers 6 months and up. With younger babies what you can do is not actually bathe your baby in it, but just add some to a basin of hot water and let your baby breathe in the air.
2. Saline Drops and Nasal Aspirator
Saline drops (saltwater) is the only 100% safe and natural solution that you can use to clear your child’s nose starting from newborn and up. You should NOT use any other decongestant sprays for a child younger than 5 years old. And even for older kids, those aren’t safe or effective. This is the one I use for my son.
Cleaning your child’s nose with a nasal aspirator can also help him with a stuffy nose. Although this is something most kids hate. Don’t suction too often, as you might irritate his little sensitive nose.
I normally avoid using wipes and just prefer water. That being said, when my son has a runny or stuffy nose I use these saline wipes. I noticed that they help with soothing, as they also contain aloe, chamomile and, vitamin E.
3. Plenty of fluids
You will notice a drop in appetite when your child is sick, which is normal. Don’t force feed him, offer lots of fluids instead. Plain water or water with lemon and any other citrus, smoothies, broth, light soups (chicken soup is the best) are all good to keep your child well hydrated and nourished.
If your baby is younger than 6 months simply breastfeed or bottle-feed him more frequently. If your baby’s stuffy nose interferes the breastfeeding, you can try moving to a steamy bathroom or turn on a humidifier.
4. Antiviral foods (1 year and older)
When it comes to fighting all kinds of viruses and boosting our immune system, the most effective and safest way is adding more antiviral foods to our diet. Antiviral foods inhibit the development of viruses in our body and reduce inflammation. As a side note, I have a separate blog post on some other natural ways to boost your child’s immune system.
The 4 antiviral superfoods that you would want to incorporate into your child’s diet right away are:
- Elderberry – this is probably the best general immune system booster out there and is considered a powerhouse of benefits for our health. Elderberry has been proven to fight cold and flu symptoms and reduce the illness by more than half.
- Garlic – the earlier you start introducing garlic into your child’s diet the better. Garlic is extremely effective at killing some of the most common infections that lead to flu complications, including pneumonia. Plus it’s a natural ear and eye infection remedy.
- Ginger – prevents the accumulation of toxins in our body that makes us susceptible to viral infections. In addition, ginger help with alleviating pain and nausea.
- Raw honey – The benefits of honey are endless: it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Honey is a great antioxidant, helps digestive system, boost immunity, excellent remedy for all types of infection. Plus, honey does wonders in soothing the sore throat and helping with a cough. Just remember to NOT give honey to a baby younger than 1-year-old.
When my son starts to show any type of cold symptoms, I make him a super drink (as I call it). I add half a teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 tsp of raw honey and juice of a half lemon to a cup of lukewarm water. This drink, along with the elderberry syrup, of course, helps fight all types of viruses.
I know that as a mom you hate to see your little one feeling terrible. And you’d certainly do anything to make it go away. I really hope that some of these home remedies will help you with this. In addition to all the above, your child needs you. So lots of cuddles and mom love and he’ll feel better in no time!
If you have any other favorite products that help your little one fight cold and flu viruses, please let me know in the comments. I love hearing from you!
And please do share this post with your mom friends if you think they would benefit from it. Sharing is caring! 🙂
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