Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Sniffles

My daughter has been in school all of five days and early Friday morning, I awoke to the grating melody of two young children, hacking in harmony. Not only did she pick up a case of the sniffles, she brought it home and shared it with her little brother. I was expecting her to catch more colds since she now spends a great deal of time in a classroom with other children, but I didn't think it would happen so quickly.

Luckily, I acted fast and took a proactive approach to help stop the sniffles in their tracks....or at the very least, shorten the bug's stay in my children's little bodies. I'm happy to report that their colds have not worsened and have, dare I say, improved. And better yet, there was no running to the pharmacy, no hours wasted in a waiting room. I had everything I needed right here at home. Save your time, your money, and your sanity. Natural medicines work, and I feel, are the best line of defense when it comes to children. They are so small and so delicate...no need to bombard them with chemical medicines unless something is really wrong! Here's my general "protocol" when it comes to colds in our house:

  • Elder Flower- Black elder flowers are wonderful for boosting the immune system. If taken at the first sign of the sniffles, it can significantly shorten the duration and severity of the cold. Really. My kids have been taking an elder berry syrup with echinacea and astragulus, twice a day, since symptoms started to appear. The cold seems to have stalled and they are on the up!

  • Peppermint-To soothe a cough, I make a little mug of peppermint tea with honey and offer it before bed. Peppermint tastes yummy and helps to clear up any congestion. The honey coats the throat and eases scratchiness. Mullein is also excellent for colds. If you have some, toss in a handful with your peppermint for an added boost.

  • Eucalyptus Oil-If the cold does manage to hit your child head on, eucalyptus oil does wonders for a stuffy head. Mix a drop or two of eucalyptus oil with any carrier (we use almond oil) and rub it on your child's chest. My kids love this treatment and ask for a "sick rub" even when they're well!

  • Garlic- Garlic is truly a wonder drug. It has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years! It's antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and so much more. When I have a house full of sickies, I cook with lots of garlic. I usually do anyway but I really step it up if someone has a cold. You can smell us coming from a mile away!

  • Rest and Hydrate- This can be difficult with children, especially if they aren't really feeling all that bad. Most kids power through a cough and a runny nose but if you can get them to slow down, the problem will resolve itself much more quickly. I try to encourage "slow" activities like reading, coloring or painting to keep them from running, wrestling and engaging in other mayhem that will aggravate symptoms.

How do you take care of a case of the sniffles?



  1. Garlic, tea and honey and I'm still ticking. Should of had some of that yummy medicine that J loves and K hates!!!

  2. Ohhhh Good to know! My little one has the sniffles now!

  3. This is great! My 3 year old twin daughters are suffering this summer with runny noses and will try some of these.