6 At-Home Remedies for Kids During Winter
By Darci Maxwell
The flu likes the winter – and studies prove it. The name “influenza” is an Italian word that originated in the 18th century as part of the phrase “influenza di freddo,” meaning “influence of the cold.” The cold, dry winter air helps winter viruses survive longer, and therefore spread to more people. However, it is not just walking outside that makes you sick. The common cold is spread through contact with surfaces that an infected person has touched, while the flu virus is airborn, floating on little respiratory droplets. The flu virus can travel up to six feet.
There are other theories as to why we get sick in the winter, such as the “enclosed space theory” and the “Vitamin D theory.” The first theory states that because many people are indoors more often in enclosed spaces, the viruses are more likely to spread. The other theory, the “Vitamin D theory” comes from the idea that during the winter, we have less exposure to the sun, so our immune systems become weaker.
Regardless of why or why not the virus spread, you’re probably reading this article because your children are sick. Being sick is both gross and obnoxious, so of course you want to get rid of the illness and symptoms as soon as possible. So whether you kids have a cold, the flu, a sore throat, stuffy nose, earaches, or norovirus (the winter stomach bug), use these six at-home remedies to help you feel better today.
It’s not just an old wive’s tale that chicken soup will make you feel better if you have a cold or the flu. Besides just being a wonderful comfort food, chicken soup it provides your body with hydration, helps increase the movement of nasal mucus, improves the function of cilia in the nose, relieves respiratory tract inflammation, and more. The soup is also full of organosulfides (from the onions and garlic), Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to combat cold and flu like symptoms and to boost the immune system. The spice helps relieve nausea, respiratory issues, and congestion. The compound inside ginger that holds anti-inflammatory properties is gingerols. It is related to capsaicin and piperine, the compounds found in chilli peppers and black peppers that make them spicy.
Ancient Egyptians used honey on wounds to help them heal. Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that slow the growth of different bacteria. Honey is also an excellent cough suppressant. Some studies even put it above dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine in easing coughs before bed, helping the subjects sleep better. Mix yourself a cup of herbal tea to ease your cold and flu symptoms by taking 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and ½ cup of hot water.
You can barely mention home remedies without covering essential oils. Essential oils are all the craze, bringing us back to our ancestors dependence on the healing properties of herbs and plants. The oils are good for helping to prevent illness as well as ease the symptoms of the season. The following oils help prevent illness (by deterring the growth of viruses as well as strengthening the immune system): cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, lemon, sweet orange, thyme, and thieves blend. This blog discusses the Legendary Blend of Thieves, a blend that includes cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary in its formula. The blend “Thieves” was created in the 15th century by thieves to help combat the plague. Essential oils that are good for treating the symptoms of cold and flu are: peppermint, lavender, melaleuca, pine, thyme, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, thieves blend, licorice root, slippery elm, marshmallow root, and echinacea.
If you have a sore throat, gargle with salt water. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into warm water, gargle it in the back of your throat, and then spit it out. It will loosen mucus (removing allergens and bacteria from the throat), prevent the spread of bacteria, and ease sore throat pain. Studies also show that if you gargle regularly before you get sick, it will help prevent respiratory tract infections.
As stated above, cold and flu viruses thrive in dry, cold environments. Putting a humidifier in your home or office will not only help you feel more comfortable, but it will decrease the illnesses’ ability to spread. It is always helpful to add a few drops of peppermint or Thieves blend to the water to put the essential oils in the air. If you do not have a humidifier, you can simulate the experience by taking a hot, steamy shower or bath.
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