Kids get sick. It’s a fact of life that every parent has to deal with, especially in the child’s first year outside the home, when noses seem to run at a similar rate to that of the Niagara Falls. Whether your child is in nursery, daycare, preschool, or camp, he or she is surrounded by germs and other snotty-nosed kids who are touching, licking, and slobbering over the very same toys that your little one is playing with.
Since germs are everywhere, your children are bound to get sick once in a while. If your child has a fever for more than three consecutive days, it’s time to visit the doctor.
If you haven’t gotten to that point yet, cut down on your doctor visits and on your purchases of prescriptions and over-the-counter meds by using these proven homemade remedies.
- Ginger root: Ginger is a safe and well-known cure for upset stomach and nausea. Make ginger tea using a knob of ginger in a cup of hot water. Natural ginger ale works wonders too!
- Peppermint: Peppermint tea and peppermint extract can help to settle a queasy stomach. It can relieve stomach issues like constipation, bloating, cramping, and flatulence.
- Fennel: Another well-known natural stomach remedy, fennel helps to boost digestion and relieve gas, bloating, and flatulence. Make fennel tea using a tea bag or some fennel seeds, or have your child eat some raw fennel (if he is willing).
- Heating pad: Your little one will feel comforted with a warm compress on her stomach to distract her from the cramping and pain. Use a hot water bottle instead of an electric heating pad for young children.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
- Liquids and electrolytes: If your kid has diarrhea or is vomiting — or both — it’s time to focus on liquid intake. Dehydration is a real danger when your little one can’t keep anything down. Water is a good start, but offer your child juice as well to replenish lost electrolytes.
- BRAT diet: Feed your child simple foods that won’t further upset the stomach. The BRAT diet, recommended for those who have diarrhea and who are vomiting, includes Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and T
- Full-fat yogurt: The probiotics in the yogurt will help to rebalance the bacteria in your child’s gut, and the fat may help to stop the diarrhea.
- Focus on “P” fruits: Peaches, pears, plums, peas, and prunes are all excellent cures for constipation. Better yet, make a compote using apples, pears, and prunes with some cinnamon. This will definitely get things going.
- Movement and exercise: You can help to kick the digestive system into high gear by getting your child to move around — especially her lower body. For infants and toddlers, try doing a bicycle movement by laying your child on his or her back and moving the legs back and forth in a bicycle motion. This helps to move gas through and may stimulate the digestive system enough for a bowel movement.
- Gentle massage: You can stimulate the digestive system manually by moving your hands gently in the natural direction of the colon — starting from the bottom right of the child’s tummy, sweeping up to just under the rib cage, then across to the left side, and down, in clockwise circles.
- Make sure they’re drinking enough: Constipation may be a sign that your child is not getting enough liquids. Carry a water bottle around and offer it to your child to drink often.
- Saline rinse: If your child is over 6 months old, you can help them reduce the intensity and duration of their runny or stuffy nose with regular saline rinses. It helps to loosen the mucus, and the salt draws out water from inflamed areas of the sinuses, allowing your child to breathe more easily. Make your own saline solution by mixing salt with boiled water that has been cooled to room temperature, or pick up some saline solution up at the pharmacy. Put a few drops into your child’s nostril and then immediately suck it out using a bulb syringe. Repeat up to three times a day.
- Steam: Run the shower in your bathroom at the hottest temperature and close the bathroom door. After a few minutes, your bathroom will have turned into a steam room. Bring your child in and sit with him for a few minutes as the steam clears his sinuses.
- Eucalyptus essential oil: Eucalyptus is a decongestant and an expectorant, so it helps to clear all breathing airways. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the hot shower during a steam, put a few drops in your child’s bath, or put a few drops in the water of the humidifier in your child’s room.
- Eucalyptus vapor rub: In general, eucalyptus is an excellent expectorant, which means that it helps to loosen mucus so that it can be easily coughed up. Do any of the eucalyptus remedies mentioned above, or make your own homemade vapor rub using coconut oil mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
- Honey: If your child is over 1 year old, give him some warm water or tea with honey. The honey helps to loosen mucus and it is antibacterial and antiviral, which means it can prevent that cough from developing into a more serious infection.
- Steam: Just like steam helps to loosen mucus in the sinuses, it also helps to clear the lungs. Use the same method mentioned above.
- Honey and lemon: Make your child a comforting warm beverage of honey and lemon to soothe a sore throat. The antimicrobial properties of honey help to prevent infection.
- Raw garlic: If you can somehow convince or trick your kid into eating raw garlic, that’s a huge win. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that is proven to have antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. It will kick any pathogen straight in the butt, and it works right away.
- Marshmallow root: Marshmallow root coats the throat to reduce irritation. You can probably find marshmallow root tea at a nearby health food store or supermarket.
- Salt water gargle: If your child is old enough, have her gargle a cup of warm salt water, which helps to reduce swelling and irritation.
Sometimes, a nasty cold or virus will just need to run its course. Rest, home remedies, and lots of love will help to speed healing. Antibiotics are not always the answer, so never push your child’s pediatrician to write a prescription for antibiotics unless your child has been tested and it is confirmed that he or she has a bacterial infection.
With help from these home remedies, your child should have a quick and speedy recovery!