Family health

Natural remedies for cold and flu season

Help your kids get through winter with these non-medicinal remedies.

By Karen Robock

Natural remedies for cold and flu season

Natural remedies for cold and flu season

Cold and flu season

Despite our best intentions — a healthy diet, lots of rest to support kids’ immune systems and vigilant handwashing and housecleaning to kill germs on commonly infectious sites like doorknobs — cold and flu season is pretty hard to avoid.

If and when your kids do get sick, Sue Love, a naturopath in Toronto, recommends these three at-home treatments.

A version of this article appeared in our November 2012 issue with the headline "Cold and flu fighters" (p.36).

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: ktaylorg/iStockphoto.com

Herbal teas

Any fluids you can get him to drink will help prevent dehydration (which can be marked by dry lips, dark or scanty urine and sunken-looking eyes). Water is best, but if he gets bored of plain H20, try a (sufficiently cooled) mint or ginger tea, which will give his immune system a boost, too.

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: ia_64/iStockphoto.com

Chicken soup

A broth made with garlic and herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage contains antimicrobial properties that will help fight infection. Plus, it’ll provide a good dose of nourishment if she’s not interested in eating.

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: Killerb10/iStockphoto.com

Steamy air

Put a cool-air humidifier in her bedroom to help break up congestion. “Add two or three drops of eucalyptus oil to the water to help thin mucus and provide even more relief,” says Love. Or, try a warm bath with the bathroom door closed to get the same effect.

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: LindaYolanda/iStockphoto.com

Flu shot update

“Virtually all kids over six months should get the vaccine,” says Jane Finlay, a paediatrician at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, but not all take kindly to needles. Luckily, the nasal mist option launched in 2010 will be even more widely available this season. FluMist isn’t covered by most provincial and private plans though, and the cost is about $25. Ask your doctor for details.

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: michaeljung/iStockphoto.com

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Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Eucalyptus Oil, $8

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: Tony Lanz

We like... Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Broth

Low Sodium, $4

Natural remedies for cold and flu seasonPhoto: Tony Lanz

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Natural remedies for cold and flu season

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