Being sick is not fun for anyone—adult and child alike. Yet, giving a child (or yourself) medicine that has ingredients you are unsure of, or you might already know you are allergic to is not right. Then it is time to seek out other alternatives. Here are a few ideas to help you kick an illness in the butt as soon as it starts.
For When You Have a Cold
1. Hot Ginger Tea
Ginger has a great taste and the natural components in ginger (called gingerol) help to relieve congestion by lessening the inflammation of the mucous membranes. Naturally, this build up contributes quite a bit to the inflammation problems which gives us sinus pressure and, quite possibly, headaches.
In addition to the help with the inflammation, getting a drink of any sort is beneficial when you are sick because your body so desperately needs fluids when you are sick.
2. Take a Hot Bath
Taking a bath in hot water is great for colds (but not the flu). Part of the reason is that the steam is good and like gingerol, it helps loosen the mucous membranes. Adding essential oil such as peppermint or tea tree oil will provide an extra benefit with the strong smell. There are lots of benefits to adding tea tree oil as well because it has an antibacterial affect.
3. Make Your Own Vapor Rub
As a child, I hated vapor rub. It smelled funky and kind of burned. I feel different about it as an adult though, loving the crackling noise that came from my nose as it broke up the congestion. A DIY vapor rub is super easy to make too! Simply combine coconut oil with several drops of peppermint essential oils and you have a great rub to place on your nose or chest to help relieve some of the pain. It smells better too!
If you plan to make enough to last a while (it can last up to three years) I recommend keeping it in a cool, dry place as coconut oil will melt if it is warmed up.
4. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup keeps coming in my news feed more often. Three years ago I had never heard of it before but this syrup is a ‘go-to' for many ailments, including low blood sugar and possible cancer prevention. I mention it here because it helps with colds as it has similar affects to the other items- helping with loosening the mucous membranes. In addition, it might kick the illness quicker because it helps with your immune system. Plus this is probably one of the best tasting remedies in this article.
I am a big fan of making your own stuff but with elderberry syrup, I recommend purchasing it from a trusted company as the berry itself will kill you and making it the wrong way will have a negative effect as well.
5. Honey and Tea
Two tablespoons of honey mixed with one cup of warm tea have been scientifically proven to help a cough better than cough suppressants. I recommend local honey as well, as this helps fight off any allergies that might be causing a problem, either now or in the future. Look for Rooibos Tea especially, known for its high levels of anti-oxidants.
For When You Have a Sore Throat
6. Warmed up Orange Juice
This idea came to me via a friend of mine. My little one was really feeling down and out, her throat hurting her the most. At the time, my friend was watching her during the day while I worked. She told me that warming up orange juice in the microwave for about half a minute really helped the ache go away. Of course, my little one got me sick within a few days, so I tried the recipe out for myself. It worked well, so I continue to use it to this day.
This sucker helps for three reasons:
- the warmth helps soothe the throat;
- the orange juice gives much-needed vitamin C;
- the liquid helps your body stay hydrated in order to help fight off the infection.
7. Warmed Up Salt Water
I feel like everyone knows this one but I must still add it in case someone does not. Part of the reason this works so well is salt water is an antibacterial.
If you cannot gargle salt water, then use the warmed up orange juice because that one you swallow just as you would any other drink.
Another tidbit of information with the salt water is to use it when you have a tooth ache as well. Sometimes the tooth ache can be caused by a particle stuck in the tooth, the salt will get it out.
8. Chamomile Steam
I was surprised to see that steam could help with a sore throat, as it seems like you would want something that directly comes in contact with your throat. It helps fight off body infection.
If you, like me, feel like you want something to directly come in contact with your throat, then a warm chamomile tea is a good way to go with this recipe.
Using peppermint in many different ways will help to soothe your sore throat. The reason for this is peppermint has menthol in it which is well-known to help with illnesses. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
One suggestion is to make a peppermint oil spray that has been diluted down. Fill it up in one of those spray bottles that cost a dollar from Walmart (or someone else).
You can also make peppermint tea or come up with a peppermint sucker recipe. This is great for colds or even stomach aches. Also- if you have a good peppermint sucker recipe, please share. I have yet to find one but know they would be just great for curing illness.
For When You Have the Flu
What is the difference between a cold and the flu? They both make you feel miserable but the flu has fevers related to it- especially in the beginning. The flu also makes you feel bad for longer.
The best example I can give is a few years ago I had the flu. It hit me very quickly,- I started feeling bad around six pm and by midnight I had a 102° fever. The following week I didn't have a fever, but I felt like death warmed over. By the end of day eight, I was feeling better but my voice was gone for another six days. It took me two weeks to be fully recovered.
Unfortunately there are people like me who cannot take the flu vaccine (I cannot because I'm allergic to it) and no natural remedy is going to cure it; however, there is a way to ease the discomfort.
So for us, or anyone who manages to get it otherwise, here are some tips:
10. Keep Well Hydrated
Using any of the drink recipes in the cold section will help you stay hydrated.
Another great recipe is warmed up lemon water. The lemon is an anti-bacterial and is used for numerous other things besides illnesses.
11. Bone Broth
Turns out chicken noodle soup to make someone feel better is not just a mental thing, grandma's go-to when you are sick might just be beneficial for scientific reasons as well. The water helps with hydration, while the meat part of the soup gives you much-needed minerals.
A great, easy recipe is: Fill a medium pot up half way with water, add bouillon cubes and once the water is boiling, add noodles until soft.
12. Take a Bath- But After the Fever is Gone
The worst part after the fever is by far the achiness. Taking a soothing bath really helps but make sure you take it after the fever has gone away. When you are already sick with a fever you feel hot which means you will want to take a hot bath that is hotter than your body already is. This could bring your fever up higher making you sicker.
13. Avoid Caffeinated Drinks
Sigh, I will probably never follow this advice as coffee is a part of my daily routine but this is the only caffeinated drink I will swallow (I don't like soda and my tea is decaf). If you, like me, cannot go without caffeine, then I recommend one cup a day.
The reason it is stated to stay away from caffeine while you are sick is that it deprives you of water.
For When You Have a Stomach Ache
Some of these recipes or cures are good for if you are able to keep food down. The great thing about bananas is it helps no matter if you are dealing with diarrhea or constipation. Bananas are an all-around tummy healer.
15. Rice Milk
Rice Milk, otherwise known as Horchata, is a great way to soothe an upset stomach. This recipe is great but if you are running a fever substitute the milk for water and omit the sweetened condensed milk. Milk sours very quickly in a feverish stomach and you will be even sicker.
16. Burnt Toast
This one is interesting but makes complete sense. Have you heard what hospitals do to someone who has ingested something that is poisonous? They give them charcoal. Likewise, burnt toast has some of the same toxin absorbers. The thought of the taste gross you out? Add some jelly.
17. Heating Pad
Heat helps with an upset stomach as well, especially if the upset stomach is because of cramping. The heat helps relax your muscles and the warmth takes away the thought of the pain.
You will find that many of the recipes that work for one thing will work for another. If you have a tummy ache, the giner ale is good for the stomach because it reduces free radicals and decreases nausea. I recommend making ginger tea versus drinking the soda but if you must have the soda, opt for the all-natural version or- better yet- make your own!
19. Get Outside
If you or your child has constipation, get outside and get moving. Sometimes being physically active can help move issues through the GI tract, whereas being inactive actually can create the problem in the first place. If they do get outside though I don't recommend tummy turning activities such as cartwheels or hanging upside down on the monkey bars.
20. Go on the C.R.A.P diet
C.R.A.P diet stands for “Cherries, Raisins, Apricots, and Prunes”. These foods are good for when you are constipated and these items are high in fiber and will help get your system moving while easing the pain, each a win-win. Combine that with non-tummy turning outdoor activities and you will be feeling better in no time. Side note: This is one area where I will recommend coffee for one simple reason- it helps.
Here's to Feeling Better
If you are still down and out, fear not, better days are coming. Having some remedies to try that do not involve medicine is nice. If it's really bad, I recommend combining the two. Also, get plenty of rest. Everything (for the most part) can wait until you are better. It is best to give one hundred precent than to give seventy-five percent and make yourself feel worse.
So, here's to feeling better!