Natural Cold Remedies – Tips to Prepare for the Snot Fest
Natural cold remedies can help you prevent colds, fight off the ones you do get and shorten their duration to get you back on your feet.
With cold and flu season coming up, it is important to stock your home with natural cold remedies. And by stock, I, of course, mean earplugs so you don’t have to listen to the excessive whining. Oh, that’s just my house? Yes, my house full of males.
While I firmly believe that everyone needs germs and viruses in their lives to build a rocking immunity system, there is a difference between not sweating the small stuff…and licking public door knobs. After our horrible experience with Jack’s stomach issues that led to his hospitalization in 2015, I have become pretty vigilant about taking extra precautions during cold and flu season. Not to mention that Troy is around sick people all the time at work and is essentially a walking used tissue when he gets home. Side note/rant: don’t call 911 because you have a cold. Or your tummy kinda hurts. Or you stubbed your toe. Call a friend or drive yourself to a clinic if you feel like you need to be seen so badly. Cause when you call 911 to essentially treat them as a taxi, you are taking that ambulance and those firefighters out of rotation for a time. Should your neighbor down the road suddenly have a heart attack, your boo boo is delaying an immediate response. 911 is for legit emergencies. M’kay? Rant over.
Below, you’ll find some of my favorite tips, tricks, and products for surviving the next few months. Some are affiliate links, but all are things I use myself and purchase with my own cash money.
Natural Cold Remedies – No Brainer Hygiene
Obviously, the first thing I recommend is making sure people wash their darn hands often, especially after going to the bathroom, sneezing, etc. We have two rules in our house that I expect the kids to adhere to without question. One, they wash their hands after we’ve been out and about. They have to give their booger mitts a thorough scrubbing as soon as they get home from school. Two, shoes come off when we come in the door from somewhere. We have shoe bins near the two entrances to the house and those germ bombs are removed before they set foot inside. Not tracking additional junk inside keeps our floors a bit cleaner with little effort.
When we are out running errands, we get back in the car and I say “hands”. The boys hold their hands out, and I spray them with an organic essential oil hand sanitizer. I know the price seems a little steep, but you get six bottles. I just checked my Amazon order summary, and it shows that I purchased my last six pack two years ago this month. So yeah, it lasts a long time.
With head colds, one of the side effects is dry, raw around your nose. I apply homemade lotion bars to heal and protect the tender skin. The beeswax creates a protective barrier for your skin, and the coconut oil helps soothe the dryness.
Natural Cold Remedies – Supplements
A few years ago, my friend Angela turned me onto the concept of elderberry syrup. We both started making it ourselves around 2014 ish (Ang, help me out) once fall hits. It tastes pretty damn delicious and it isn’t remotely gross. I use this recipe but am tempted to try making it in my Instant Pot this year like this recipe. There are even DIY gummy options that look cool. I’m also exciting to try this Soothing Cold and Flu Elixir this year.
I buy my elderberries online and they last a really long time (per my Amazon order history, I bought my current bag in September 2014). Kiddos should take 1/2-1 tsp daily and adults 1/2-1 tbsp. When/if you do get a cold, take the same dosage every 4 ish hours.
My same friend Angela is really into essential oils. She doesn’t sell them (nor do I) but likes the Plant Therapy brand. I can get them on Amazon with free two-day shipping, and I can avoid the whole MLM debate with essential oil companies. Win freaking win. Angela recommended their kid-safe Germ Destroyer, so I use that on myself and Jack twice a day. Bennett is a bit too young (per the company), and Troy isn’t interested. I should point out that Troy has had two full-blown man colds in the last month, so maybe he can just shove it. A few days ago I started getting a tickle in my throat and a dry cough. I increased the roller ball usage of this stuff and the cold never really took hold. I sniffled a bit, but I always felt fine and never had to slow down and deal with it.
One thing we learned with Jack’s stomach issues is that something as simple as a common tummy bug can lead to something bigger. Any cold or stomach upset and my family gets probiotics shoved down their throats. My plan is to build the immune system from the inside out when things go awry. We take a daily probiotic during cold and flu season. I used to use Rainbow Light, but the price almost doubled in the last year. Perhaps the cultures went on strike and demanded better wages. We’re on the hunt for a new brand, and I’m scoping Costco to try something new. Please let me know if you have any recommendations! The point is, take a daily probiotic, especially during the winter months.
Jack’s pediatric gastroenterologist is our hero. He was able to pinpoint exactly what was happening with Jack and got him the help he needed immediately. I cannot tell you the relief we felt after weeks of watching him scream in pain. After Jack was released from the hospital, Dr. Pickens put him on a daily dose of a powdered probiotic. It was the hardest freaking thing to find. Thankfully Amazon has it now, but the only other place we could get it was Walgreens. He took that for three months plus some other meds and gummy probiotic to build up a healthy gut. It tastes icky so Jack isn’t a huge fan. But any sign of a tummy bug and those packets come right back out for at least a week because I trust his doctor with my whole heart. If he told me I would need to dress up like Wonder Woman every day to keep my kids healthy, well all the old Norwegians at church would get a thrill, because I would freaking do it.
There are also loads of foods with probiotics – kimchi, yogurt (a no-go for Jack when tummy issues start), sauerkraut, fermented veggies, and kefir. If you can get your family to eat these on a daily basis they will get bunches of healthy probiotics into their system.
Natural Cold Remedies – Food
Some idiot once said “starve a cold, feed a fever”. That person also likely advocated using leeches to balance the four humors. As you can imagine, I don’t recommend ever avoiding delicious and healthy food. Food can feed your soul and nourish your body and aid in your recovery.
Homemade popsicles can be a fun way to get nutrients and fluids into a sick kid or adult. They are simple to make and easy to customize to anyone’s needs and preferences.
Soup! Oh, soup. I could eat soup 365 days a year, but having it while sick somehow seems imperative. But boxed, packaged, and canned soup is usually full of junk and way more sodium than anyone could possibly need. Hands down one of the easiest soups to make even when you can barely pick up your head is homemade ramen. Heat up some chicken broth, drop in noodles, and perhaps a few potstickers if you have them. In less than 10 minutes, you have a bowl of soup to keep you going through that Stranger Things marathon you are binging on. And if you’re like me, dump a ton of fresh chili paste in the ramen. At some point in my twenties, I decided to not have any taste buds left by the time I am in my 70’s. At least with head colds, spicy stuff helps clear out my sinuses and I feel like I can sweat out some of the germs.
Tomato soup reminds me of childhood, and homemade tomato soup is easier than you think. If your throat isn’t on fire, add in a grilled cheese sandwich and suddenly you’re feasting like a boss.
Keeping hydrated with lots of liquid is important when you’re feeling under the weather. Green tea, water, and coconut water are on constant rotation in my house during times of illnesses. Coconut water is like nature’s Gatorade, without all the funky flavors and artificial colors (have you ever seen a coconut with bright blue liquid?), not to mention the excessive sugar. My favorite coconut water is the Kirkland Signature brand from Costco. The taste is delicious, and the price is the best around.
Natural cold remedies are easy to use, usually safe for kids (check labels – always), and many are very economical. Making your own can save you even more. Fighting colds and dealing with sick family members is exhausting enough. Make sure you are prepared this year for all that ails you.
What is your go-to cold and flu season must-haves?