Doctor-approved strategies for battling the sniffles
There's a time and a place for antibiotics and other medications, but when it comes to ailments like sniffles or constipation, tried-and true natural treatments often work just as well as over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Meant to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself, these treatments come without fears about mystery ingredients. After all, lemons don't come with warning labels and potential side effects.
Of course, it's important to note that just because something is natural doesn't necessarily mean it's safe. If you're considering a homespun remedy for one of the common kid ailments below, you should bounce the idea off of your pediatrician first.
Use rolled-up towels or stuffed animals under the mattress, so your child's head and chest are elevated while sleeping. This will help decrease problems with postnasal drip.
Either invest in a humidifier or simply close the bathroom door and run a hot shower. The moisture will help loosen nasal passages and clear congestion from head colds.
In a recent cough-and-cold study
by Ian Paul, M.D., of Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine, this was rated as the best cough remedy. "It's thick and syrupy, and it coats where the irritant receptors are," explains Paul. It also causes salivation, which prevents dry coughs, and it is rich in antioxidants. Give kids 1 to 5 years old 1/2 teaspoon, kids 6 to 11 one teaspoon, and kids 12 and older two teaspoons. Though honey can sometimes lead to botulism in infants, it's fine for older kids.
Have older kids gargle with it. The salt draws water out of the inflammations caused by bacteria and other germs and kills anything that may be thriving in the warm, wet environment.
Real Ginger Ale
Oddly enough, store-bought ginger ale doesn't contain ginger, but the plant can help with nausea. Make your own by combining ginger, lemon rind, honey, boiling water, and seltzer to taste. Or you could just steep ginger slices in hot water to make tea.
Have them drink it in tea or take it diluted in a homeopathic product, like Hyland's colic tablets
. (Be sure to talk to your doctor before giving it to a baby under 1, though.)
Dehydrated babies with upset stomachs will often refuse bottles but are willing to nurse for comfort.
Food is flexible in a way that plastic teethers aren't, and it's meant to go in mouths (which might help keep babies from thinking it's okay to chew on their toys). Celery and asparagus can reach back teeth, and bagels are good for front and side ones. Just be sure to use items that are big enough to avoid the risk of choking.
make homeopathic teething tablets with camilia, a homeopathic medicine made from the Chamomilla vulgaris
plant, which helps soothe painful gums, restlessness, and irritability.
Fresh pears, apricots, peaches, and dried fruit can work wonders. For babies too young to chew, boil a prune in water, then puree it.
Flaxseed or Psyllium Seed
Sprinkle it on food or mix it into easy-to-eat items like yogurt for kids older than two years. Just be sure to check with your doctor about recommended amounts, as the results can be intense for kids.