Your glassy-eyed child stares up at you, coughs in your face, and then whimpers the words you knew were coming: “I don’t feel good.” Cold and flu season has officially arrived at your home. While these seasonal maladies take time to run their course, some natural DIY remedies can help speed things along, make your child more comfortable, and increase the chances of a good night’s sleep—for both of you.
Honey: A teaspoonful of honey can help halt a nagging cough. Honey (particularly dark, thick buckwheat) is rich in immune-boosting antioxidants that could help your honey get better faster. Its thick, smooth consistency also works to coat a raw throat, calming that nagging cough that can make sleep elusive. (Don’t give honey to children under 1 year due to the risk of infant botulism, a type of food poisoning.) Adding honey to a cup of hot tea offers even more benefits, says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods that Could Save Your Life. “Tea works as a bronchodilator that opens airways and can actually help with breathing,” says Grotto.
Chicken soup: If the sound of a sneeze triggers your maternal urge to make chicken soup, there’s good reason: Chicken soup is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help shorten a cold. The steam from a hot cup of soup can open nasal passages in the same way a hot shower does, and studies also suggest that chicken marrow might have some immune-boosting properties, says Grotto. Season your soup with herbs like garlic, ginger, basil, oregano, and cilantro, which help fight bacteria in the body, says Grotto.