Have you ever tried natural remedies to help your kids get over a cold or flu? In this post, I share with you the natural remedies I use to help my kids get over the flu quickly and with less severe symptoms.
First, here’s a little background on how I adopted natural remedies!
One of my job positions was as a charge nurse in a pediatric unit. I learned how quickly kids can go from bad to worse. I used to see a lot of babies come in with RSV, but in adults the symptoms just look like a common cold. An illness that affects the lungs of a child can turn into scary respiratory problems if not nipped in the bud.
In 2002, I was pregnant with my first child when I started working on the pediatric unit. As my baby grew up, I used to get so nervous when she came down with cold or flu symptoms. I took care of some very sick kids and feared for my child to get as sick as the kids I took care of.
It was painful to watch babies and toddlers in mist tents away from their mother’s arms. These memories sunk deep for me because my first born was the same age as the children I was taking care of.
If my little girl got sick, I would hold her in my arms and rock her during the night. I watched her to make sure she was OK and sometimes I’d stay up most of the night between dozing to ensure her safety. I felt so helpless when my little girl got sick, and that’s an awful feeling to have as a mom.
Being a nurse, I felt confident in the hospital around machines and medication to help people, but I was ignorant to natural remedies. All of my education and practice was on conventional medicine.
The Day I Lived One of My Worst Nightmares
As a nurse, I worried so much about my family. I felt like I knew too much about potential childhood illnesses.
And one day, I lived one of my worst nightmares!
When my daughter was seven years old she developed a fever and didn’t look good at all. I took her to the doctor and we waited in the waiting room for nearly two hours. As she sat there, I watched my daughter look sicker and sicker. We found out it was the flu, and the doctor told me to give her Tylenol and bed rest.
On the way home from the doctor, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw my daughter have a seizure in the car. Immediately, I pulled off the road and called 911. She was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where I worked. Before the ambulance took off, the paramedic had alerted me that they would only turn on the sirens if it got life-threatening.
I will never forget the horror I felt as I was watched the lights flash as I followed in my car as closely as I could. Then, soon after, the ambulance lights turned to sirens and sped up.
My heart sank even more as I feared for my daughter’s life! The ambulance with my daughter was soon out of my view as I couldn’t drive fast enough to keep up.
When I got to the emergency room I was given a report that my daughter seized twice in the ambulance. The ER nurse said it was a critical situation as I watched the room full of medical staff attending to her.
After my daughter was stabilized, she was transferred to the best children’s hospital in the area where she was monitored and given an antiviral IV treatment. The only explanation the pathologist could give is that the flu virus went to her brain which they said does not happen too often.
On that note, I worked a lot at the time and didn’t spend a lot of time with my daughter. She had a horrible diet because she was packing her own breakfast and lunch, which was usually packaged “health” shakes that are full of sugar, and packaged snacks; plus she ate a lot of sweets from friends at school and after school care.
I came to find out later that year that she was having chronic stomach aches and constipation, and she was trying to hide it from me. Her immune system was not supported from her poor diet of gluten, lowfat milk, sugar, and overall, too many processed foods.
This was a wake up call for me, and one of several reasons why I eventually left my nursing job to be a stay at home mom and committed my life to exploring optimal health and natural wellness.
Thankfully, she has never had a seizure since, but this situation forever shaped how I recognize flu symptoms and tend to them right away at home!
When I Learned About Natural Remedies
When my journey to natural health and wellness started, I perked up and listened really hard when I started to hear that there were natural remedies to help strengthen the immune system, which in turn helped to get over the flu.
Now when my kids get sick with a cold or flu virus, or if I know they have been exposed, I go into all out war with the virus we’re fighting. I use natural methods to help their immune systems to fight.
There are actually a lot of natural remedies that can help with flu or cold symptoms. In this post, I’m sharing what I did to help my kids with their latest bout with the flu. But, there are elderberry, echinacea, silver hydrosol, and several vitamins that can be of great benefit.
I don’t need to use every single natural remedy out there. I just keep several on hand, preferably remedies with a longer shelf life since we hardly kick sick. I start to use them at the first sign of prodromal symptoms; which can be general malaise, feeling achy, a fever, or even the glossy-eyed look when you just know something is off.
I just have to add, there is no cure for the flu. It’s just a fact of life that all kinds of viruses and bacteria can make us sick at times, but there are natural remedies that can decrease the severity of the symptoms or help us get over the symptoms quicker by supporting our immune system to do its job.Here's an important tip! Natural remedies work best when used at the first sign of illness and consistently until symptoms start to improve.Click To Tweet
***This is not medical advice, it’s just a testimony of what I did to help my kids get over the flu quicker and with less severe symptoms.***
Natural Remedies I Give My Children for the Flu
Immediately, I start with Oscillo. The long name is Oscillococcinum and it’s a homeopathic remedy for flu symptoms. They are tiny beadlets that dissolve in the mouth, and preferably not with a meal. My kids love the taste of Oscillo, and it’s the silver lining to being sick for them.
It’s safe for kids ages 2 and older, up to three times a day, spaced at least 6 hours apart. I buy mine from Thrive Market for 30 doses which is the cheapest place I’ve found, but it’s also available on Amazon for a little more. A 30 dose pack of Oscillo can get my family through one round of the flu since it’s most important to take in the beginning.
Then, I set up the diffuser and diffuse essential oils that are little kid safe.
For kids, my preference is Bergamot, Lavender, and Cedarwood essential oils. They are gentle and calming oils, but powerful for building up the immune system.
Make sure your source for essential oils is a good one because some companies add synthetics which takes away from the benefit of essential oils. I use doTERRA brand, but I also hear good things about Plant Therapy and Young Living brands.
Apply essential oils topically. For kids 2 and over, I recommend a 2% dilution. I have a dilution cheat sheet in the Aroma Mama resource library that you can print off if you need help figuring out drops.
I choose a few essential oils that benefit the immune system and I’ll make a dilution with unscented lotion or a carrier oil in a jar. Then, I’ll have enough to last a few days to apply to the kids back and neck (over the lymph nodes) every few hours.
Probiotic for Kids
My kids use doTERRA PB Assist Jr. It tastes like a sour powdered candy so it’s a treat for them.
Vitamin C is easy to find as a liquid or chewable supplement, and it’s inexpensive. Citrus fruits have a lot of Vitamins C too. I was out of supplement form so I was feeding my kids mandarins that I had on hand. This is the Vitamin C I usually buy and my kids like it.
I have liquid drops that I buy from my functional medicine doctor and gave my kids a few drops a day. This is a similar liquid Vitamin D from a brand that I know and trust.
Drink More Water
Everyone keeps a tall cup of water nearby so my kids remember to keep drinking water throughout the day.
Have Less Sugar
Avoid foods that contain added sugar since sugar lowers the immune system which allows the virus to grow. Raw honey in moderation is fine because it contains immune-boosting properties. This is my favorite brand of honey to buy for health benefits and taste.
Avoid Foods That Are Known Food Intolerances
The night my daughter came down with the flu when she was seven, I had taken her out to eat and all she ate was french fries. Since then, I’ve come to learn that she has a potato intolerance and eating potatoes compromises her immune system.
Get More Rest
I keep my kids home and indoors when they are sick, even if it means skipping church! Plus, it’s so easy for viruses to spread from a cough, sneeze or runny nose, and we don’t want to get anyone else sick.
Cupping and Clapping
This is something I use to do for my pediatric patient’s in the hospital when they had chest congestion. I own a stethoscope so I listen to my kids lungs, but sometimes all I need to do is put my ear to their chest or back and can hear if there’s wheezing or other unusual sounds.
The technique is simple, all I do is cup my hands (cupping) and pat on their bare back quickly and gently (clapping) trying to make a suction. My kids actually like it and consider it a massage, and they usually laugh when I do it. I make sure to do this especially before bedtime when kids tends to feel worse.
More Homeopathic Remedies
I have a homeopathy kit. This is a link to Amazon for the exact kit I have and find so helpful.They’re easy to use because there is a reference guide that gives recommendations of what to use and the bottles do too. My kids had a cough so I was having them use Phosphorus 30X and Spongia Tosta 30X. For kids, the dose is 2 tablets under the tongues 4 times a day.
The nice thing about homeopathy is it’s okay to try different remedies because they are safe to use. It’s best to tell which remedy is working by watching for a benefit within 30 minutes. I could tell the remedies were helping my kids with their dry cough and congestion because they would start to have a better cough following with moving phlegm out.
In Case of Fever
If the fever is low-grade or 100.3 I continue to do the above natural remedies. Most recently, my kids had a fever of 100.3 so I let their body take care of fighting the virus with the fever. Our bodies develop fevers to fight for us to get better so I let the body continue to do its job.
If the fever got higher or if my little ones felt miserable, I would have applied a 2% dilution of spearmint or patchouli essential oils on their spine, forehead (away from the eyes), and temples.
The menthol in peppermint is too strong for little kids under age 5.
Since my youngest is 3, I don’t make a topical dilution with peppermint essential oil. For kids over 5, it’s amazing for congestion to open up the airways and is great for bringing the body temperature down just a bit so the body can still get the benefit of the fever, but get a less alarming temperature.
On a final note, sometimes when my kids get sick I’ll chart what I’m doing for them so I don’t let too much time pass between treating them with a natural remedy and to ensure they’re drinking enough fluids.
Even though my kids had been exposed to the flu and developed flu-like symptoms, they never felt “miserable” and weren’t stuck in bed for days.
It’s amazing what natural remedies can do to support our immune systems to do what it’s intended to do!