This year the new year arrived with new germs for my family. My kids started 2017 with runny noses, scratchy throats and sinus headaches.
I don’t like the idea of giving them medicine all day to control their symptoms. And now that they are back at school, it isn’t very practical either.
Instead, I rely on some very simple, but effective solutions to help treat their colds. This is what we do:
The very first thing I do when my kids get sick is to disinfect the house. I want to wipe out as many germs as possible to keep the cold from spreading. In addition to wiping down kitchen and bathroom surfaces, don’t forget all of those other places that get touched daily:
- Light switches
- Stair railing
- Remote controls
- Computer keyboards
- Game controllers
For furniture, I wipe down our leather couches with vinegar to disinfect. For cloth couches, you can disinfect using steam (just check the care label for the couch first).
Prevent the Spread of Germs
It does no good to disinfect the house if your cold sufferer walks around re-infecting all the surfaces. To avoid this, we take these additional precautions:
- Reinforce hand washing protocols with frequent reminders and fully stocked soap at every sink
- Replace bathroom hand towels with paper towels
- Make tissues readily available in each room and provide each cold sufferer with a pocket pack
We don’t enforce a quarantine in our home. I’d rather run the risk of catching a cold than force my children to stay confined to their rooms alone when they’re unwell and in need of comfort.
In my post on winter skin and hair care, I mentioned how indoor heating can dry out indoor air. When my kids all came down with colds, I checked the humidity level in our house with a humidity monitor and it was 27%! The ideal relative humidity level for wellness is between 40% and 60%.
Low humidity can dry out your mucous membrane along your respiratory tract, increasing your risk of colds, flu, and infections. Plus, flu viruses survive longer in low humidity so not only are you more susceptible to the flu, it’s more likely to be lingering in your home.
The good news is that improving your humidity level is easy to do. I put Cool Mist Humidifiers in the kids’ rooms. I love that I don’t have to mess with filters. I just fill the compartment with water, plug in the humidifier and turn it on.
Make Hot Ginger Tea
This remedy is my mom’s go-to for almost every illness and it works especially well on colds. Hot ginger tea relieves congestion and soothes sore throats.
To make it you need:
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- dash of cinnamon
Just add all of the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and serve immediately. When the kids are sick, I make a batch in the morning for them to drink before school and another at night for them to drink before bedtime.
Rest AND Exercise
Say what? Studies have shown that both rest and exercise help us fight off colds. How do you possibly do both?
Easy, the trick is to engage in mild exercise (which will help relieve congestion and boost your immunity) that promotes good sleep (essential to helping your body fight off illness).
I know it sounds corny and it might be a hard sell with the kids, but a little yoga before bedtime can work wonders! It’s also a fun activity to do as a family since you discover individual strengths in one another.
During winter, colds are almost a certainty. If you follow the suggestions above, the common cold doesn’t have to interfere with your family’s daily life and happiness.
More Resources for Cold and Flu Season
If you found the information above helpful, you might enjoy some of these other tips and ideas:
- Natural Remedies for Seasonal Congestion
- Natural Sore Throat Remedies
- The Ultimate Mom’s Guide to Prepare for Winter
- 7 Budget-Friendly Tips to Enjoy a Flu-Free Season
- Homemade Shower Soothers