A healthy child can have an average of eight colds per year. Even though most over-the-counter cold and cough medicines don't help heal a child's body any faster, many parents go to them for symptom relief. Many OTC's mask new symptoms and common side effects may even cause new symptoms. OTC drugs can be very harmful for your child, especially if you use more than one because many cough and cold meds contain the same or very similar active ingredients, so it's easy to overdose. Some active ingredients have horrible side effects, especially dextromethorphan, otherwise known as DM or DXM. DM's side effects include SIDs, body rashes, hallucinations, vomiting, fever, gastrointestinal issues, and numerous other symptoms. Plus, since cough and cold medicines are liquid, preservatives are needed to keep mold and bacteria from growing. Unfortunately, the most common preservatives are in fact parabens which have been banned in other countries. Another concern with OTC cough and cold medicines are synthetic dyes and excess sugars, which may lead to hyperactivity. This can make a sick child feel like he is better, but leave him feeling over exhausted. Luckily there are several all natural, homeopathic, and DIY cough and cold solutions to help your kiddo feel a little bit better.
Zarbees Cough Syrup is a natural, safe alternative with clinically proven results and recommended by more than 40,000 other pediatricians nationwide. Recent clinical trials have shown that buckwheat honey is more effective than traditional over-the-counter medicines at reducing coughs associated with the common cold (it’s high in antioxidants, helps coat the throat and reduces irritation). Other carefully chosen ingredients include immune-boosting Vitamin C, Zinc and elderberry (which studies have shown can dramatically decrease the length of an illness caused by the influenza virus). Zarbees Cough Syrup can be used during the day or at night. It is drug, dye and gluten free. For nighttime relief, try Zarbees All Natural Nighttime Cough & Sleep Drink.
Boiron makes Children’s Chestal with nine different active homeopathic ingredients. Homeopathics use natural substances like minerals, plants, and biological substances in micro-doses. They relieve symptoms by stimulating the natural ability of the body to re-balance and heal itself. Children’s Chestal is safe for children age 2 and older. Children’s Chestal comes in 2 different flavors, honey and berry.
Hylands makes a Nighttime Cold and Cough 4Kids, which includes 10 different homeopathic active ingredients that temporarily relieve your child’s cough, runny nose, sneezing, nasal and chest congestion, and sore throat with accompanying sleeplessness without waking up groggy. Hylands Nighttime Cough and Cold 4Kids is 100% natural and safe for children age 2 and older. Hylands also makes a Cold ‘n Cough 4Kids daytime relief syrup as well as a 100% natural honey Cough Syrup with four active ingredients.
Emergence-C makes a Kidz vitamin drink with 250 mg of vitamin C with 24 other nutrients and antioxidants for immune system support. There are no artificial flavors or ingredients and all are GMO free. Plus, all ingredients go through thorough testing for ingredient identity and purity. Emergence-C Kidz is safe for children ages 4 and up. It’s recommended to take with the first symptom of getting sick.
Similasan homeopathic created an expectorant syrup designed to relieve children cold symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, head congestion, cough, and fever while also introducing ingredients that will help your child to cough up mucus. Kids Cold & Mucus Relief’s ingredients are 100% safe and natural. It’s also alcohol-free, dye-free, and recommended for children ages 2-12. Similasan also offers a Cough Relief for a dry, hacking cough.
DIY Cough and Cold Remedies
Drinking or gargling warm lemon water mixed with honey is very soothing for sore throats, but did you know honey can be used as a cough suppressant as well? Children younger than one should not take any amount of honey, but for those older, a tablespoon before bed can help soothe nighttime coughs. In fact, a study was done comparing buckwheat honey to DM and the children who ate honey slept better and coughed less than those who took the DM.
Green Grandma says to make a vinegar solution using 1/4 cup organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, 1/4 water, and 1/4 honey and take 1-2 tablespoons as needed for cold symptoms. You can read more remedies in her book Vinegar Friday’s.
In Peggy O’Mara’s book, Natural Family Living, she suggests making a tea to help reduce fevers using peppermint, chamomile, red clover, and rosemary. “Make a tea of any or all of the above, sweetened with a little honey,” said O’Mara. Other herbs to use for colds include: echinacea, ginger, garlic, licorice, marshmallow root, mullein, peppermint, garlic, thyme, wild cherry bark, yarrow, and elderberry.
You can make your own chest rub by using 2 oz. coconut oil, 10 drops eucalyptus, and 10 drops peppermint. I like to rub it on my child’s feet and then cover with socks since the coconut oil can be slightly greasy.