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Natural cold care

34 At this time of year, it's very possible that someone in your home will catch a cold, cough, or worse. It has hit us this week! Three kids have had various stages of fever, sore throat, cough, and runny nose.

I try not to use over-the-counter medicines or prescriptions as my first defense. Instead, I rely on as many natural remedies as possible. Here are some things we use:

Herbal tea. I like Celestial Seasonings Echinacea Complete Care or Sleepytime (or both!). They taste good with a little honey for sweetening. You can purchase these at most grocery stores.

Vitamin C. For the younger kids, I buy a gummy, like Esther C. For the older kids and the adults, we use Emergen-C. It dissolves in water and goes straight to the system. I will dose this out 3-4 times per day to boost the immune system.

Herbal baths. I will steep 4-6 bags of the above herbal teas in a pot of water for about an hour. Then I remove the bags and pour it right into the bath water. A good 20-30 minute soak helps the boys absorb the healing properites of the herbs. This is especially good if the kids don't like the taste of the tea in a cup!

Essential oils. I use oils for lots of things, but cold season is a great time to have them on hand. My favorite two for this purpose are Peppermint and Eucalyptus. I put them in the vaporizer well (where many people put the Vicks) and it really helps the kids with a cough. It smells good, too! If you're tough, you can put them in bathwater, but I've used them for years, so it's not too strong for me. If you're showering, you can start the shower, pour a few drops in the bottom of the tub, and let the vapors rise up while you shower. These are found at most health-food stores, or online.

Vitamin D3. This has gained popularity in strengthening the immune system. Again, I buy the gummy version for my little ones, and give the tiny capsules to everyone else. I think you can also purchase drops.

Lozenges. We use cough drops to soothe the throat. Today I tried a recipe for pure honey cough drops from Little House in the Suburbs. They are wonderful! My kids love them! Honey has long been used to help with colds, cough, and sore throats. (Read about it here.) This is a very pleasant way to give it to the kids. I added a bit of orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice to mine. Dee-lish!

Sleep. This one is obvious, and it's not what my kids like to hear, but it sure helps! A sick body just needs more rest, so I have the sick kids take naps and go to bed early at night.

I took the 3 sick kids to the doctor today, and 2 of them were already on the mend. The doc said they really didn't need anything. I attribute that to our natural building up of the immune system! Only one child was sick enough for an antibiotic.

I hope your family doesn't get too sick this winter, but if they do, try some of these natural remedies before rushing off to the doctor and heal your family the healthy way!

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