There is little worse than baby's first illness. I can remember the panic that would set in when my babes would get stuffy noses or warm from a fever. I might even be that mom that took her baby to the ER the first time he threw up (true story).

The fact is, nobody wants to see their kids feeling miserable, and we'd gladly take it from them if we could. Since occasional illness is inevitable, our best defense is to be prepared with some natural remedies to make them comfortable and encourage their resilient little bodies back to good health. In 2008 the FDA strongly advised against OTC cold and cough medications for infants and children under the age of 2 because "serious and potentially life-threatening side effects could occur". 

Here are my 5 natural flu season remedies (after 9 years battling flu season as a mom).

 

 

1. Humidifier and steamy shower - we always have one or two cool mist humidifiers in the house. My favorite is by Crane. They are energy efficient, ultrasonic, don't require a filter (think mold and bacteria) and the base is made with an antimicrobial material. And what kid doesn't love a fun animal shape? We have the elephant and he works overtime, putting out a perfect mist that helps us sleep better at night by soothing our sinuses.

According to Dr. Greene, the cold virus lives best at 98.6 degrees, so raising the temperature in the nose and throat (i.e standing in a steamy shower or even just breathing in steam in the bathroom) can help. It also helps drain the sinuses and soothe a cough. 

2. Saline - each person in my family has their own bottle of saline spray. This is a really effective way to thin out mucous for either blowing or suctioning it out and to prevent infection. Not all saline mists are the same and it's important to read ingredients lists. Make sure to choose one without preservatives. I like the Little Noses or Simply Saline Mist for Baby by Arm & Hammer for infants and toddlers, and Target's Up & Up brand is great for adults at a great low price. 

3. NoseFrida - if your child is too young to effectively blow their nose, we love NoseFrida nasal aspirator. Bulb syringes can't be cleaned sufficiently and they grow all kinds of really gross stuff inside. The nose frieda is not only more sanitary, but safer because it doesn't go inside baby's nose, but up against their nostril. 

4. Breathe Balm - Zoe Organics Breathe Balm is an easy-to-apply balm stick lightly infused with a blend of essential oils that soothe and help support clear breathing. Recommended for ages 3 months and older. In a pinch? You can pick this up at Target in the Women's Health aisle, near the pharmacy (aisle with pads, pregnancy tests)

5. Supplements/Immunity boosters: Besides the fact that it is comforting and soothing on a sore, scratchy throat, my kids love "honey-lemon tea" a simple blend of warm water, a tablespoon of honey and juice from half a lemon (not for children under 1 year old). Acid and salt can inhibit a cold virus, which makes the lemon tea or gargling with salt water (older kids/adults) good options. We believe in the power of Vitamin D and my kids love these drops by Carlson. They also have baby drops. We also take Raw Priobiotics for immune support. My kids like this one. You can pick it up at Whole Foods and other health stores. 

Wishing you and your family good health! If you have other natural remedies, please share in the comments below!