All right, moms, we’ve entered that time of year again. It’s the dreaded cold and flu season. The time when all we start to hear are the statistics about who is most at risk for being victimized by these relentless viral and bacterial bugs. For many of us it can be overwhelming. I mean, nobody wants to see their child sick. As a mom, these may be the moments when we feel the most helpless of all. I’m here to tell you how you can kick that cold with natural cold remedies and avoid becoming ill!

I think it’s safe to say that at one point or another every kid will come down with the common cold. Many of our children attend daycare centers or go to private or public schools. Children are at risk of contracting a cold even if they come into contact with only one other child carrying the germ. Medical experts estimate that there are more than 200 virus strains that contribute to the spread of the common cold, which is why colds are so common. If all of this makes you feel hopeless, then things are about to turn around for you because I’ve got great news. We may not be able to completely eliminate the common cold, but we can lessen the chances of getting it, and in some cases prevent it all together.

Keep ‘Em Clean

The best defense against getting sick is probably the most simple. Wash your hands and wash them often. We come into contact with so many germs, and they’re often in unsuspecting places. That doorknob you turn to get into your child’s classroom, the gas pump nozzle, the pin pad you use to enter your debit card number, even the pin you used to leave a tip. All of these are sneaky hideaways for microscopic, immune system wreckers! You can defeat them by simply washing them away with warm water and soap. Now, let’s move on to lesser known immuno weaponry.

The Genius of Ginger

Ginger is one of nature’s greatest “cure-alls” and natural cold remedies. When it comes to colds, ginger aids in a few different ways. Ginger is antiviral, which means it works to kill off nasty viruses in the body. It’s also an anti inflammatory, a fancy way of saying it will help with swollen and irritated tissues. If your child gets a sore or scratchy throat when (s)he’s sick, ginger can help soothe it. An added bonus of using ginger is that it’s spicy. The warming effect can encourage a little perspiration. Raising the body’s temperature to safe levels can kill off viral and bacterial germs and rid the body of toxins, hence the saying: “sweat out the cold.”

You can use ginger in a myriad of ways. I always suggest using high quality ginger (ginger root, grated ginger, etc) for the best effect. You can make ginger tea, you can cook with it, and you can even make your own ginger cough drops. For those who don’t want to put in the work, you can find all of these options pre-made and available to purchase at most health food stores.

Elderberry Eases

Elderberry comes from the tree known as European Elder, whose berries can be used in several different ways. While eating too many of the berries could upset your stomach, there are formulations which can be found in stores that make incorporating the herb into your wellness routine fairly simple. Elderberry has been found to defend against colds and even the flu in some medical studies, making it one of the best natural cold remedies. It is thought to be both antibacterial and antiviral. You can find it in easy-to-take capsules for adults and syrups for kids.

Oregano, Oh My!

Another great thing to add to your medicine cabinet? Oil of oregano. You read that right. The stuff on your pizza isn’t just tasty; it can fight off a cold as well. The oil can be used to help so many health issues because of its purported antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral qualities. Taking a capsule at the first sign or symptom of a cold can often ward the cold off completely. It also helps to lessen the severity of the symptoms. Using oil of oregano in water with a steamer can even reduce congestion. Do some light research on all the uses of this herb. I think you’ll find it a helpful part of your cold arsenal.

In Addition to Natural Cold Remedies…

Besides some of the suggestions above, there are ongoing things you can do to prevent getting sick in the first place. A healthy diet and adequate water intake will always give your body what it needs to fight off germs you will inevitably come into contact with. Also, because we don’t always get all the necessary vitamins from our food these days; finding a good multivitamin that specifically caters to your child’s age (and yours) is a good idea. Our immune systems are always better able to fight off colds when given a little extra fuel. Check to make sure the vitamin you choose has zinc, vitamin C and B12. Making a point to eat foods that have significant doses of these is also wise.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of rest! Need an excuse to sleep in? Here ya go. Our bodies perform their natural functions best when we’re in good condition. Getting enough restful sleep can be the difference between catching the cold from the stranger who decided not to cover his coughs and sneezes, and avoiding those nasty germs completely.

As with all medications and natural cold remedies, you should always check with your doctor before taking anything. Don’t be afraid to do your own research. Bacteria and viruses are everywhere; there is simply no escaping them. We can, however, do a lot to avoid getting sick this season. Consider one of these methods to keep your loved ones and yourself healthy this season.

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