A Natural Mama’s Medicine Cabinet
Cold and flu season. Ugh. Need we say more? While the season is full of fun events like apple picking, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, and more, it’s also rife with germ-sharing and mamas frantically Googling, “how to treat a cold.” And when there’s little ones around, you can rest assured that your house probably will be hit with at least one virus (or two or twelve) during the next few months.
But fret not! We are here to help, with our tried and true natural ways to stay healthy, fight germs, and how to treat a cold (and whatever other germs hit your home this season). This is what you should stock your medicine cabinet with this winter.
Keeping Tabs On Fevers
As a parent, fevers can be one of the scariest parts of an illness, and we’ve lost many a night of sleep worrying about our little ones’ temperatures. A fever is actually a healthy response to an illness, and actually does have a lot of benefit to your child (which is why medication shouldn’t be your first choice – and so agrees the American Academy of Pediatrics – see here). Tracking your child’s temperature can really paint a picture of the course of their illness, and help you know when to call the doctor.
We’re ready for cold & flu season, with all cylinders firing, because our medicine cabinet is stocked with the Braun No Touch + Forehead Thermometer and Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear Thermometer, both available at Walgreens. These ain’t your mama’s thermometers, that’s for sure – and they boast the title of the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand of thermometers.
The No Touch + Forehead thermometer is just about the coolest thing we have seen in the child wellness realm, well, perhaps ever. It impressed us on a level that few products have impressed us before. It is so incredibly fast, you will nearly fall out of your chair with shock. This thermometer offers Braun’s fastest, most comfortable, clinically accurate temperature reading, ever, and captures twice as much body heat compared with traditional forehead products. It also has a colored light indicator, flashing green (safe), yellow (use caution), or red (take proper action) tied to your child’s fever level.
Gone are the days where you impatiently have a thermometer in your sick child’s mouth (or worse…) for what seems like hours, waiting for the final temperature. Braun’s No Touch + Forehead thermometer is worth every penny for the sheer speed at which it gives you a professionally accurate temperature within two seconds. Seriously. No sooner than you hover the device over your child’s forehead, do you have the final readout. And even cooler? You don’t even need to touch the thermometer against your child’s forehead. You can hover it over them, up to two inches away, while they’re peacefully sleeping, and they’ll be none the wiser. It’s the first of it’s kind to offer a spot-on temperature without even touching skin.
You can win a Braun No Touch + Forehead thermometer – and a $50 Walgreens gift card – in our 60 Days of Giveaways. Enter here now!
The Thermoscan 5 Ear Thermometer is another ingenious (and invaluable) thermometer from Braun. It tells you if you have the thermometer positioned correctly in your child’s ear, giving you a green light and a beep when it’s in properly.
Thermoscan 5 is proven to be more accurate than typical forehead or rectal thermometers, so you can rest easy knowing you have a trustworthy temperature reading. Did you know that the ear canal is the best site to measure a fever because of its close proximity to the eardrum, which shares the blood supply of the brain’s temperature control center? The eardrum allows for a more accurate reflection of the body’s core temperature. Who knew?
If your child does have a fever, dress him or her in light clothing, run a fan, and try a tepid bath or sponging to help bring the fever down naturally. Be sure to push fluids so he or she stays hydrated.
As much as we love using natural remedies whenever possible, sometimes traditional medicine can’t be avoided. Because fevers are actually healthy (and thus, shouldn’t automatically be treated with meds), they typically do not need to be treated with medicine. But, if your little one is not acting him or herself, or is simply miserable, that’s when meds should be called into action.
Natural Solutions & Supplements
Unfortunately, traditional over-the-counter cough syrups that you may remember from your own childhood, have been proven to be ineffective (read: no better than placebo) and can even be harmful in young children. So, if they don’t work, and can harm your little one, what’s a mama to do? Warm teas and soups can help, cool mist humidifiers, and honey (honey should be used only in children over age 1).
We’ve had great experiences with a few natural cough remedies, made from just food ingredients (so, there’s no chance of overdose or harm!), and believe it or not, they work. For children over age 1 (because they contain honey, which cannot be given to children under 12 months old), look for a dark honey-based syrup (dark honey is more nutrient-rich than light honey), and for infants, honey-free baby version. A little squirt of vitamin-C-packed lemon can help too.
Vitamin D is the unsung hero of your immune system, and vitamin D deficiencies can have a serious impact on health. Especially during cold and flu season, we sneak in vitamin D drops into our littles however we can (typically right into their water). Try to get outside whenever possible, no matter how cold it is. If you’re curious to learn more about vitamin D and the immune system, look here and here. And of course, packing in as much vitamin C as possible is always a wise choice.
And while lemon and honey can help your sick little one, there’s a few foods that you should definitely avoid, as they can hinder healing. Anything high in sugar can actually weaken your body’s immune-boosting white blood cells, making them less effective at fighting off viruses and bacteria. The same goes for refined carbohydrates, like crackers and toast. Refined carbs are broken down into sugar, which in turn weakens those precious white blood cells. Lastly, be cautious with dairy, as it can be inflammatory, and thicken mucus in some people.
Throwback Remedies Your Grandma Would Love
Believe it or not, Grandma was right when she made you chicken soup when you were sick. There’s actually some science backing this (see here and here). Our slow cooker chicken soup recipe is a delicious – and super easy – one to try this winter to help keep your family healthy.
And if you haven’t jumped on the bone broth bandwagon yet, definitely give it a try. Bone broths have super health benefits that can not only restore you back to health, but help prevent illness, improve your skin, hair, and nails, digestion, reduce allergies, and some have suggested it might even help reduce cellulite. Our recipe for bone broth (and some more information about the benefits) can be found here.
Epsom salt baths can help detox the body and fight infections, and is one old-fashioned home remedy that really helps, and is relaxing to boot. Taking a 20+ minute soak in a warm Epsom salt bath can help boost the body’s immune system, which is precisely what is needed when fighting off colds and flus.
No matter what illnesses this winter brings your family, you’ll be prepared to fight them off with these tips. What are some of your favorite natural ways to fight viruses and infections?
For more healthy tips, check out our THRIVE section.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Braun Thermometers. The opinions and text are all mine.
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Heather is the mom behind the blog, Cookies For Breakfast. Reality TV addict. Natural living enthusiast. Accidental hippie. Comedy ninja. Loves big sunglasses, seasonal cocktails, and of course, cookies for breakfast.