It’s cold and flu season again, and with it comes a flurry of symptoms: congestion, runny nose, fever, chills, coughing, to name a few. Here are some tips and tricks—some of which were suggested by you, dear readers!—to naturally relieve the symptoms that make life somewhat less comfortable than need be.
Runny and stuffy noses
Stuffy noses make us lose our bearings and our senses of smell and taste, too! We just want our noses to clear up! Here are a few natural methods to get breathe easily again (and get rid of that stuffy voice!).
1. Saline solution
Stuffy nose? Try nasal irrigation! You can purchase a ready-to-use saline solution (spray or drops) at the pharmacy or you can make your own. Here’s a simple, easy and cheap recipe for the whole family. Repeat as often as necessary.
Saline solution recipe
Add 2.5 ml (½ tsp.) of salt to 240 ml (8 oz.) of boiled and cooled water.
(source: From Tiny Tot to Toddler) practical guide.
2. Steam bath
Steam thins secretions and clears the nose. Lean your head over a bowl of hot, previously boiled water and cover your head with a towel. Breathe in the steam through your nose for a few minutes. You can add a few drops peppermint or balsam fir essential oils to your steam bath (but be sure to close your eyes, if you do). Have you tried a humidifier in your bedroom? And why not take a nice, hot bath and add a handful of our Dead Sea salt to relax your sore muscles?
3. Chicken broth
Homemade chicken broth is a must for fighting colds! In addition to being comforting, a hot soup, just like steam, thins mucus. Add some fresh garlic (a natural antiseptic) for an immune boost. Mmm! Hungry yet?
Remember from childhood that little tube to insert into the nose to clear the airways? We have a new version to suggest, the Iceberg nasal decongestant, but there’s no need to stick it in your nose! Actually, it’s pure menthol in a container, so inhale deeply! And to relieve nostrils irritated by repeated blowing, generously apply some shea butter
Sore throat and cough
We know right away when we’ve caught the flu or, rather, when it has caught us! Our throat feels sore. It tickles, it tingles and it hurts. Relieve the discomfort before it gets there!
As soon as you feel that tinkle in the back of your throat, attack Mr. Microbe head on before they make headway. Quick, get your salt shakers and spoons: saltwater gargles are the best of remedies! Gargle at least three times a day with half a teaspoon of salt dissolved into a small glass of lukewarm (boiled and cooled) water. It’s that easy! Salt is an antibacterial.
6. Hot drinks
Many of you have shared your recipes and natural tips for relieving sore throats. Here are some of them, published with your permission, of course!
“Lemon and ginger in a cup of hot water!”
“The juice of 1 lemon with approximately 1 tsp. of fresh ginger (cut into small pieces or grated) and a sprinkle of cayenne. Take as a shooter (1 shot). It feels great and clears the airways!”
Martine and Danielle suggest…
“…taking a few drops of peppermint essential oil in your mouth or directly on your tongue. It’s very effective against sore throats and clears the respiratory tract.”.
Muscle pain, chills and lung congestion
When we have the flu, our white blood cells form an army and our antibodies snap to attention to defend our body.
When we were little, our parents would rub us down when we were sick. Back then, it was with good old Vicks®. Today, we suggest a natural pomade made of 100% plant-based ingredients. In addition to effectively relieving the symptoms of common respiratory ailments (colds, coughs and bronchitis), it soothes muscle aches and pains. So, go ahead and rub some on! Better still, get someone to do it for you. And don’t forget to rub some under your feet before putting on a cozy pair of wool socks!
When fighting a bad cold or flu, your body is defending itself. It overheats and you become feverish. Your body’s ally and a means of self-defence, fever, accelerates the production of white blood cells (yep, our little soldiers). Be sure to drink often and abundantly to keep perspiring and avoid dehydrating. Of course, each person is different. You will find an interesting explanation here in this French-language article: La fièvre, une amie qui vous veut du bien.
9. Mustard plaster
Did your grandmother use mustard plasters to treat colds in the family? Naturopath Céline Arsenault explains how to prepare a mustard plaster in her French-language book Guide de soins naturels pour la famille. This practical guide is also an excellent source of information for you and your family’s day-to-day health issues. A great big thank you to my friend Marjolaine, who gave me this book as a gift.
We can never say it enough: Prevention is the best remedy! Wash your hands often and avoid bringing them to your face. Cough into your elbow, get some fresh air, eat well and exercise and sleep enough. If you already have a cold or the flu, take time off and stay home to rest, even if it means postponing activities. After all, you will most likely enjoy them more once you feel better!