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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Relief for Cough and Cold

woman in bed coughing

I am so glad that winter is almost over! I don't mind snow (although I haven't seen much of that the last few years), but I hate flu season! Yuck!  My family is just getting over our latest sweep of nasty mutant colds.  I have several medication allergies on top of nursing, so I am extremely limited to what I can take. Because of this I have to find other solutions to relieve my symptoms. Here are some of the things that have given me and my family relief.

Apple Cider Tonic - This is a tonic I started making after I had my second son. It is really helpful for chest congestion, coughing, or sore throats. I mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and warm water. You don't need much, maybe 1 tbsp. of each, and then I add one spoonful of raw honey. Stir and then chug! I do mean chug too, it tastes nasty! It really does help though. I actually forgot about this tonic this last time I was sick, and was kicking myself, because I really think I would have been better much sooner had I taken it earlier.
Take a Spoonful of Honey - Honey can really help to sooth a sore throat and calm a cough. The next time you are having a coughing fit try it. Many people say it works better than cough drops. (Do not give honey to children under 12 months. It can actually cause botulism that their little systems can't handle yet.)
Vapor Rubs - Another thing that works great for coughing is putting a vapor rub on the bottom of the feet. I usually massage some into the bottom of the foot and then cover with a sock. It is amazing to me how well this works! I even use this trick on the smaller children (after they are 12 months). Vapor rub spread on the chest can help with chest congestion. I have even spread it on my forehead before to help open up my sinuses.
Eat an Orange - Oranges are a natural decongestant, Mandarin oranges are especially good for this. They are also high in Vitamin C which can help chase that cold away.
Use a Humidifier - A cool mist humidifier can really help to break up all that mucus that can build up in the head. These are safe for infants too, so really a good investment if you have small children. I recommend getting one that has a no/low mold filter. If you already have an older style be sure to change the filters often. You can also buy a Vic's type medicine to put into the water that can help break things up for you. You will need to check with your doctor before using this medicine for small children and babies.
Prop Your Head - Propping the head up can help add comfort when you have a cold by allowing the mucus to run down the back of the throat rather than resting in it. This can help reduce night time coughing, and head congestion. If you have a child in a crib, try raising one end of the crib slightly higher. I have even used books or blankets stuck under one end of the mattress.
Drink a Cup of Hot Tea - Hot tea can help relieve a sore throat.  It also can help with head congestion and cough.  I really like to add honey to mine when I am sick.  A touch of lemon juice can be helpful as well.
Take a Steamy Shower - The steam from a warm shower can help open up both head and chest congestion and relieve sore and achy muscles.  Doing this when you are feeling your worst can really help.
I hope you can find something useful here! If you have any tips that have helped you through an illness please share with me!

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