All fluids, including soups, help alleviate respiratory illnesses. Fluids help to thin secretions, making it easier for the body to clear them. If the secretions are thick and dry, they are more difficult to expel. Offer diluted fruit juices, homemade sugarless lemonade (use a bit of honey for sweetening, and serve either warm or cold), and lots of nourishing broth and homemade soup.
Limit refined sugars. Sweets can make your child feel first energized, then agitated and irritable. They also create acids in the body that can cause a cold to linger. If your child insists, give her a little bit of honey or a tiny bite of something sweet.
Caution: Never give honey to a child less than one year old. Honey has been associated with infant botulism, which can be life threatening.
Avoid dairy foods, which have a tendency to increase and thicken mucus.
Eliminate fats as much as possible. Fats are difficult to digest under normal circumstances, and are even harder to digest when the digestive system is weakened by the low-grade infection of a cold. Undigested fats contribute to an increase in mucus and a toxic internal environment.
The body uses beta-carotene to manufacture vitamin A, which helps heal mucous membranes. Give your child a double dose of beta-carotene, twice daily, for five to seven days.
Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties and will help ease the course of a cold. Give your child one dose of vitamin C, three times daily, for three days. Choose a formula made without sugar. Avoid chewable forms, which can erode tooth enamel.
To help boost your child's immune system, give her a total of one dose of zinc, in chewable tablet or lozenge form, each day, for three days. Choose a lozenge made without refined sugar.
Note: Excessive amounts of zinc can result in nausea and vomiting. Be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage.
Yin qiao is a Chinese botanical formula that can be taken at the very first sign of a cold. This remedy usually is not helpful after the third day of symptoms. Give your child one dose, every two hours, during the acute phase of the cold. After the symptoms start to ease, reduce the dosage to one dose, three times daily, for one week.
Note: The liquid extract is the preferred form, because it contains no
aspirin. The tablet form should not be given to a child under four years of age.
To help your child rest and
relax, give her one dose of chamomile tea, twice daily, as needed.
To calm a restless, fussy child, prepare a soothing herbal bath with chamomile, calendula, rosemary, and/or lavender. Keep the water comfortably warm and encourage a long, lazy soak.
Echinacea and goldenseal both stimulate the immune system. Echinacea is antibacterial and antiviral; goldenseal is an antibacterial noted for healing irritated mucous membranes. Give your child one dose of an echinacea and goldenseal combination formula, three times a day, for five days to one week.