Natural home remedies for cold and flu in toddlers that will relieve your child’s symptoms and strengthen his immune system. Nasal congestion, sore throat, ear infection or fever – they’re all manageable with natural home remedies!
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Natural Cold And Flu Remedies For Toddlers
You can find a lot of natural cold and flu remedies for toddlers, however some of them are so superficial and ineffective that are no better than just letting the illness run it’s course.
I had the flu many times including when I was pregnant and always managed to ameliorate and recover fast without any pharmaceuticals. For me, a gentle and natural approach that works synergistically with the body is the best.
Cold Or Flu?
So what the difference between a cold and the flu? Both are viral infections of the nose, throat, and lungs, but the cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu.
Both are spread through the air during close contact with infected people or indirectly through contact with objects.
Recently my two year old daughter got her first flu and shorty my husband and I caught the virus too. So I had the chance to apply some natural cold and flu remedies for my toddler.
The flu was accompanied by high fever, runny nose, sore throat, tiredness, coughing, irritated watering red eyes/face and frequent sneezing. The fever was fluctuating, but on the third day it climbed over 103.5 F.
That’s the only time I gave her a dose of fever reducer and by the end of the day it went back to normal. It took 4 more days until the cough and nasal congestion totally cleared. No other complications occurred.
Natural Cold And Flu Remedies For Toddlers
Don’t panic if your toddler begins to have flu-like symptoms, sometimes there are factors that you cannot control. Look at the positive aspects of the situation: your child will build an adaptive and stronger immune system.
Only immune-compromised kids are most at risk of developing serious and life threatening complications from flu.
There are not as many options as an adult has, but here are the most effective natural cold and flu remedies for toddlers that can shorten the duration of the illness and reduce the symptoms:
Natural Immune Boosters For Toddlers
Garlic Ginger Lemon Tonic
Blend the garlic, ginger, lemon and honey in a blender to form a paste. I have a post on how to make it here. Give 2-3 teaspoons of this mixture to your child per day before meals.
Of course, it can be a challenge to make your child ingest it, but it’s doable. I usually disguise the taste by dipping the spoon in something sweet (honey, syrups, or a smoothie) before filling it with “medicine”.
Another option is to get ready a cup of tea or smoothie ready, and give them to drink right after they take that spoon. A hugging restrain method also works, be creative, play with your kid, sneak the spoon in the mouth when he least expects it.
This is a very powerful natural remedy for cold and flu, the symptoms will subside quickly.
Apply A Foot Poultice
Slice 1-2 cloves of garlic, put them in a little cloth and bond it to the bottom of your child’s feet, make sure there is a thin layer of cloth in between to prevent blisters forming.
Then put the socks on. The juice will slowly be released little by little and will end up in the bloodstream; this is also a great fever reducer. The same thing can be done with onion and since it doesn’t burn the skin, you just put it straight on the foot sole and cover with a soak.
Black Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup is great for supporting your toddler’s immune system and the upper respiratory system. Because elderberry is rich in flavonoid compounds, it exerts antioxidant protection on cells.
Look for a natural syrup, made from certified organic black elderberries, with no artificial ingredients or preservatives, like this one. It can be found in stores and also on Amazon.
These bacteria will naturally boost immunity and calm any gut infection, or diarrhea. Best if taken as a preventive measure.
I prefer powders over chewables because these do not have additives, artificial flavors and other fillers.
I like this probiotic specifically, it is easy to mix with food or with drinks, it has multiple strains and 10+ billion CFUs per 1/4 teaspoon, also is dairy, gluten, corn, soy and egg free.
Ensure Good Elimination
Drinking lots of liquids, will ensure your child is having regular bowel movements and frequents urination in order to to help the body eliminate toxins and pathogens. Types of liquids to drink:
- Herbal teas (made with immune boosting herbs like: echinacea, rosehips (very high in vitamin C), or astragalus root. Fever reducing herbs (linden leaf and flowers (this tastes good too), peppermint leaf, elderflower, lemon balm) for sore throat, cough and sinus congestion (sage, thyme, plantain leaves, oregano). You can also add ginger, honey or lemon to the tea. My favorite blend of herbs is delivered in this Flu Fighter Tea.
- Water with 1 – 2 teaspoons of ginger, honey, lemon syrup (cut ginger and lemon in small bits an add everything to a small jar and cover with honey; the take 1 tsp of this mixture and mix with a glass of warm water, drink as often as possible).
- Fresh green juices/smoothies: a multi-vitamin drink made with leafy greens will boost the oxygen, antioxidant and phytonutrient content delivered to the cells, thus providing a protective barrier. You can try some of these green smoothie recipes, or a beet smoothie which is also a great immune boosting and detoxification tool.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help with cellular defense mechanisms (add chia, flax or hemp seeds to smoothies or buy the oils). These are very anti-inflammatory, I put them in smoothies and my kid is drinking them without stopping for air.
Natural Remedies For Throat And Cough In Toddlers
Apply A Throat Poultice For Reducing Inflammation
Thinly slice or grate a medium potato, drizzle a spoon of apple cider vinegar over it. Take this mixture and apply on a piece of plastic wrap, large enough to cover your child’s neck.
I usually lay the wrap on a piece of cloth so that there is a thin layer of cloth between the skin an the potato layer (see image below). To prevent dripping and keep it in place, I use another piece of cloth or an old scarf wrapped around the neck on top of the poultice.
Best is when done before sleep, overnight (it should stay for at least 4 hours). You can do the same thing with cabbage leaves dipped in hot water for a few seconds, but I found the potato poultice to be more effective.
This throat poultice is one of the most effective natural remedies for sore throat and cough in toddlers and even adults (I make one for me at the first sign of inflammation and when I feel there’s mucus forming), they work every time I make them!
Note: If you already developed a sore throat and you didn’t take any preventive steps, it might take two to three rounds of potato poultice to get rid of it completely.
An effective remedy for painful inflammation of the throat and immune support. It’s effectiveness is due to the fact that it’s made by bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka bush, also known as the tea tree, in New Zealand. The most effective way to take it is straight, 2-3 teaspoons a day.
Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oil like: Pine, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Ginger: add 2-3 drops of 2-3 oils in an essential oil diffuser.
Be sure to use certified organic essential oils to make sure you’re not absorbing or inhaling harmful chemicals or pesticides used during the growing process. Plant Therapy oils have a pretty decent quality, they’re USDA certified, kid safe, third-party tested and affordable (not MLM).
All teas mentioned above are great. Also oregano leaves are very effective in treating a throat infection due to it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Make a tea by steeping 1 ½ teaspoon of dried organic oregano leaves in boiled water for five-ten minutes.
Raw Sliced Onion For Cough
The strong vapor / gas that the onion emits when cut will help stop coughing. While this many may think is anecdotal, all the people I know who used it, were really happy after.
Before your child goes to bed, cut an onion into wedges and leave it on a plate at the bedside (closer to the face). You need to use a fresh onion each time because it’s a great toxin sorbent.
Natural Remedies For Nasal Congestion & Pain In Toddlers
Decongest The Nose
Cleanse the nose with a saline solution, it will moisturize the nasal cavity and lighten the thickened mucus, but its main action is shrinking the swollen tissues by drawing out water.
For children between 1 and 2 years old – place 3 drops of warm water or saline in each nostril, then gently suck out the loosened mucus with a nasal aspirator like this one.
For kids 2 years + use a sinus rinse bottle which comes with salt solution packets, but you can also make it at home with distilled water: 1 qt, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp of sea salt.
Inhaling steam quickly relieves a stuffy nose, steam opens sinuses up and facilitates fast drainage. This option is great if the first option is a problem, it can be done by using a steam inhaler/ vaporizer designed for kids.
Diffuse Essential Oils
Peppermint, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Lavender, Sage – are the best, add 2-3 drops of 2-3 oils in a diffuser. These oils are antiviral, anti-inflammatory and decongestant in nature.
They will loosen up the phlegm and relieve the congestion associated with respiratory conditions.
Apply Heat For Sinus Pain
Apply heat to the area with a rice sock. Fill a small sock with uncooked rice and tie the top closed. Heat the sock in the microwave for a minute or so, until it’s warm.
Place the sock on the sore area, this will relieve all that painful sinus pressure. You can make two of those for each side.
Natural Remedies For Fever In Toddlers
Fever serve an important function in the body’s immune response, it is the body’s way of fighting infection – and thus it should not be suppressed.
Check out some fever guidelines in this article. Natural remedies for fever in toddlers that you can use:
- Give lots of water and herbal teas (mentioned above) to stave off dehydration and help the body flush out the illness.
Another effective fever reducing remedy for toddlers is mixing in a glass (200 ml) of lukewarm water 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of organic honey and give this to your child to drink. My kid loves it, it tastes just like a lemonade.
- A five-minute sponge bath in lukewarm water can also help your kid feel cooler and can lower his temperature.
Natural Remedies For Ear Infection In Toddlers
Attention: if the eardrum is perforated, nothing should be put in the ears.
Take a fresh onion, steam it, cut it in half, and squeeze the juice in a spoon, let it cool a bit and pour 2-3 drops in the ear.
Additionally you can use the other half of hot onion by wrapping it in a towel and hold it over the infected ear.
Repeat as often as necessary to soothe pain.
Extract the juice of a beet (about 1 teaspoon). Warm up a little. Put 1-2 drops in each ear. Cover with a cotton ball, to absorb any leakage.
Warm the oil a bit then place 2-3 drops directly in the ear, finish with a small cotton ball on top. This oil is a blend of mullein, calendula and St. John’s Wort flower extracts, and also garlic bulb extract.
You can also make your own oil, by infusing a few crushed garlic cloves in olive oil and let it infuse for a few hours. Then strain the oil in a jar and store it in the fridge. You can use it during several days it won’t spoil.
How To Protect Your Toddler From Cold And Flu?
Symptoms may begin within sixteen hours of exposure and typically peak two to four days after onset. Sometimes kids can spread the virus even when they don’t have any symptoms.
Did you know that flu viruses can live up to two-three days on a surface?
- Frequent hand washing, especially after a trip to the store, going to the bathroom, before meals and after blowing their nose (if they can).
- Wearing a surgical mask (if you are sick already) is also useful.
- Use separate cups and utensils.
- Change clothes often, wash the toys and hands with soap. The virus will usually be present on their hands, clothing, and toys as they rub their nose or eyes without much concern.
- Skip good-night kisses.
- Avoid crowded places.
- A healthy diet rich in vegetables, bone broth, whole foods, fermented foods, essential fatty acids.
- Avoiding sugary foods and white flour foods is really important since the immune function is reduced and compromised for up to five hours if your blood sugar level is 120 and up. Specifically, the ability of white blood cells (neutrophils) to destroy bacteria.
- Clean the air with an air purifier. After a cough or a sneeze, some viruses stay suspended in the air for hours before landing on surfaces. You can choose between ozone & ion generators (I’m using this one in the kitchen also), HEPA filter purifiers, carbon filter purifiers, UV light air cleaners or purifiers with multiple level of cleaning which incorporate all of the mentioned filters.
I also like to use an Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser. It disperses essential oils as a fine vapor throughout the air so they can be absorbed gently into the body through the respiratory system. It’s a great defense against airborne viruses, bacteria and mold. Most effective essential oils are: tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, thyme and sage.
- Bathroom cleaning and disinfecting – especially the sink, faucets, toilet, and toilet handle.
- Change towels daily during an illness and make sure that everyone has their own. Also disinfect tooth brushes with hydrogen peroxide after each use.
- Clean the surfaces that you frequently touch like: light switches, door knobs, railings, refrigerator door handle, cabinet/drawer handles, electronic devices (phones, computers, tablets, remotes) using a disinfectant wipe, cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
These are some of the most effective natural cold and flu remedies for toddlers and small children. They were applied in my childhood very often.
Back then there weren’t available all these cough syrups, expensive oils and herbs so my mother had to improvise, it worked every single time. The potato, garlic, honey and onions were staple ingredients in treating my childhood cold and flu.
I hope you have found this post useful and please let me know if you have discovered other natural remedies, not included on this list that works wonders for you child!
Lastly, be sure to listen to your intuition. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.
This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Seek the direct advice of your own doctor if you have any questions or issues.