Colds and Flu are a common occurrence for children and adults alike, 6 per year is average until around 7-8 yrs old when children’s immune systems mature.
Prevention involves strengthening your child’s immune system and you can do this by:
- Dressing appropriately for the weather – keep those tootsies warm and avoid running around in bare feet in winter. Don’t sleep directly in front of an open window on cold nights. Polar fleece vests are great as they keep the core warm but the rest of the body cool.
- Avoiding a diet high in sugars and processed food
- If necessary vitamin and mineral supplements can be good – speak to your local practitioner about what is best for you and your child, however, Vitamin C, zinc and fish oils are all recognised as supporting immunity
- There are wonderful Chinese Herbal Formulae that can support the immune system and are beneficial to take throughout autumn to prepare for winter. Granules can be mixed with apple sauce for young children.
- Get enough fresh air but come inside before it gets too cold & don’t allow your child to become overtired
- Maintain proper humidity. Place a bowl of water near heaters or air conditioners (and use these minimally)
- Chronic Lung conditions also need exercise, but don’t overdo it – swimming is great
- Laser Acupuncture and Chinese herbal granules are a great way to support immunity for those kids who are always getting sick
Should a cold set in stay home, rug up, drink plenty of soups or broths and double or triple the dose of cuddles.
- Laser Acupuncture and Chinese herbal granules may reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu
- Pure saline nasal spray from a chemist may be used if your nose is blocked
- Poke root ointment is great to rub around the sinuses
- Fenugreek tea helps clear mucous
Determine if you have a ‘hot’ cold (fever, sore throat, green mucous – bacterial) or a ‘cold’ cold (chills, aching muscles, clear mucous – viral).
For a ‘hot’ cold try some peppermint tea or everyone’s favourite Lemon & Manuka Honey in warm water
Also a peppermint and rosemary bath can help cool off the little ones: 125 g fresh or dried peppermint, 125 g fresh or dried rosemary & 8 cups cold water. Combine herbs and water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain & pour the tea into a bathtub and fill with lukewarm water and have a 15-minute bath.
For a ‘cold’ cold make a cup of tea from the following: 1 whole cinnamon stick (broken into pieces) & 2 cm fresh ginger (sliced), Manuka 15+ honey. Put ingredients in a cup, add boiling water, drink while warm, refill cup 2 more times, rug up and sweat it out.
If there is also an ear infection try ‘Spectrum Herbal Ear Drops’ available at health food stores (follow the directions on the bottle) as well as antiviral, antibacterial Chinese Herbs.
If there is a cough or difficulty breathing the following Chest Rub (or humidifier oil) is useful: 25 ml almond oil, 8 drops frankincense, 6 drops lavender
- Humidifiers are very useful to help loosen phlegm so it can be coughed out – use eucalyptus or tea tree or the chest rub mentioned above if child is over 2yrs or steam alone if younger.
- Cook up some pears and Manuka 15+ honey (steamed or poached in a little water) or Lemon & Honey tea.
- Chinese medicine has some great Cough syrups for wet or dry coughs
Avoid things that can make a cough worse including:
- Cold food straight from the fridge or freezer (this includes ice cream)
- Dairy products – use rice milk while you have a cough
- Bananas & Oranges (incl. juice)
- Peanuts (incl. peanut butter) – try ABC (almond, brazil & cashew) spread instead (from the supermarket)
Your feedback and questions are always welcome so please leave a comment below.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs).
Tania is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (AHPRA registered) in Kingsford