Tuesday, 19 May 2015

7 Secrets to Combatting the Flu at Home

This past few days, our household has been transformed into a quarantine zone, with two cases of whiny-clingy little kiddy flu, one case of debilitating mommy flu and one suspected case of the notorious man-flu just beginning to brew. Noodle's pre-school Watsapp group is abuzz with messages from parents saying that their littlies will not be attending school due to illness. Extended family members who declared themselves immune after flu shots are down. 

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Yep, the dreaded flu season has arrived with a vengeance.

As much as I would like to crawl under a duvet and hibernate for a week, life must go on.

I have decided to compile a list of my top home flu remedies as I work my way through using these with my family one by one (together with the goodies that the doctor prescribed of course). Sniffles and sneezes begone!

image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net
  • Nobody seems to know why this one works (some kind of reflexology perhaps?) but many mothers will swear by applying Vicks balm under the feet at night and covering with socks to magically stop night coughing in its tracks. Please exercise caution as this is not suitable for infants.
  • In dry Johannesburg, a humidifier makes a huge difference when the sniffles arrive. I like to use eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender oils in the humidifier (between them they are meant to have antiviral, antibacterial and decongestant properties). I also put a few drops of these oils in a squirt bottle, diluted with lots of water and spritz at night. (If you do not have a nebuliser, steaming over a pot of boiling water is also effective).
  • If you have a nebuliser, use it! This works brilliantly for coughs. Regular saline is just as effective in the nebuliser as prescription meds. Smaller children may be afraid of the nebiliser at first, but they will quickly get over it if you make a game out of it.
  • Lots of fluids are essential to avoid dehydration. Plain water and clear hot drinks are the best. Noodle requests 'honey tea'when she is sick. My 'sick' tea recipe varies, but typically contains the following, brewed in boiling water and then strained: ginger, turmeric, peppermint, cinnamon, honey, a rooibos teabag. Skip the milk if you can as this can make cause more phlegm. Drink as hot as can be tolerated.
  • Vitamin C is great for an immune boost and probiotics are helpful too as they restore your 'good bacteria'.
  • Encourage children to wash hands regularly and not to hug and kiss while sick to avoid spreading germs (easier said than done, as children tend to get clingy and unusually affectionate when ill).
  • Sleep with an extra pillow to allow for easier breathing and sinus drainage. The top of childrens' beds and cots can be raised.
Note: the above should not be construed as medical advice. Please always consult your doctor.