Kid-Safe Natural Home Remedies for Colds and Flus

When you have kids, it always feels like cold and flu season is just around the corner! Even when you’re careful about cold and flu prevention, your kids will still get ill. Be prepared with these home remedies that help kids recover from infections quickly and easily.

Steam Treatments

Steam naturally thins phlegm and mucus in the airways, making it easier for kids to cough up the yucky stuff and get it out of their system. With simple steam treatments, you can ease the nasal and/or chest congestion brought on by the flu season. If you add eucalyptus oil (see below), this remedy can really work wonders.

There are several ways to do a steam treatment. Your child can place their head over a bowl of steaming water and breathe in the vapor. You can also have your child take a warm shower or bath and get the bathroom really steamy to help break up congestion. You can also consider using a vaporizer in your child’s room. If you’re going the vaporizer route however, be sure to clean it thoroughly and regularly to prevent mold from developing.

Chicken Soup

This old-fashioned remedy for colds has mothers throughout the ages on its side. Soup is easy for children to digest even if they have little appetite and it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals from the vegetables such as carrots, onions, and garlic. The broth itself can help contribute to hydration levels and can be very soothing for an irritated throat. Note: “White foods” such as grains, sugars, and dairy suppress the immune system so skip the noodles, rice, and cream to get better faster.


Ginger (either as ginger tea or pieces of crystallized ginger which taste like candy) can help manage a cold. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties which can help bring down the swelling and irritation of the respiratory tract, as well as reduce chest and nasal congestion. The active ingredient in ginger – called gingerols – also acts as a natural cough suppressant. This can make children more comfortable – and more likely to sleep, which will speed up their recovery time.

Lemon & Honey Tea

Tea with lemon and honey brings an added measure of comfort for a child suffering from a cold or the flu. The lemon contains Vitamin C, which is known to strengthen the body’s immunity and make it easier to fight infections. Honey has natural antimicrobial properties and due to its consistency can help to soothe and coat a sore, infected throat. The tea itself, even without lemon and honey, will contribute to their hydration levels.

Garlic & Onions

Eating garlic and onions will help kill germs and bacteria while boosting the immune system. But they’re also great topically applied. Slice onions or garlic and place and rub all over the bottom of your child’s feet with some olive oil. Wrap each foot in Saran wrap and place a sock on overnight. Onions and garlic have been shown to pull toxins and help the body heal.

Nettle Leaf

Nettle leaves contain large amounts of vitamins and trace minerals and helps the body stay hydrated and remove toxins. Drink it in a tea with raspberry, chamomile, and peppermint for a powerful immunity boost.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is an excellent choice for an at-home flu remedy. For one thing, it is a bronchodilator, which means that it is able to relax and widen the air passages to the lungs, making it easier to breathe. For another, it’s a natural decongestant and helps eliminate the build-up of nasal or chest congestion that is common with colds and flus. It can be rubbed onto the skin of the chest or upper back (diluted in a carrier like almond oil) or used in a steam treatment.


Bromelain is a special enzyme derived from pineapples and is a natural and effective cough suppressant. Bromelain can be bought as a supplement in many health food stores. Before you give this or any other natural remedy however, consult with your doctor to be on the safe side.
If you do not wish to use a supplement, simply serving up pineapple juice can help with coughs – and gives an extra dose of vitamin C as well!

Elderberry Syrup

Syrup made from elderberries can be purchased in practically any health food store and is similar to the popular OTC syrup known as “Sambucol”. Like pineapple juice, elderberry has natural compounds which help suppress coughs and allow children to rest while they are recovering. In Europe, it’s also widely used because it’s believed to have antiviral properties of its own.
You can’t always stop your kids from coming down with a virus! But these at-home remedies are a great way to make your child more comfortable while their bodies are fighting against a viral infection like the cold or flu.


Keeping your child hydrated is one of the most important things you can do when you’re trying to get them over a flu or cold. This partly is because all the body’s systems work better and more efficiently when fluid levels are adequate. More specifically, hydration helps a cold or flu by thinning and loosening secretions in the chest or nose and making it easy for them to be coughed up.


When children first come down with a cold or flu, rest is not a problem: Most of them feel too ill to get out of bed! As children begin to recover though, they can get restless and want to get up and be too active before their body is fully recovered. At that time, make sure that you have plenty of distractions for them like books and puzzles. And since they are sick, it’s probably okay to ease up a bit on TV restrictions as well!

However you do it, getting them to rest while they are ill is essential as it gives the body time to help fight off the illness and restore itself to health.

How do you treat your sick child – with OTC meds, or at-home remedies? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags : health   cold   flu   

Tricia Goss
Probably better than side effect-laden OTCs for mamas, too! Awesome list.