My Top Ten Must Haves For Cold & Flu Season

Cold and Flu

(there are actually 13 items in the picture – I have grouped the teas, cold medicines, and essential oils together). 

It’s approaching fast and before you know it, the dreaded cold and flu will be here. November is the official start so you might as well fill that Thanksgiving cornucopia with a few remedies and concoctions because along with the seasonal festivities, comes seasonal ailments.

Last year was the pinnacle of illness for our family, friends, and especially me. It all started with the month-long “cold” in December, picked up on New Year’s Eve with the flu, and ended in February with a newly pregnant me on the bathroom floor battling the Norovirus (I know, not a pretty image). All of those ailments hijacked my system and made for a not-so-fun winter and a pretty scary Facebook page.

The good news? There are remedies to assist in the prevention and treatment of the above illnesses.  John managed to avoid all sickness with the use of these products and Jack never came down with the flu or the Norovirus. Here is our list of top ten must haves for cold and flu season:

1. Astragalus Root Liquid Extract

I sure wish I had discovered this powerful herbal tincture before cold and flu season last year. By the time I had learned of this ancient treatment’s cold fighting abilities, it was too late for me. I was pregnant and already battled the month long cold and the flu. It was by accident I discovered this treatment and it worked well for John all season long. So what is it? A powerful, Chinese herb used to improve immune system function. I like this article from Natural News. http://www.naturalnews.com/027302_astragalus_swine_flu.html

2. Ancient Secrets Hypertonic Seawater Nasal Spray

This nasal spray is 2.0% Sodium Chloride derived from seawater. This product has a easy press valve that releases a fine mist. Use it during the winter and allergy season to keep nasal passages flushed and  moist.

3. Zicam Cold Remedy Oral Mist 

Zicam oral mist (not to be confused with the intranasal spray and swabs that were recalled by the FDA) really, really works. This zinc concoction does in fact shorten the duration and severity of the common cold. I have used it for years with no side effects. Simply spray in mouth per the directions on the bottle. The nasal product line was recalled by the FDA due to many users permanently losing their sense of smell. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm166931.htm

4. Hyland’s Daytime and Nightime Cold’ n Cough 4 Kids

Both of these products are homeopathic and are safe kids ages 2 and up. My son Jack has used both of these and both work very well in keeping him comfortable when a cold hits. I especially like the Nighttime blend because it allows him to sleep comfortably.

5. Badger Eucalyptus & Mint Aromatic Chest Rub

Think is the natural form of Vicks. While this rub is not as potent as Vicks rub, it gets the job done. We use it as a chest rub, lymph node rub, and foot rub during times of illness. It is refreshing and has an adorable badger sipping tea on the cover. What’s not to love?

6. Oil of Oregano 25% Oil Blend and Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Both of these essential oils are disease killing powerhouses and should be readily available in your home. I use a pre-diluted brand of oil of oregano to treat ailments of all kinds. It works great on cold sores and the common cold.

Oregano Oil – Known as “nature’s antibiotic” is as I said before, a powerhouse. Here is a helpful blog post on the usage of oregano oil. http://healthyplanetcanada.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/10-ways-to-use-oil-of-oregano/

Please note, oregano oil should be diluted as necessary prior to usage. It is a strong, powerful oil. Never take essential oils internally or use undiluted oils on your skin without the proper dilution. Consult an herbalist or a reputable book for more information. In addition, pregnant women should avoid using oil of oregano.

Eucalyptus Oil – This oil is  great for diffusing, cleaning, and inhaling during cold season and all year long. Simply inhaling this powerful oil through steam clears up sinus congestion and fights head colds. I use it all winter long and it helps tremendously. Taken internally in large does, eucalyptus oil is toxic.

Here is my favorite wintertime, all-purpose house cleaner using eucalyptus oil: Fill a spray bottle with mostly water, add a few drops of dish soap (I like Seventh Generation Lavender – it smells great) or tea tree castile soap for added antibacterial properties, and add about ten drops of eucalyptus oil. It makes a great antiviral and antimicrobial cleaner.

7. Coconut Water

Coconut water is nature’s Gatorade so skip the artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup and opt for this wonder liquid when sick. Coconut water contains natural electrolytes, sugars, and  potassium. *did you know coconut water can be used as a universal donor because it’s makeup is the same as blood plasma?!* Here is a link with some information on the benefits of coconut water. http://www.coconutwaterlife.com/coconut-water-benefits

8. Tea

Ahhh, what’s not to love about a hot, steaming cup of tea? Tea was first steeped about 4700 years ago in China and has been credited for it’s amazing health benefits ever since. Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. While not all teas are created equal or have the same illness battling properties, there are a few teas we consume often during cold and flu season. These three beauties keep us feeling hydrated and aid in the prevention of and treatment of the cold and flu.

Turmeric Tea – Turmeric is a true disease fighter. My husband stayed illness free all winter and he drank about two cups a day. Unfortunately, turmeric tea should not be consumed by pregnant women; therefore, I missed this boat for a good chunk of the winter. The benefits? Check them out.  http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html

Organic Echinacea Plus – Echinacea has long been sipped by those fighting the common cold. It has been toted to shorten the duration and ease symptoms. I religiously drink this tea during the winter and during times of illness, sadly, pregnant women should not consume echinacea; therefore, I again missed this boat last winter. Which brand is best? I love Traditional Medicinals. http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/product/echinacea-plus-reg

Just for Kids – Organic Cold Care Tea – My son loves this tea made just for kiddos! It is a blend of elder flower, linden flower, chamomile flower, and peppermint leaf. Many tea formulations are too powerful for children so finding this blend by Traditional Medicinals was a lifesaver. http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/product/just-for-kids-cold-care

9. Burt’s Bees Honey Lemon Throat Drops– When I think throat lozenges, I think of those powerful, mentholated drops, and cringe. I have never enjoyed cough drops simply because they are too overpowering. Last year I discovered Burt’s Bees own line of throat drops made with honey and 2.0 mg of menthol. They are not overpowering and work really well. There are 20 drops per bag making them a bit pricey. Thankfully, I hit a clearance section at the grocery store last year and stocked up. Interested in making your own honey drops? Check out this Pure Honey Cough Drop Recipe from Little House in the Suburbs: http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2010/10/pure-honey-cough-drops.html

10. Vitamin C 

My husband loves those effervescent, vitamin C packets and uses them when he feels as if he is coming down with something. They are little vitamin shots that help support the immune system. We happen to have the Target version of Emergen-C in our medicine arsenal. We also keep chewable vitamin C supplements for daily use. Increasing your vitamin C  intake in the winter is a good way to help ward off the cold and flu virus.

So, there you have it. My top ten must haves for cold and flu season. Do you have any remedies, products, or concoctions you can’t live without?

Happy (healthful) Homemaking,

The Joyful Homemaker

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