A lot of the items you have around the house—whether it’s foods from the fridge, the duct tape in your kitchen cabinet, or the air conditioner in the family room—can help ease a variety of your kids’ ailments, from bee stings to sore throats to upset stomachs and more.
But when using home remedies, always consult with your pediatrician. Your doc may advise that you utilize ibuprofen with that ginger, give you the correct dosage to use for that raw honey, or might put the kabosh on your natural remedy all together. Remember, the doctor’s advice comes first, the apple cider vinegar comes second. And with any home remedy or traditional medicine, don’t forget to add a big dose of that all-important ingredient, TLC.
1. OLIVE OIL AND GARLIC
It sounds like a recipe for a simple but delicious pasta dish, but surprisingly, it’s a remedy for ear infections! Even more surprising is that none other than Dr. Oz gives it his seal of approval. “It works,” claims the official website for the Dr. Oz Show. “Garlic has anti-bacterial properties which relieves pain and cures infection.” Check out his specific instructions for how to prepare the concoction.
Although it may not be easy to convince your child to try—and shouldn’t be attempted with children under the age of four—gargling a warm glass of water with ½ teaspoon of salt can soothe a sore throat. BabyCenter wisely advises having children practice gargling first with a glass of plain water. And if they don’t mind having a little lemon added to the concoction, that can help ease the discomfort of a sore throat as well.
3. RAW ONIONS
Onions on a burger? Delish. Onions in your child’s socks to reduce a fever? Hmm. But there are some who swear by this remedy, which involves placing sliced raw onions in your child’s socks, with the cut sides against the soles of the feet. The anti-inflamatory properties of the onion may help reduce a fever. Of course, if your child has a high fever, you should seek medical attention.
4. CHAMOMILE TEA
There’s just something soothing about chamomile, and it’s not just an old-wives tale. “Studies have found that chamomile is a mild sedative that seems to be safe for children of all ages,” reports WebMD. A warm cup can be just the ticket to calming your child (barring, of course, any allergies to chamomile or ragweed).
5. BAKING SODA
Most people think of baking soda as something A) they use a dash of for baking or B) sits in the fridge soaking up old food smells. Now you can add C) a great remedy for bee stings! Mix baking soda with water to form a paste, and apply to your unhappy little one’s bee stings. (In addition, assuring the patient that the concoction will work wonders is always a great way to add a psychological edge to the treatment—their panic over being stung will be eased and they’ll feel that pain relief is on the way.)
6. DUCT TAPE
While duct tape isn’t considered a natural resource, it can act as a painless, non-medicinal solution for a problem that often causes kids embarrassment: warts. Besides potentially getting rid of the wart for good, it hides the problem, too. “Apply a wart-sized piece of duct tape to the wart. Keep it on for one week, then soak it and peel off the tape. Rub the wart with emery board or pumice stone, then re-apply a new piece of tape for another week,” instructs the AskDrSears website. “If the tape comes off sooner, just put a new piece on. Repeat as long as necessary.”
Put away that icky, sticky, fake-cherry-smelling cough syrup—according to ABC News: “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received either a common over-the-counter cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) or nothing at all.” But be aware, children under one year of age should never be given honey, because of the risk of botulism, a serious illness.
8. (REAL) GINGER
There’s something about ginger ale that makes it seem like just the right thing for an upset stomach. But it’s either the fizzy bubbles or the idea that it will work, because most ginger ale doesn’t contain real ginger, and it’s real ginger that has famous soothing properties. Whether it’s a ginger snap cookie (recommended on AskDrSears as a carsickness remedy) or soda made with actual ginger, it’s the real stuff that serves as a natural treatment for stomach (although it should be given in moderation—check with your doc—and should not be given to children under the age of two).
9. STEAMY AIR, COLD AIR
Croup is a loud, often scary-sounding cough that can be accompanied by raspy breathing. For relief, turn on a hot shower and close the bathroom door to create a steamy environment; then sit with your child (who should be clad in just a diaper or underwear) in the bathroom for 15 minutes. Then get the child dressed and wrapped in a blanket and take him out into the cool night air—or, if it’s warm out, stand in front of the open freezer door or the air conditioner for five minutes. “The steam relaxes the airways and vocal cords, while the cold air reduces the swelling,” according to Parenting, which gives a full set of instructions. “This combination often controls symptoms until the next day, when you can go to the doctor.”
10. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
File this in the “Who Knew?” department—apple cider vinegar can be used as an effective remedy for asthma. LiveStrong advises adding one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of cold water and having your child drink half of the glass over a half-hour period; take a half-hour break; then resume taking sips over another half-hour period: “A significant reduction in wheezing should follow, particularly if the child takes the vinegar remedy in combination with deep-breathing exercises.”