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As soon as the kids are back in school, the flu season cranks up to full strength. Coughs, stuffed noses, fevers, sneezing—you name it, they’re all there.

I’m a big believer in home remedies, and there’s nothing like a little extra special care from Mom or Dad to help our little ones when they get sick. But what works to combat colds and what doesn’t? I thought I’d do a little research on the best homemade remedies for cold season. Make sure you share these tips with your babysitters and nannies. They’re on the front line of flu fighters, too!

Drink Fluids
There are plenty of reasons to stay hydrated even when you’re not sick, but drinking fluids like water, ginger ale, or sports drinks is especially important when you’re not feeling well. Decaffeinated herbal tea is my drink of choice when I’m under the weather. The last time I was sick, my co-founder Donna suggested adding honey to the tea to help reduce my sore throat. It was an old trick she’d learned from her grandmother. In fact, Donna’s grandmother used to mix honey with baking soda and make her kids and grandkids take it whenever they weren’t feeling well! (I haven’t tried that yet.)

It’s extremely important to drink fluids when you’re sick because you can easily become dehydrated as your body fights off the virus, so keep those fluids coming (8-10 eight-ounce glasses a day). Fluids also help break up congestion, too.

So what if it sounds and looks funny? Gargling helps moisten sore and scratchy throats. Use warm water and add a teaspoon of salt and a squirt of lemon juice a few times each day. It’s a great pain reliever and helps take sick kids’ minds off the discomfort they’re feeling.

A friend of mine tells me she mixes water with hydrogen peroxide for her gargling solutions. She does admit it tastes pretty bad, but it works for her. Would you try that?

Chicken Soup
Mom always said it was good for you and science proves she was right all along! Chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory and relieves congestion—not bad! Plus, it has protein which helps the body build those flu-fighting white blood cells.

There’s a reason a hot shower makes you feel better when you’re sick. The humidity from the steam helps make breathing easier. It’s also a great way to stay warm. When your body doesn’t have to spend as much effort warming itself, it has more energy to use fighting off the virus that made you sick. It is also a good idea to keep a humidifier running in the house during the winter months—they’re an inexpensive way to fight off the dry air that comes with this time of year.

Vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc are all lauded as cold-fighters. But do they actually work? Some people swear by these natural remedies, but studies have mixed results. There’s some indication, though, that taking Vitamin C, Echinacea, or zinc when you start to feel sick helps shorten the length of the cold. And I know they definitely work for me.

If you’re looking for even more info on fighting the flu, you can find helpful homemade remedy tips here from And don’t forget the importance of rest! Get lots of sleep and give your body some time to fight off the flu this winter.

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