12 Natural Cold & Flu Remedies Totally Approved by Grandma

Catching the seasonal flu or common cold is a normal part of life and often there are things that we can do at home to make the symptoms more comfortable to endure beyond chicken soup.

We have found some of our favorite home remedies for kids of all ages… oh, and take care of yourself as well!

Image shows a little girl sick with the flu, using a thermometer to check her temperature while drinking a cup of tea.  Text reads "at home cold & flu remedies".
We hope these at home cold and flu remedies are useful to you.

I’ve been looking into at home cold and flu remedies for my kids recently because let’s face it, being sick is miserable!

We’ve all been there:

  • body aches
  • sore throats
  • congestion – yuck!  

Here are some cold and flu remedies you can try at home to try and ease the pain and reduce the time you and your kids are sick without a lot of cold medicines. 

All these ideas are about supporting a healthy body while not feeling well, not medical treatments. Please watch yourself and your family members for serious illness like flu symptoms or cold symptoms beyond the normal expected course (including high fever) and get medical attention immediately when in doubt.

This article contains affiliate links. 

EAsy & Effective At Home Cold and Flu Remedies

DIY congestion relief technique - natural - from Kids Activities Blog - child holding nose with two fingers
Use this easy technique for sinus relief.

1. Clear Your Head

This super easy technique for sinus congestion relief is one of our favorite home remedies that actually work for that stuffy nose. This is something that older children can do independently to ease trouble breathing.

Teddy Bear with Thermometer Sick in Bed - Kids Activities Blog
Mom, do I feel hot?

2. Think Twice About OTC Fever Reducer Medications with Low Temperatures

Don’t treat the fever. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not try to reduce your child’s fever unless it is at a dangerous degree.  If you lower the fever in young children, you may be affecting the body’s ability to respond to that infection. Let a low-grade fever do what it was designed to do, which is to trigger the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells before using over-the-counter medications that reduce a child’s temperature.

A child who is eating and sleeping well and having playful moments often doesn’t need any fever-lowering treatment. But call your child’s healthcare provider in these cases:

Age 3 months or younger: Rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

Younger than age 2: Fever lasts more than 24 hours

Ages 2 and older: Fever lasts more than 72 hours

Any age: Fever repeatedly goes higher than 104°F (40°C) or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as having a seizure, severe sore throat, severe ear pain or headache, unexplained rash, repeated vomiting or diarrhea, unusual sleepiness, or very fussy behavior.”

Stanford Children’s Health, Not All Fevers Need Treatment
Young Living Essential Oils and EO Diffuser - Kids Activities Blog - essential oil diffuser surrounded by bottles of essential oils
Natural solutions smell amazing…

3. Provide Comfort & Immune Support with Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils for Cold or Flu Season

Essential Oils. Using essential oils can be soothing and help aid with maintaining a healthy environment. You can use essential oils in several ways to create an uplifting atmosphere for you and your kids which makes everyone feel good:

  1. Essential Oil Diffuser – diffuse your choice of high quality essential oils for 1/2 hour every 4-6 hours as desired.
  2. Essential Oil Inhalation – Put 2 drops of high quality essential oil or pure essential oil blend into your hands and rub together, cup your hands over your nose and inhale. Repeat as needed throughout day.
  3. Essential Oil Massage – Dilute high quality essential oils at least 50% with a carrier oil and use as a gentle massage oil or rubbing into feet up to 3x a day which is also great at relieving those muscle aches too.
  4. Take a Bath with Essential Oil Infused Bath Salts.

Favorite Essential Oils & Essential Oil Blends for Cold & Flu Season

It is really important to use high quality essential oils when you or your child isn’t feeling well. Inferior essential oils with fragrances or impurities could work against your goal of supporting a healthy body.

Here is what I like to use in my diffuser, for inhalation, essential oil massage or to make bath salts:

Peppermint helps to clear lung and sinus build-up, reduces fever, and helps to destroy bacteria and viruses.

Thyme is a powerful antiseptic and antifungal remedy, and helps in alleviating inflammation in the body, reducing sinusitis, and getting rid of flu symptoms.

Eucalyptus helps fight viruses and respiratory problems, and helps reduce fever as well. As an added bonus, it also boosts your immunity which helps to prevent the flu from coming back.

When used as a topical rub, rosemary can help alleviate flu symptoms especially by clearing your nasal passage and reducing headaches.

Clove has antiviral benefits that help treat infections and reduce fever.

Thieves oil can help prevent the flu when used as an air disinfectant and helps to boost the immune system, besides, when used as a massage oil it helps relieve sore muscles.

Purification helps neutralize and cleanse the air and soothes your nasal passage. This blend is a combination of citronella, lavandin, lemongrass, myrtle, rosemary, and tea tree.

This blend combines hyssop, mountain savory, cistus, camphor, and other essential oils that support a healthy lifestyle, especially during season changes.

This oil blend promotes strength, empowerment, and has oils such as ylang-ylang and cedarwood which help reduce headaches.

This is the perfect blend for helping you and your kiddo breathe better and make you feel invigorated again thanks to the combination of copaiba, myrtle, and peppermint.

Lavender has an aroma that is soothing to the senses, and it also contains antioxidants that provide immune support.

Collage of images - different remedies for treating cold and flu in kids and adults. Text says "DIY cold & flu remedies" from Kids Activities Blog
Use these remedies to recover quickly from the flu!

4. Make Cold & Flu Fighting Treats

  • Make Throat Soothing Suckers. This homemade cough suckers recipe is made from lemons and honey.
  • Make a batch of Flu Fighting Gummy Bears! This recipe from Wellness Mama uses the super flu fighting power of Elderberry to make cute gummy bears for your kids to snack on while avoiding a runny nose
  • Bake Flu Fighter Cookies.  These cookies, from The Food Network, sneak in some flu-fighting ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
  • Fight that cold with a green smoothie! Young and Raw‘s Cold & Flu Smoothie recipe is full of kale, pineapple, bananas, and coconut.
  • Make Sore Throat Popsicles. Love & Marriage‘s Sore Throat Relieving Popsicles are a fun and easy way to get your kids to drink tea and honey.

5. Try Acupuncture Pressure Points for Headache

Try Headache Relief Pressure Point.  If you are suffering from a headache, try this pressure point treatment from How Does She.

Watch this Video on How to Apply Pressure to Web space for Headaches

How to DIY Cold and Flu Remedies at Home

6. Just Like Grandma Said, “Drink More Water!”

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. If you are running a fever you can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure you keep your kids drinking by offering them their favorite juice or sports drink. I always keep Pedialyte stocked, just in case.  If they refuse, you can try and make it fun by offering them popsicles instead.

Warm liquids are soothing as well. A cup of warm herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey or diluted fruit juice is a good idea to try! One of my favorites is the easy Thieves Tea recipe which just FEELS good.

7. Apply a Soothing Vapor Rub

8. Take a Soothing Bath or Hot Shower

  1. Take a Detox Bath. This recipe for a kids detox bath, from The Paleo Mom, helps reduce the toxins inside their body and strengthens their immune system.
  2. Take a vapor bath with these pre-made vapor bath bombs.

Lastly, here are seven tips to help you avoid getting the flu in the first place!

9. Dress Comfortably

I know this may sound super obvious, but often we don’t think about making sure we or our children are dressed cooly and comfortably when not feeling well. Having an extra set of dry, clean pajamas or sweats on hand just in case is a great plan as well.

10. Calm Play is Encouraged

Over-exertion can prolong not feeling well, but calm play is good for both the body and the mind and help kids feel “normal”.

11. Saline Nose Drops to the Rescue

One of the easiest things you can do to easy a stuffy nose is to use saline spray or saline drops to gently flush away mucus and irritants. Some of our favorite products that can help deliver saline drops:

And in younger kids and babies, using a suction bulb or a baby nasal aspirator snotsucker can be a really good way to easy discomfort.

12. Cool Mist Humidifier

If you live in a dry climate, then a cool mist humidifier is a lifesaver during cold and flu season. A cool-mist humidifier is safe to use around pets and babies and can help everyone breathe a little better. I like to make sure ours are functional every night which helps the entire family sleep better without that pesky nasal congestion.

Avoid the Common Cold & Seasonal Flu

While avoiding getting sick is the best way to not experience cold and flu symptoms, it isn’t always doable! Being in close contact with those who are sick is sometimes inevitable. Getting your yearly flu shot or flu vaccine is the best way to prepare.

Be sure to always consult with your child’s doctor anytime your child has difficulty breathing or has a high temperature to make sure it isn’t a sign of serious infection than just the common cold.

More Ways to Protect Your Family During Flu Season

How do you prepare for flu season? Comment below! 

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