No parent likes to see their child sick or in pain. When your child develops a sore throat, your first instinct is to do anything you can to help ease their discomfort. While some cases of a sore throat should be evaluated by a doctor, many can be cured in the comfort of your own home.
Even if you commonly reach for over-the-counter medications to treat your own symptoms, you may be looking for a more natural alternative for your children. Luckily, there are plenty of ingredients in your home that can be used to ease the pain of sore throats. Better yet, these natural remedies are safe for children!
When To See a Doctor
A sore throat is often the result of a viral or bacterial infection. In some cases, it may also be the result of an allergic reaction. A sore throat is often one of the first symptoms of the common cold or influenza, but it may also be a sign of strep throat. Symptoms of strep throat include fever, headache, and pain when swallowing. While strep throat can go away on its own, antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent complications.
Most sore throats go away on their own. You should consult your family doctor if your child has difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing, a high fever refuses to eat or drink, experiences severe pain, or shows signs of strep throat.
If the sore throat is not accompanied by any of these symptoms, it will most likely go away on its own in a number of days. To help ease the pain as the sore throat runs its course, a handful of natural remedies can be used—many of these are highlighted below.
Remedying a Sore Throat Naturally
Between warm broth, cold popsicles, and a few kid-friendly essential oils, your child’s sore throat will be gone in no time. Instead of putting together complicated home remedies, try thinking simpler. A few one-ingredient remedies already exist in your kitchen.
Did your parents ever have you suck on an ice pop when you had a sore throat as a child? As it turns out, there is a scientific basis behind this natural remedy. As an added bonus, there are hardly any children that would complain about receiving ice cream as “medicine."
Sucking on a frozen popsicle or eating a bowl of ice cream is actually very soothing for a sore throat. For parents that are worried about the nutritional aspect of this treatment, you can easily create your own popsicles with 100% fruit juice or a mixture of yogurt and fruit pieces.
Popsicles help lower the temperature of the nerve endings in the throat, which reduces pain signals and eases the discomfort of a sore throat. The next time your child has a sore throat, have them slowly suck on a frozen popsicle to ease the pain. 1
On the other hand, warm liquids such as herbal tea or a nutrient-filled broth can also act as a natural analgesic. Try to stay away from caffeinated teas, focusing on herbs with healing properties such as marshmallow root, licorice root, slippery elm, or chamomile. When in doubt, a simple bowl of chicken noodle soup has been proven to work wonders for cold and flu symptoms.
A 2008 study tested the effects of hot drinks on symptoms of the common cold and flu. Those who ingested a hot fruit drink reported relief of symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sneezing, and sore throat. 2
Using a Humidifier
If the weather outdoors is cold and dry, chances are that your indoor air is as well. Using a humidifier adds moisture to the air which can help ease symptoms of the common cold and flu—including sore throats. They are also helpful for sinus congestion, headaches, coughs, dry throat, and dry skin. Humidifiers are easy to use and can be used in addition to other natural remedies.
Diffusing Essential Oils
Essential oils offer a wide range of therapeutic properties, from decongestant to analgesic to anti-inflammatory. Simply breathing them in can ease many different symptoms and boost overall wellbeing. Try diffusing eucalyptus essential oil to ease inflammation, lavender essential oil to relax nerves, peppermint essential oil to soothe sinuses, or tea tree essential oil to cleanse the air of harmful pathogens.
Whether you choose to use ice-cold popsicles, a warm bowl of broth, or therapeutic essential oils, rest easy knowing your child is getting relief in a healthy, safe, and natural way.
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