We’ve gone through more than 100 organic green tea bags in the last month and a half. It’s a good thing January is Hot Tea Month and I like green tea! That’s not why we’ve been through so much, though. My entire family has spent the last six weeks — through Christmas, New Year’s, and now — being sick with the “crud” commonly referred to as influenza. Coughing, sneezing, runny noses – we’ve had all the stuff the chemical preparations promise to cure.
Because we have a son with a seizure disorder for whom over-the-counter meds can often be dangerous, and because we like to avoid chemicals in general, we opt for more natural solutions for soothing everything from tender noses (petroleum jelly for the outside, saline rinse for the inside) to coughs and sore throats (tea, tea, and more tea).
When your kids are trying to work their way through this winter’s version of the crud, tea is one of the best things you can stock up on, along with chicken noodle soup. Hydration is critical, and while you might be tempted to grab juices for the kids, the sugar can really make it an unhealthy choice. Encourage them instead to drink as much water as possible, and keep the kettle on (and we’ll all have tea!)
Tea provides hydration and soothes the sore throat. Adding honey to the tea offers a cough suppressant that can be more effective than over-the-counter remedies, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Never give honey to any child under a year old.) The tea can also help loosen the cough and thin the mucus, to make it easier to breathe and blow your nose. While our kids were sick, we would give them a cup of hot tea with honey at breakfast, after school, and again before bed. While I prefer organic green tea, there are a variety of teas that can be beneficial, from thyme, garlic, or ginger tea to peppermint or chamomile. Opt for one that is caffeine free, and be sure to add honey if your kids have a cough you are trying to soothe.
Most of the illnesses that circulate in the winter are virus-caused, which means antibiotics will not do any good. According to the CDC, the symptoms of influenza — cough, sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, body aches, muscle aches, fever, chills, fatigue, and headaches — vary from individual to individual and vary in intensity, but all of these symptoms can be soothed with a good cup of hot tea (with honey). Tea may not be a cure for the influenza virus, but it’s Hot Tea Month for a reason, and tea can certainly make getting through the symptoms a lot easier for you and your kids.
Have you been sick this winter? What are your favorite remedies?