The season’s barely gotten started, but I know plenty of people who’ve already been plagued with a nasty case of the cold or flu. Fortunately, there’s a boatload of natural remedies that’ll soothe a range of symptoms in kids and adultseverything from garlick-y chicken soup to echinacea to peppermint oilbut as it turns out, the very simplest fix might be the most potent.
I’m talking about salt water. Gargling with a saline solution not only eases inflamed throat tissue, but can actually whisk away mucus containing bacteria and fungus that can cause infection and irritation. In fact, one study found that people who gargled salt water throughout the cold and flu season had 40 percent fewer upper respiratory infections than people who didn’t gargle at all. Bring on the salt!
To reap the benefits, mix half a teaspoon of salt (any kind will do) with a cup of warm water, then gargle for a few seconds and spit out, says the Mayo Clinic. For kids over 1 (and grown-ups!) who aren’t fans of the salty taste, add a spoonful of honey–it’ll not only improve the taste of the mixture, but will work to coat sore throats.
Has gargling with salt water ever helped your child’s cough or sore throat? When sickness strikes, what other natural remedies does your family turn to?