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    Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

    Americans are turning to cold and flu supplements in greater numbers.

    Natural Cold and Flu Remedies in Children

    Are natural cold and flu remedies safe for kids? It's a question many parents are asking, particularly in light of the risks of cold and cough medicines for children.

    Leopold believes that using supplements in children can be a reasonable option -- provided you always check with a pediatrician or family doctor first. Keep in mind that most alternative supplements have never been studied in children specifically. So we can't be certain that a treatment that is effective and safe in adults will work the same way in kids.

    Always err on the side of caution. "When a child is really sick, you don't want to waste time messing with herbal stuff," says Lausier. "You need to get them to a pediatrician."

    Cold and Flu: Other Natural Treatments

    Natural remedies for colds and flu go well beyond herbs and supplements. Good lifestyle and hygiene habits are proven to reduce your risk of getting sick.

    • Eat healthy foods. Get regular exercise. Learn to manage stress. Those are among the best natural ways to prevent colds and flu, says Leopold.
    • Cover your mouth when you cough. Make sure to cough into your sleeve instead of your hand, Lausier says. You'll reduce the odds of passing your germs on to someone else.
    • Wash your hands. Washing with soap for the time it takes to sing two rounds of “Happy Birthday” -- or rubbing your hands with an alcohol-based gel with enough gel to rub hands together for 30 seconds -- remains one of the best ways of protecting yourself from cold and flu germs.

    Don't Forget to Get the Flu Vaccine

    Nowadays, an annual flu vaccine is recommended for most children and adults. It's highly effective and contrary to what you may have heard, the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. It can save you and your family a lot of misery.

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    Reviewed on December 29, 2010

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