Treating Cold Symptoms Without Medication

by Susan Willets on July 12, 2008

Natural Cold Remedies

The common cold brings a variety of symptoms, most of which can be eased with safe, natural remedies. The most common cold symptoms of runny nose, stuffiness, and feeling ill are addressed on this page. Please visit our natural remedies for coughs and sore throats for additional resources.

Saline Spray

Saline spray is readily available at your local drug store and safe to use with children of all ages. Following the directions on the bottle, spray/drop a little solution into each nostril to loosen thick mucus. If your child is too small to blow their nose after the application, obtain a bulb syringe made specifically to aid in removing mucus from a small child’s nose.  When using a bulb syringe, squeeze the bulb first, then insert just the tip into the child’s nostril. When you release the bulb, the resulting suction removes the mucus.

CAUTION: Avoid any salines that contain additional decongestant active ingredients as they can be extremely harmful to children.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is an old-time remedy that really works! Part of this is due to the salt levels in the soup. Salt has anti-viral properties, which can help to fight off those nasty cold/flu symptoms. So follow Grandma’s advice and eat up!


The moisture from warm steam helps to thin the mucus and ease congestion, which is a good thing when little noses are stuffy. There are several ways to accomplish this:

  • Sit in the bathroom with your child, close the door, and turn the shower on hot until the steam develops. Stay in your new “steam room” for approximately 10-15 minutes. Have your child blow their nose frequently (or use a suction bulb on younger children) to remove loosened mucus.
  • Use a warm steam vaporizer (not a cool mist humidifier) to add moisture to the air.
  • Add a drop of eucalyptus and lavender oil to the vaporizer for additional relief.

Upright Positions

By keeping the child in a more vertical position, with the head above the heart, you can ease congestion. This is an easy fix for children who are old enough to sleep on a pillow. For younger babies, they may require a night of TLC, being held in a more upright position while they sleep.

Sleep and Hydrate

The most basic of necessities is plenty of rest and fluids to keep your child well hydrated. Simply encouraging your child to drink plenty of water (avoid milk as it will increase congestion) and helping your child rest will allow the body to fight off this sickness more effectively.

What remedies have worked for you and your little ones? Share them by posting a comment below!

Previous post: Cold Medicine Lawsuits

Next post: The Common Cold