It’s bug season, but maybe not the type of “bug” you’d expect from us. If you’re a parent of school-age children, you’re probably “over” this time of year. From the flu and stomach viruses, to RSV and hand, foot and mouth disease, it’s been a revolving door of illnesses that seems to never end. Add that to other common ailments like mosquito bites, bee stings, eczema or knee scrapes, and your poor kid – and you – can’t seem to catch a break.
For those itching to find relief – literally and figuratively – we’ve got your back. We pooled our Bug Bite Thing team for their best ways to provide relief to kids for common health problems through natural ingredients and tools, all from home.
8 Natural Home Remedies for Kids
Coconut Water - dehydration
Drinking lots of fluids is one of the best things we can do for kids and adults who are sick. When our generations were young, many families would lean on Gatorade and Pedialyte, but there’s a product straight from the earth that is packed with electrolytes: coconut water. With less sugar and more potassium than most sports drinks, coconut water is a wonder for hydration. If your kids can’t handle the taste, consider turning it into homemade popsicles by adding a bit of strawberry or mango and freeze. Breastmilk is also a perfect option for babies who are still nursing—there’s no need for any other type of fluid for them!
Oatmeal bath - hand, foot and mouth disease or eczema
Skin irritations are the pits, take it from us. When a child experiences dry, itchy skin across larger areas of their body, we want to do everything we can to make it stop. Though oatmeal is not a cure, research shows baths mixed with colloidal oatmeal can make an impact by reducing inflammation, protecting and soothing their skin, and acting a buffer to maintain the pH of their skin surface. Want to make your own oatmeal bath at home? We love this recipe from Wellness Mama.
Saltwater gargle and honey - sore throats and coughs
If your child is developmentally old enough for the action, this duo can pack a powerful punch at painful throat-related illnesses. Many doctors recommend gargling saltwater (1/4 to ½ tsp. of salt to 8 oz. of warm water), as salt has been clinically proven to reduce harmful bacteria. It is known to ease inflammation on its own, but pair that with a spoonful of honey to coat the throat and you’ll put up an even stronger fight against the throbbing and coughing. If your child is older than 12 months but not yet able to master gargling, honey can be mixed with warm water and drank for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-fungal properties (children younger than age 1 year should not be given honey due to bacteria that could be harmful to them).
Saline paired with a humidifier - congestion
A stuffy nose may not be the worst part of a cold, but that can be hard to remember for anyone who is dealing with it. Babies and children can safely use saline mist to relieve sinus pressure. There’s a lot of talk about nasal irrigation with saline lately on TikTok, which many parents swear by, as long as their children don’t mind it. The tried-and-true cool mist humidifier is also beneficial for easing the symptoms of upper respiratory infections, as it keeps nasal passages moist for easier breathing.
NoseFrida The SnotSucker - sinus infections
This simple gadget does exactly what its name describes and has been a game-changer for families with infants since it came out less than 10 years ago. The SnotSucker sounds gross – and let’s face it, it kinda is – but it helps parents comfort their kids who are too young to blow their noses by suctioning out the mucus (sounds familiar!). If your child is a little older but still unable to blow their nose, don’t fret, as we have tips for you, too, thanks to this handy video from Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers.
Ginger - stomach issues
If you’ve dealt with the “stomach flu” or gastroenteritis, you know that these tummy aches are the worst. Keeping hydrated is most important, and studies show that ginger can help kids keep things down. To use this natural remedy to combat nausea, consider a ginger lollipop (for kids older than 4 years) or add a small amount of grated fresh ginger to warm water with honey and lemon (for kids older than 1 year). Don’t forget to keep some on hand even after your littles are feeling better because you may need it for yourself … stomach bugs are incredibly contagious!
Chicken soup - colds and congestion
Besides serving as a comfort food, there is data that suggests chicken soup can be beneficial in warding off cold symptoms. Sips of warm liquids like this can break down mucus, which in turn helps the body rid itself of the virus. Evidence shows that chicken soup, such as one made with chicken bone broth, can do this better than other teas and soups since it acts as an anti-inflammatory and is rich in key amino acids that support recovery.
Bug Bite Thing - insect bites and stings
You didn’t think we’d get through the list of natural relief without our handheld device that reduces the effects of bites and stings, did you? Ant bites, wasp stings and other insect-induced irritations are pains in the butt (and leg, and arm, and back …), but the Bug Bite Thing uses suction to remove the saliva or venom, which ultimately causes the pain, itching and swelling. “By extracting the irritant, the body stops producing the histamine response,” said Dr. Mona Amin, who is a board-certified pediatrician and part of our medical advisory board. For tips on how to use the Bug Bite Thing on children, check out our other recent blog post.
Please note that this list does not serve as medical advice, nor does it intend to take the place of a talk with the pediatrician or other medicines or care your child may need. Rather, we hope you’ll find these ideas useful for supplemental support when trying to ease your child’s pain and discomfort.
For even more tips, tricks, activities and education, follow along on the Bug Bite Thing blog, “From the Queen Bee,” where we cover everything from mosquito-borne illnesses and the blood types that attract the most mosquitoes, to camping essentials and how to bug-proof your home from insects.