This month has been interesting and trying. My 7 year old son contracted bacterial pneumonia at school and was out for a week. While it could have been much worse, I definitely got creative to keep him comfortable at night. I thought it might be nice to share some of the things I did in case you'd like to try them for yourself or your family to help ease the symptoms of colds, flu, or even bronchial infections like poor Aidan had.
I tried to focus on two things: alleviating symptoms and preventing the spread of the germs to the rest of the family.
Keeping Aidan comfortable was really my primary aim and essential oils played a lead role in this battle. I selected three oils for theirs specific properties: Lavender, Tea Tree and Cedarwood.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has so many wonderful qualities, including being an anti-bacterial and anti-viral but it's also an anti-spasmodic. It can help control a cough and ease headaches which helped Aidan quite a bit as he had constant cough and headache for days. Perhaps best of all, it can kill airborne microbes.
Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) is a fabulous oil for upper respiratory infections. It also calms a cough, relieves congestion and stimulates healing of lung tissue when infection is present.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a powerful oil that attacks germs, opens blocked sinuses and can kill airborne microbes just like Lavender.
For adults Eucalyptus might be a great replacement for Cedarwood as it's a little more powerful in opening the sinuses than Cedarwood but it is not advised for children under ten or anyone with sensitive respiratory system such as asthmatics.
I made Aidan an inhaler with a combination of these oils for him to sniff whenever a coughing or sneezing fit came on. It works almost instantly for sneezing and definitely quietens the cough.
At night I mixed a blend of these three oils in a diffuser I run in the boys' room. They share a room and so treating the air to kill germs while they sleep was really important to me. Aidan's great about covering his cough when he's awake but in your sleep that's not happening.
To help clear a super stuffy nose and swollen sinuses I simply put ONE drop of Tea Tree oil into a large bowl of freshly boiled water. Aidan then covered his head with a towel and breathed in the steam. It's very potent so DO NOT use more than one drop (no matter what oil you use in a steam). Advise children to keep their eyes closed because the vapors may cause burning and irritation. Sinuses were opened effectively and he could blow out all the gunk afterwards. The additional benefit being Tea Tree's anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Aidan still needed a round of anti-biotics to finally kill his infection but he never became seriously ill and bounced back very quickly. These oils greatly alleviated his symptoms while boosting his immune system to help fight the infection and the increased dosages of acidophilis helped his tummy and kept his internal bacterial colonies in balance.
Please share if you use essential oils to aid in battling through an illness. May you and your family have a safe and healthy winter season.