While some parts of the world experience winter and snow, we in Nigeria experience Harmattan which usually begins during the ember months in parts of the country and it is that season when cold, dry and dusty winds blow from the dessert. So with dust mixed with cold air, you can expect all manners of cold and flu. My kids and I are very susceptible to cold so naturally, I fortify my house a lot. So, here is my guide to protecting your home, your kids and yourself against the cold, cold weather.
SPRING CLEANING YOUR HOME DURING HARMATTAN
I know spring cleaning is during spring, right? But, the challenge with Harmattan in Nigeria is that the dust has an amazing way of sneaking into our homes through the doors and windows and soon enough, dust gathers on your furniture and belongings like they were abandoned items. The dust becomes a problem because soon enough, your kids and even you, would touch the dusty surfaces, use same hands on your face and skin ; soon enough, you will begin sneezing. That is exactly how cold begins from the moment you begin sneezing. I recommend that every home is thoroughly cleaned to avoid dust settling everywhere.
Do keep warm during the cold season. If possible, protect your kids’ feet and hands as these are the first points cold enters their body. Also, keep warm by substituting their lotions with Shea butter or cocoa butter as these keep the body warm all day long. Shea butter especially helps relieve cold.
HOW TO USE EUCALYPTUS OIL & AROMATHERAPY OIL
During the cold, you must keep eucalyptus oil or any aromatherapy body oil handy. I use Silverbird eucalyptus oil or you can use Olbas aromatherapy oil. Eucalyptus oil is very safe for infants, toddlers and adults alike and can be used in the bath, around beddings and clothing; and massaged into the body by mixing a small part of it with shea butter. I do not recommend applying eucalyptus oil topically on the skin of infants as kids are known to touch such surfaces and then use same finger to rub eyes, which can sting quite a bit.
EUCALYPTUS OIL BATH: Pour 1ml to 2ml of eucalyptus oil into warm water in bath and use it to bathe your children and yourself. Please do not use the water to wash the face as eucalyptus oil can sting the eye. Use fresh, warm water to wash the face. Using eucalyptus oil in bath is important because the kids and yourself are able to inhale the oil, as they will be too young to have facial steaming.
EUCALYPTUS OIL AND AROMATHERAPY BODY MASSAGE: After bath, take some body butters – it could be Shea butter or cocoa butter; or better still, some body oil and mix with eucalyptus oil, apply on your child’s body in a massage motion. Massage the entire body, including the head. This helps the oil to penetrate into the body and keep the body warm. You should expect some sneezing as this happens once the oil enters the body and begins to clear out the cold and open block nasal passage.
SPRINKLE EUCALYPTUS OIL ON BEDDINGS AND CLOTHING: To further protect your child and yourself, sprinkle eucalyptus oil on clothing before you step out so that the child can keep inhaling the oil from his or her clothing. At night time, sprinkle some drops of eucalyptus oil around the bed including pillows so the child can inhale.
One of the benefits of using eucalyptus oil is that it relieves headache as well as treat insect bites so it helps to relief headache which is common with cold.
FACE STEAMING WITH EUCALYPTUS OIL: This is for adults only and all you have to do is pour warm water – nearly boiling water into a bowl, pour some drops of eucalyptus oil into the water, get a towel, lower your face a few inches away from the water and cover your head with the towel so that the steam can come to your face. You will feel any sore throat you have loosen, any block nose will open as well and you will probably sneeze. Steam your face for five to ten minutes and you will sneeze out the cold. Please keep your eyes closed to avoid stinging.
COLD TREATMENT WITH HERBS AND SPICES
These spices can rid cold in a matter of days without you using any other medication and these are: Turmeric, Black pepper, Garlic, Ginger and Honey.
You could use either of the four spices or combine any two in warm water and mixed with a few drops of honey and drink this thrice daily. Not only will it clear cold and flu symptoms, it would also help relief feverish conditions associated with cold. For kids from the age of one and above, it is much easier for them to drink a warm mix of honey and turmeric or honey and garlic than honey mixed with black pepper or ginger as the latter are both too hot for kids to swallow. Kids do not need more than two tablespoons of such mixture. The most potent and effective of the four spices is turmeric and garlic combined. Garlic is especially effective because it is a natural antibiotic that does same job as medicated antibiotic.
I believe in this guide as it has helped me reduce my children’s dependence of medication. By exposing them to as little medication as possible, it has helped them build immunity which they need to build defense against illnesses. Try to reduce their exposure to cough syrups and antibiotics.
I hope this helps. Cheers!