Jingle bells, jingle bells, cough cough, sneeze sneeze. The holiday season brought joy, togetherness . . . and cold and flu season. It’s almost inevitable, no matter how healthy your lifestyle is — someone in your family will come down with a bug this winter. To come to your aid, we’ve rounded up the latest products to help prevent and treat illness when you and yours are under the weather.
Nighty night, sleep tight
Getting plenty of sleep is a sure way to keep immune systems strong and ready to fight off germs. But sometimes it’s hard to catch enough z’s. Chamomile tea has long been touted for its relaxing properties, but the taste isn’t exactly kid-friendly. This yummy grape-flavored kids’ tea is the perfect way to help children wind down after a busy day.
For the grown-ups, the Withings company has a new sleep product called Aura. This device not only tracks your sleep and syncs the data to a smartphone, it also uses light waves that stimulate melatonin production to help you fall asleep. It can even gently bring you out of sleep in the morning during your lightest sleep phase for a stress-free awakening.
A cozy hot water bottle brings relief for everything from upset tummies to cold feet. Warm Tradition hot water bottles for kids come with a variety of fun fleece, flannel and even animal-shaped covers. Made of thermoplastic for extra-long-lasting warmth, the bottles are both odorless and recyclable. Snuggle in and get well!
Kids seldom brush as long or as well as they should, but with this free app, you won’t have to nag them about dental health. Simply download the free app onto an iPhone, iPad or iPod and then scan in the kids’ Oral-B or Crest product. Children choose from 16 Disney or Marvel characters and receive a digital sticker each time they brush for a full two minutes. They can also collect other digital rewards for their own brushing calendar; plus, reminders are given when it’s time to buy a new toothbrush.
This syrup is alcohol-free so that the kids can benefit from the healing and preventive properties of elderberries. With dosing recommendations for ages 2 and older, this tasty syrup is taken once a day for a strong immune system, and twice a day when illness hits, for a faster recovery.
Dilute these drops in 4 ounces of herbal tea or warm water for short-term use at the beginning of a cold. Based on the naturopathic principles of stimulating immune response with warming herbs, this product will help raise the body temperature and fight off those germs.
Tiffany Krumins, the creator of Ava the Elephant, has added two new characters to her talking medicine-dispenser line. You fill the included dropper, and with the push of a button, the character sings, “One, two, three, open wide! Make the medicine go bye-bye!” When kids are focused on BPA- and phthalate-free Ava, Mia or Fin, medicine time is easier for both parent and child. Ava the Elephant and Medimals were featured on Shark Tank and The Dr. Oz Show.
Staying physically fit during cold and flu season helps to ward off illness. Get your teen or tween off the couch with the app Zombies, Run! This immersive running game brings you into the world of zombies with an audio recording of a story, interspersed with your own playlist. Co-created with an award-winning novelist, the audio track keeps your interest in between bursts of running from zombies. So put on those headphones, tie your shoes and run!
When cough, croup or congestion is making you or your little one miserable, try this essential oil blend. With eucalyptus, sage, thyme, myrtle and spruce, this soothing mix can be added to a humidifier, used in a personal steam bath or even as a mist. For a croupy cough, try adding a few drops to a wet washcloth and placing on a shower shelf while running the hot water in the bathroom to soothe airways, says Cassy Dymond, a naturopathic doctor at Pharmaca in Seattle.
For those nights when a cough is keeping everyone up, try this kid-friendly cherry-scented chest rub. The gentle vapors help calm coughs and soothe minor throat irritation in kids ages 2 and older, so you and your child can sleep.
If you prefer your soothing warmth in a microwavable package, try the Bucky Heart Warmer pillow. This beautiful, heart-shaped heat pack comes with a machine-washable cover and is the perfect size for your tummy or back to soothe sickness, aches and sore muscles. And for little ones, check out the Woopsies: These colorful character pillows can be heated or chilled for relief of any owie. Bucky’s products are made in the USA and filled with allergy-free buckwheat, making any of these a great, eco-friendly gift for the holidays.
Calm and quiet
When sick kids need a break from screens, try one of these beautiful, locally made wooden puzzles. The Northwest edition puzzle is made of 12 different hand-cut hardwoods. Pentomino puzzles have multiple solutions, making these a great way to keep kids busy yet calm. The sturdy wooden pieces are even durable enough to be played with outside of the puzzle frame. Comes with a booklet of puzzle solutions.