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First, it would be helpful to know that none of us takes prescription drugs or otc items of any kind regularly. I can count the times on my hand that we needed prescription antibiotics and those have been mostly for one kid with a revolving issue with an infected toe. Further, it is only because he has not faithfully take the rounds with regularlity. We are fairly healthy and mostly have complaints from aches, but we will get to what we use for that. We do not take multi's regularly and one of us uses natural supplements daily for focus issues, but again, we will get to that as well. I do try my best to stay away from otc and prescription medications as much as possible. The side effects and way they mess with our systems instead of working with them is just not desirable. Here is an interesting article about the effects of antibiotics...
We will start with the common cold and associated symptoms. When any of us starts sniffles or a sore throat, the first thing we go to is vitamin c and zinc. Note: there are chewable versions of both. Our loose rule is to take 2 c's and one zinc in the morning, then more c's throughout the day at least 2 more times. We do this until the symptoms are gone. We notice that they definitely last fewer days and are of a lesser intensity when we do this. If congestion is an issue, we brew up a strong tea of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg with honey. If coughing is an issue, as with a chest cold, or just a nagging cough during the night, we use a chest rub product (natural ingredients) on the bottom of the feet with socks overnight. It stops the coughing and helps us sleep deeply. If a sore throat is a nagging issue, we pick the most desirable of one or more of the following: gargle with salt water, spray colloidal silver at the back of the throat and gargle for 30 seconds then swallow, or use a mixture of honey and lemon juice as a gargle. I found natural horehound cough drops to suck on that my grandmother used to give us as kids in a novelty general store. I have persuaded the kids to use a honey, lemon, and onion juice mixture as a cough remedy, but they balked at it- should have started that one a bit younger ;) It's too bad because onion juice is a strong opponent to bad bugs. On that note, I have heard that a cut onion placed in the room of the sick person disinfects the air, and when I tried this recently, that very day was when I felt more like myself- but that could be the timing. Speaking of food, I regularly make broth with poultry carcasses, vegetable ends, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, sage, and egg shells. To this broth, I add vegetables, the meat from the bones, some noodles, and process jars of it in a canner for a rainy day. Some of my family members rebel and still grab the red and white label soup and use regular cough medicines to lessen symptoms, but everyone has to decide what is best for their body, I just try to influence them to make the healthiest decisions possible; that is to help the body heal and not just cover up symptoms.
Should one of us have more drastic symptoms, like the beginnings of strep or a sinus infection, we definitely go right to colloidal silver (a natural antibiotic in my faves below and on the amazon site). For throat issues, we gargle many times with silver and swallow the rest over the course of a few days. If the pain is intolerable, we will use a analgesic spray until it lessens and we remove the person from others. This usually takes care of it in a couple days. For sinus infections, we use the spray as an inhaler multiple times a day as well. Though the silver is not inexpensive ($14 for about 2 oz), we find it is effective on so many things, it is worth it. Ps, one 2 oz bottle lasts all of us months at a time, so I guess it is still cost effective considering prescription and dr visit copays.
Oddly enough, one of my kids develops the beginnings of pink eye whenever he begins a cold. We spray the silver in each eye once, 2-3 times a day. We usually only have to treat it for one day, sometimes two, but any itchiness and redness is gone almost immediately after the first spray. I think this covers the basic cold approaches we do, but will update if any slipped my mind :)