Natural cold & flu remedies for kids; arthritis pain

As cold and flu season nears, what can I give to my child for cold and flu? What ingredients should I avoid when using over-the-counter products?

Products that contain the decongestant pseudoephedrine can cause racing heart, anxiety, insomnia, and other heart problems. Antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can cause drowsiness and can affect children’s performance in school. (Benadryl is not recommended for children under 6.) Acetaminophen is a pain reliever present in many OTC cold/flu remedies. It can cause potentially fatal liver disease when taken in higher dosages.

For a safer way to treat congestion and runny nose, try saline nasal drops and sprays to help thin the mucus and improve breathing. You could also try a homeopathic remedy like Similasan Kids Cold & Mucus Relief. This can help with common cold symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and head and chest congestion, while also breaking up mucus. Putting a vaporizer in the child’s bedroom can also be useful.

For a cough remedy, try Similasan’s Kids Cough & Fever Relief—it helps relieve dry, tickling cough, bronchial irritations, and fever. It contains 100-percent natural ingredients and boosts the body’s natural ability to heal.


Though I suffer from arthritis, I enjoy working in my garden in the summer. I have been told to take aspirin for the pain: What other options do I have? Are there any long-term effects from taking aspirin daily?

Aspirin is commonly used to relieve arthritis pain and the fever of inflammation, though in adults only. (It is also recommended to reduce the risk of heart attack in those where the benefit is deemed to outweigh the risks.) Regular use of aspirin is associated with stomach ulcers and internal bleeding. Signs and symptoms of internal bleeding include stomach pain, nausea, coughing up blood, dark stools, and anemia. Use of aspirin can also cause ringing in the ears and kidney damage.

There are ways to address joint health without the significant potential complications from aspirin. One safe and effective over-the-counter supplement ingredient is NEM, or natural eggshell membrane. It contains a range of naturally occurring compounds—glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and collagen—that are important for joint health. These compounds can be depleted as we age.

Glucosamine provides the building blocks for the growth, repair, and maintenance of cartilage, the cushioning material of our joints. It also helps to reduce inflammation and keeps the joints lubricated. Chondroitin is another vital component of cartilage that promotes elasticity and cushioning of the joints. Chondroitin also blocks enzymes that break down cartilage and may slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid and collagen also provide support and cushioning properties for the joints. Clinical studies have shown that supplements of NEM can improve joint comfort and flexibility, and that benefits are often noticed within two weeks.


Sherry Torkos is the co-author of Saving Women’s Hearts and is a nationally recognized, award-winning pharmacist, and frequent and popular guest on morning TV shows around the country. Sherry has written 14 books and booklets, including The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, The Glycemic Index Made Simple, Winning at Weight Loss, and Breaking the Age Barrier. You can visit her online at