Just when we hoped to have left the winter behind a new Siberian weather disturbance has frozen every little hope of bringing the children to play in the park without having to scream every 2 minutes “cover yourself or you will get a sore throat!” or “do not take your clothes off, you are sweaty and will get ill!”.

Strange as it may seem, it is not the cold that actually causes the much feared sore throat, but rather the temperature changes that alter the mucous membrane and promote the entry and proliferation of viruses and bacteria.
The result of these uncertain periods of time are the famous “season sicknesses” (hoarseness and pharyngitis), with symptoms ranging from lowering of the voice tone to difficulty swallowing, fever and irritation between nose and throat (rhinopharyngitis).

The perfect natural remedies for children

Since 70% of the cases are viral infections and only 30% are bacterial, there is often no real need to resort to medicinal products and antibiotics. When it comes to a simple sore throat, without other more serious associated symptoms, it may be useful to resort to natural remedies that, in most cases, are effective:

  • Honey: its soothing properties can help fight infections and bacteria, clear the airways and alleviate the discomfort caused by sore throats. The fluid texture acts directly on the mucosa and lubricates it to help eliminate mucus quickly. In other words, grandmother’s good old remedy of hot milk and honey before going to bed is always valid.
  • Propolis: in any format (candy, drops, syrup, spray) Propolis is a natural product that can be useful to combat inflammation of the throat. Another lesser-known, but actually equally valid, use is as a disinfectant and healing agent in the case of small canker sores and mild irritation of the oral cavity.
  • Myrrh extract: a little less known than the first two, but equally useful, is found mainly in the form of spray throat. The effectiveness of myrrh extract-containing throat products lies in the fact that they form a local protective barrier on the mucous membranes, reducing contact with external aggressive agents and thus the risk of infection. Not to be underestimated, myrrh is also an effective antioxidant and improves the immune defence mechanisms.

It is therefore better to avoid crowding paediatricians’ studies when a few home-made precautions would be enough to cure a simple sore throat. It is advisable to consult your doctor if there is no improvement after 3-4 days, or in case of high fever, blocked airways and prolonged difficulty in swallowing.

Can sore throats be avoided, or, even better, prevented?

It seems paradoxical, but in reality it is important not to raise the temperature of the heating above 19°-20° to avoid that the passage to the outside is too abrupt – better to wear vests and heavy jumpers! Then get used to the children going out (adequately covered) even if it is cold: in these cases the dry and excessive heat of the closed environments can worsen the symptoms.
Finally, prevent seasonal illnesses with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, to increase the intake of vitamin C. When it is not enough – we know, it is often a challenge to get children to eat fruit and vegetables – evaluate together with the paediatrician the use of a vitamin supplement.

Every parent’s nightmare coming true in November, punctually as a Swiss watch: a season of coughing attacks and cold for their children. This prefect timing is thanks to the weakening of the body’s natural defenses, which comes together with the temperature drop of the arriving winter season. A weakening of the natural defenses leads to increased contact between mucous membrane and external agents, such as microorganisms or smog particles, resulting in increased risk of throat and nose inflammation. Inflammation of the mucous membrane may also come from a viral or bacterial infection; in this case the reopening of schools and nurseries is the main reason for illnesses.
Why is it more risky for children than for adults?
The body of a child is not yet fully developed and so it is more fragile than that of an adult. As a result, viruses and bacteria can attack easier, especially in environments where they can proliferate, such as nurseries and kindergarten. Not all illnesses are only about harm, the first flu is very important for kids, as it is essential for the development of their immune defenses by creating the so-called “immune memory”.
What should we avoid?
Taking immediately antibiotics is definitely not the best choice. Antibiotics are useful only for the treatment of the symptoms caused by some form of bacteria, but symptoms such as cold and coughing are not necessarily related to bacterial forms. In addition, excessive use of antibiotics may result in allergies or other undesirable effects that in a longer period of time, may weaken the immune system: the risk is that more microorganism strains can become more resistant therefore more complicated to defeat.
On the contrary, antibiotics are necessary in case of tonsillitis, but it is strongly recommended to consult a pediatrician before taking them. Another mistake to avoid is not leaving enough time for recovery: the first days after the illness are crucial for a complete recovery of kids. It is better to wait one day more before sending them back to school.
What can you do to prevent seasonal illnesses?
Protecting mucous membranes is by far the most effective solution if we want to reduce the discomfort caused by the symptoms of flu. There are specific formulations that are able to create a real defensive barrier on the respiratory tract. One of them is hyaluronic acid, which is crucial for the recovery of its natural function. The products containing hyaluronic acid are helping kids’ organism to restore the proper functioning of the nasal mucosa. They usually are taken locally and come in form of sprays. This is thanks to the ability to penetrate into the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, hydrating it and defeating symptoms, such as burning and itching. In addition, products based on hyaluronic acid are able to improve the ciliary beat and hence they are useful for improving the quality of breathing.