I cannot escape it, I thought I had, but it got the best of me...but not without a fight. I have been defeated...I have a cold. It might sound a little over dramatic, but to me, a cold, is the ultimate enemy to my day, my life, my responsibilities. Chills, aches ,headache, sore throat, did I mention aches, tired, stuffy nose, chapped lips, lethargic, - all of these ailments have taunted me for weeks, and today, they have broken through, burying their virus invested cells in my weak, defeated body.

Over-the-counter symptom relief is a normal and common reaction for the millions of people who suffer from the cold and flu each year. However, for my family, limiting how much acidic and unnecessary medicine enters our bodies is top on my priority list. In my research, experience and wisdom gained from others, I have found 5 helpful , natural suggestions, for beating the common cold or flu.

1.Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): On the website backwoodshome.com, Linda Gabris discusses the many valuable uses of ACV. I can personally attest to the MANY benefits of this wondrous creation. (Even when I do not have a cold I drink ACV to aid in detoxifying my body, and to speed up my metabolism.) To fight a cold, Gabris suggests mixing two tablespoons of ACV with one cup of boiling water. She states that you can add honey to it if you would like to sweeten the taste (ACV is not pleasant tasting to most people, though after a few months of drinking it, I now enjoy the taste). You can drink this as a tea and is said to be good for relieving a cough and breaking up phlegm. Another benefit to the ACV tea is inhaling the steam which can lead to a relief in the painful congestion that builds up. *It is not recommended to give to children under 2. **Cut the dose of ACV in half for kids over two.

2. Garlic: Cheap and effective...and smelly, but, if you can deal with the smell, you have an inexpensive ($0.33 is the average price for an entire globe of garlic), way to fight off a cold with a powerful punch. Alicin, which gives garlic its odor, also gives garlic its antioxidant compounds to fight the virus, and shorten the duration of the cold. There are different ways to take garlic: supplements, powder, extract, oil, mixing it with food, or eating a clove whole or mixed with food. Garlic is safe for children (mixing it with apple sauce is said to be a tasty way for kids to eat it), though avoid giving children supplements as there is not enough research to know if anything but fresh garlic with kids is safe.

3. Ginger: Another little guy with a powerful punch! Research on catalog.com, by Rita Hutner, states that ginger is a diaphoretic that contains particles active against rhinoviruses (a common group of cold viruses). Basically, ginger raises your body temperature, forcing your body to perspire and sweat out the cold...nice...sweating without working out! **Ginger is also a blood thinner – talk to a Dr. about taking it if you are taking blood thinning medicine. ***If your child does not like the tea, put about 3-5 tablespoons of ginger, wrapped in a cheese cloth, in a warm bath. This will help them sweat out the cold, in a more enjoyable way.

4. Green Tea: One of my favorites, even when I do not have a cold. Many “A List” celebrities drink this to keep healthy, speed up their metabolism, and to detoxify their body...not to mention, it tastes great, especially with a little lemon and honey (which are both helpful for soothing a sore throat). When it comes to shortening the length of a schedule disturbing visit from the cold or flu virus, green tea aids in ridding your body of those nasty toxic viruses that causes the many aches and pains keeping you from tending to your to do list. *This is not recommended for children.

5.Chicken soup, rest and lots of water: They may sound simple, but they are tried and true (and all child friendly)!

a. Chicken Soup: Your mother’s suggestion of treating your cold with chicken soup was not in vain. Chicken soup contains mucus fighting elements, steam to relieve congestion, carbohydrates to give you energy, and veggies to aid in giving your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong while fighting away the cold. Keep to low sodium though. Some sodium is good for regulating the amount of fluids in your body, but too much will dehydrate you.

b. Rest: Your body is working overtime to fight this nasty little virus invading your body. Resting gives your body the ability to strengthen itself to fight these toxins, and also gives your body time to repair itself. Even if you are a constant doer like myself, step away from your to do list and rest, it might be painful for a while (believe me, I know), but the recovery for your body will aid in getting you back to your most effective self.

c. Water: We have all heard that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is imperative to our health. This is even more true when fighting a cold. Water will flush out your system, aid in digestion, and fights fatigue.

Follow these five tips, fight that nasty cold, and get back to the many roles you play in your life. Most of these tips are also helpful for ending the agony you and your kids are in when they get hit with cold or flu bug. Feel better soon!

**These are all suggestions and not meant as medical advice.