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Q&A: I caught a cold, now what?

I have a cold, but I don’t want to take medication while I’m breastfeeding. What natural remedies can help?

Re: I have a cold, but I don’t want to take medication while I’m breastfeeding. What natural remedies can help?

The Bump Expert

While most medicines only enter your milk in small amounts and are unlikely to have an effect on baby, most cold meds don’t really help you get better, anyway, they mostly alleviate symptoms. And considering that antihistamines can lower your milk supply, you’ve got the right idea.

Here are some natural ways to boost your immune system and find relief while you wait for your cold to pass:

• Get lots of rest.

• Keep the air moist. Take hot baths and run a humidifier.

• Stay hydrated.

• Eat and drink foods and beverages containing lots of vitamin C.

• Use a saline spray for nasal congestion.

• Create a mini steam room. Hover over a pot or bowl of boiling water (add essential oils if you’d like), and drape a towel over your head. Breathe deeply for five minutes. If you have chest congestion, add a couple of dashes of dried anise to the water.

• Eat garlic -- research shows it may help prevent colds and has the potential to make them shorter.

• Try cayenne pepper. Some people swear by adding this spicy powder to food or drink to help fight colds and sore throats.

• Consider OMT (osteopathic manipulative treatment). This is a gentle pressure-and-resistance technique used by osteopathic doctors to help enhance the immune system and keep fluids draining. It has been show to be very effective in treating fluid build up in the ears and can work well for any upper respiratory infection. If you’re curious, make an appointment with an OB who practices it.

• Gargle with warm salt water or apple cider vinegar and water to help a sore throat.

• Drink tea. Strong black tea may soothe a sore throat, and fenugreek tea has been used to relieve congestion and cough.

Erin van Vuuren