Two Ways to Not Catch Your Kid’s Cold: Natural Cold Remedies That Work

Written by:

Maia James


Go ahead and smother your sick kid in kisses–I truly think I’ve discovered the secret (via natural cold remedies!) to not catching their viruses.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and nothing I’m about to say should be confused as medical advice. I’m simply telling you what finally worked for me a few winters ago, when things were really bad.

The Winter of My Discontent

The winter of 2017 was pretty standard in terms of illnesses for my kids–not the worst they’ve had, but not the best by any stretch.

For me, though, it was brutal beginning around Thanksgiving: lots of colds and even fevers and days where I just wanted to lie in bed all day (which of course isn’t an option as a mom or business owner). My first thought was that I needed to clean up my act and prevent catching every cold my kids got: I vowed to get more sleep, take a daily immune tonic, and drink more green smoothies.

Unfortunately, I’m just not the type to remember to take anything daily, be it a probiotic or a tonic! (Actually, I do remember to take this probiotic daily because it tastes like candy.) I’m more the type to frantically clean up my act once I am in the throes of a miserable flu. And now, I’ve found a way to sort of do that.

Things really turned around for me that winter winter with the discovery of a natural remedy. For my mom, the savior was a different product, but also one that you take once you feel yourself coming down with something, rather than beforehand. The trick with both of these is to take them at the very first sign of a cold.

The Natural Cold Remedies We Love

Option 1: Nature’s Way Umcka Cold & Flu Care

I take Umcka because I prefer a chewable option, which just happens to taste like candy:). I take it at the first sign of a cold, every four or five hours.

Option 2: Urban Moonshine Immune Zoom

My mom (and my brother) swear by Immune Zoom; they like the liquid formula, and my mom knows and trusts the herbalist who makes this stuff. (Btw, my accountant recently bought a bottle of this for his wife, and said she had the exact same experience that my family has–which is the complete cessation of cold symptoms shortly after she started taking it).

Is Elderberry Syrup Effective?

Last year, a friend asked what I thought of elderberry syrup because she swears it works to prevent colds in her 3-year-old daughter (and unlike some remedies, it actually tastes good!).

As I am wont to do, I went into a research hole. Good news: studies show that elderberry can decrease the duration of the influenza virus by four days and cold viruses by even more.

Since my kids love it so much, I do my best to keep elderberry syrup on hand to take as a daily preventative measure. This is my favorite brand.

2021 Update: If your kids have trouble with the syrup, try these elderberry gummies.

What Happens When You Take These Natural Cold Remedies?

My mom and I are taking two different products, but experiencing the same thing. Let’s say we start to feel a sore throat and nasal congestion coming on. Before we started using these products, within 24 hours we’d have a full-blown cold: the raw throat, the cough, the faucet-nose, and possibly even a fever or aches.

Now, when we take either Umcka or Immune Zoom, our symptoms either stop completely within about a day, or remain for a couple of days at that low-level stage, never turning into anything more.

Just this weekend, I felt the beginnings of what I was CERTAIN was going to be a real doozy of a cold–it was incredibly painful to swallow, and I felt pressure building in my sinuses. I thought it would be too much for Umcka to possibly clear up, but I was wrong. By the next morning after starting Umcka, I had barely a scratch in my throat, and within 24 hours I was back to normal. My mom fought of similar set up symptoms with Immune Zoom earlier this month.

How Do These Natural Cold Remedies Work?

Honestly, I don’t really care, but there are actually good studies showing that Umcka is effective. Immune Zoom contains a combo of known immune boosters such as echinacea, elderberries, honey, ginger, and cayenne.

I also wonder if there is some bio-individuality process going on, because I have friends that swear by zinc to prevent colds, but this has done nothing for me. And studies aren’t consistent about on the benefits of echinacea (though some studies do show it to reduce the duration of a cold), yet there is no question that it’s working for my mom and brother.

For us, the proof is in the pudding–if it works and contains nothing dangerous, then we are hooked!

Can I Give These Natural Cold Remedies to My Kids (or Take If I’m Pregnant)?

Immune Zoom is definitely safe for kids over the age of 2, but you’ll want to adjust the dose according to their weight. The recommended serving sizes on the bottles are for 150-pound adults, so just divide by your child’s weight to find the correct ratio.

Chewable Umcka can be given to kids over the age of 6 (and because it’s so tasty, you won’t have a problem getting them to eat it!).

Andi Lynn’s elderberry syrup is safe for kids and grownups, and Llama Naturals makes an elderberry gummy for kids and a different one for adults.

What remedies do you feel like REALLY work to stop a cold or flu in its tracks? Please comment below!

Stay sane and healthy,

Maia, Founder & CEO

P.S. Here are ten other resources for either preventing illness or dealing once it gets you:

  1. This soothing spray for kids with raw, painful throats.
  2. My thoughts on giving kids fever reducers.
  3. A safe chest syrup for those never-ending coughs.
  4. This air filter, which removes bacteria and viruses from the air (mine is running 24/7 right now).
  5. This incredibly luxurious lavender rub. (Use it instead of Vick’s.)
  6. Help choosing the right humidifier. 
  7. This goo for healing raw noses in, like, 2 seconds.
  8. Natural antibacterial hand soap to stop the spread of germs!
  9. Natural lozenges with elderberry.
  10. My thoughts on multivitamins, for kids and adults.

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Leave a Reply

  1. Charles Kroeger Avatar
    Charles Kroeger

    Dear Maia,

    You did not mention the elephant in the room as it were, raw garlic, the most powerful chemical force against viruses, available to the home chemist.

    Raw garlic is big medicine providing you have not damaged the efficacy with heat. yes, raw is your huckleberry. when it is most offensive. this is the sulfur based Alliums of garlic and onion family plants.

    Luckily we live in the age of fast effecient blenders that can do a good job of melding in other ingredients to help it down.

    Allicin, the active ingredient here is a powerful poison the plant has evolved to protect itself from being eaten.

    Dr. Eric Block has written “Garlic and other Alliums: The Lore and the Science” difinitive knowledge about this powerful anti viral.

  2. Allison Avatar

    Cold calm is great, as is Monolaurin.

  3. Grace Chen Avatar
    Grace Chen

    Zinc works really well for me. A couple of zinc tips: you should take a dissolvable zinc tablet at the first sign of illness. It has to be dissolvable bc it works by coating your throat and mouth where the virus is starting to take root. If you swallow a zinc pill while then it doesn’t work bc it never has a chance to act in your throat where it’s needed.

    1. Sanj Avatar

      Thank you Grace. Do you have a brand of zinc you recommend.?

  4. Maia Avatar

    Yin Chiao (a Chinese herb combo but made here in the States by the brand, Dr. Shen) at the first sign of a cold — or exposure to other sickos — does the trick for us! Sooooo grateful to have this and will try the ones you suggest too if this ever stops working. Thanks!

  5. Kelly Briggs Avatar
    Kelly Briggs

    These are awesome. Our family experiences the same results when we take doTERRA On Guard. That stuff works miracles. Two drops in water any time I am convinced I’m about to get sick – I know I’ve staved off at least three colds with it in the past year. Thanks for sharing your remedies too – am convinced the personalization of medicine extends to this level of homeopathic therapeutic care as well.

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      Thanks, Kelly! Glad to have another remedy to add to the list:).

  6. Val Avatar

    This is awesome! Thanks so much.
    Any info on taking while pregnant?

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      Please check with your doctor before using these remedies if you’re pregnant:). And congrats!