Get Rid of Mucus: 5 Easy Tricks To Beat Catarrh Naturally!

Please welcome dear friend and naturopath Sarah Murphy from Alchemilla Apothecary for today's snot-busting guest post.

5 Tips to beating mucus and catarrh naturally

You’ve turned the heating on and we're hurtling towards hats, wellies and gloves weather. Yep, we are in the midst of the cold season…. Here's how to help you child battle the mucus and catarrh.

What about the snotty noses, sore throats and winter bugs that are inevitably lurking around the corner at this time of year? Have you prepared for those?
Being ill is a downright pain for everyone, but the cold Winter weather can be particularly challenging for children with DS, who are often more vulnerable at this time of year.

One of the main worries can be the build up of excess mucus that most children suffer with during the Winter months. For youngsters with DS, who typically have much narrower airways, this can create a whole host of issues, such as croup, ear infections and pneumonia which could ultimately spell a time in hospital and this will not always be avoidable.

However, many parents feel there’s little they can do to help boost their child’s immunity naturally, but it’s one of the best ways to stop mucus in its tracks. Here are a few of our top tips to help you prepare for a healthy, happy (and hopefully snot free!) Winter. 

These tips are to be used in conjunction with any medication your child has been prescribed. Always seek medical assistance at the first sign of illness.

1.     Spice up your diets

Both red and green chilli peppers are high in immune boosting vitamin C and anti-inflammatory vitamin A (essential for healthy mucus membranes.) Their peppery heat has the added bonus of stimulating secretions that can help clear congestion from the nasal passages and lungs. Add small amounts to baked beans or bolognaise to make the taste more palatable for little ones. Garlic, oregano, turmeric, onions and ginger should also be eaten freely. Try spicing apple sauce with cloves or nutmeg and cinammon too. All of these foods have powerful anti-bacterial properties which can help keep winter bugs at bay, so get cooking up a baby curry today! 
Some parents also swear by cutting down on dairy products and mucus-forming banana, and supplementing with a daily kids' multivitamin and/or immune booster such as Sambuccol.

2.   Get a good night’s sleep

A blocked nose is always much worse at night-time. It can make breathing difficult, and cause frequent waking (snoring can keep others from drifting off too!) Saline sprays and nose aspirators can go some way towards keeping the airways clear, and another soothing approach is to use steam inhalations to help everyone get a good night’s rest.  Sleep solutions include a warm bath before bedtime which can help ease congestion, or try using a humidifier in your child’s bedroom. 

Camomile tea with honey will help sooth your little one off to sleep, and help to clear phlegm, but be wary of essential oils as they can irritate the airways. Some children enjoy a relaxing massage and soft music as they drift of to the land of nod. You can also try tilting your child's bed by propping the head end up on a couple of large books. This will help drain any mucus away and go some way to preventing 'post nasal drip', a common cause of croup.

3.     Get plenty of fresh air

Fresh air banishes the bugs
Many people spend too much time indoors during the winter months. Getting out and about in the fresh air can do the whole family a power of good. There’s no need to fear 'catching cold' providing you wrap up in suitable clothing. Don't forget a snug hat! 
In fact a bracing walk is one of the best ways to blow away the cobwebs and dry out mucus. White blood cells, (vital for the proper functioning of your immune system) need a good supply of oxygen to function effectively. Fresh air opens up your lungs and increases blood flow, meaning that any bugs and toxins circulating around your system will be flushed out much more quickly than if you spent 9 hours a day cooped up indoors.

4.   Keep the bowels moving!

Many people don’t realise that constipation can be a big problem when it comes to reduced immune function. A sluggish digestive system caused by food stagnating in the intestines can eventually lead to toxic build up, poor elimination and increased formation of mucus. Children with Down's syndrome are susceptible to constipation and may need a daily dose of a laxative such as Movocol, but also try to encourage children to up their fluid intake during the winter season. 
Drinking more water, and eating foods which contain plenty of natural fibre (such as seasonal greens and fresh fruit - which are also both high in immune boosting vitamin C) will increase the frequency of bowel movements and make stools easier to pass. Try buying a selection of fun beakers and straws to encourage increased fluid intake in reluctant drinkers and let constipation be a thing of the past

5.     Make your own mucus busting herbal cordial

This delicious tasting syrup is a safe, effective remedy for general congestion, coughs and colds. You can even try it yourself! Place a few sprigs of thyme in a teapot and add a pint of boiling water. Throw in a few sticks of cinnamon bark and several slices of freshly chopped ginger, then leave to infuse for about 10 – 15 minutes. Once the water has cooled, strain, and mix with a jar of good quality honey (honey is not safe for babies) and about half a bag of brown sugar. Heat in a saucepan until the mixture begins to thicken. Once the syrup has cooled, store it in a clean glass bottle in the refrigerator. Take a teaspoon every morning, or add to warm water and lemon juice for a delicious bedtime drink.

When it comes to boosting immunity and staying happy and healthy through the long Winter months, getting plenty of sleep, water, fresh air and good food really does seem to help. 

Of course it’s essential to consult your doctor and obtain antibiotics should your child develop a respiratory infection, but by giving your child’s immune system a helping hand at the start of the season, visits to the doctor’s surgery or paediatric  hospital ward will hopefully be less frequent.

Here’s to a healthy, happy Winter!

Read Sarah's guest post Natty, Mia and the Incompetent Nanny here. 


  1. Laura has cut or dairy from Ada and her diet the last couple of days and the its almost unbelievable how much clearer Ada is breathing.

    Will try spicing things up food-wise next, great post and very informative.

    1. That's interesting to hear Matt. We cut out dairy and wheat when Natty was small and it helped a lot. tricky to do now she's more demanding though!


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