My daughter, Robin, is two and a half. This was the first winter she got repeating colds and flus. Like other parents we want her to get better quickly and be as comfortable as possible while the sickness runs its course. We also want to use as many natural remedies as we can before resorting to pharmaceuticals.
The first remedy we reach for is Yin Chiao, Jr., which is a Chinese herbal formula made specifically for children. Robin loves it. Sometimes it nips the first cough or runny nose in the bud, and we only have symptoms for two or three days. We also give her chewable vitamins from Standard Process, specifically Catalyn, a general whole food supplement, and Congaplex, which supports the immune system. There are homeopathic remedies we use depending on the symptoms, and she also takes a small spoonful of fermented cod liver oil every day. (She once said, “Yummy, it’s like honey.” Long may that last!)
For earache we use a homemade garlic oil. I have to sneak a few drops into her ear when she is sleeping, but it works wonders and keeps away the antibiotics. I have had luck treating my own ear pain with raw onion placed in the external ear and held in place there overnight. Robin is not quite old enough to tolerate that yet.
We do give her the occasional children’s ibuprofen. We do not want to suppress a fever, which is one of the many tools our body uses to heal and bring itself back into balance, but we want Robin to be comfortable and sleep well. Sleep is a time for healing.
While administering any of these natural remedies we try to get Robin to eat good foods: broth, soup, eggs, sauerkraut, fresh fruit and veggies, grass-fed meats… these are ideal. When I’m at a loss or some new symptom occurs (Robin recently complained of growing pains) I turn to Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions for Baby and Child Care. It has great recommendations for childhood ills, focusing especially on food as medicine, but also suggesting various homeopathic remedies, herbs, supplements, and compresses.
What do you do for your children when they are sick? How do you support their healing and give them comfort while the sickness runs its course?
Taking care of a sick kiddo is difficult and stressful. I have to remind myself that colds and flus are our body’s way of balancing itself, of ridding itself of things that should not be there, or that, if not expelled during these bouts of sickness, could go deeper into our bodies and cause more chronic illnesses down the road.
Winter in Wisconsin is tough. There is little sun for good vitamin D levels. There is cold and wind. We move around less, and if we do exercise most of us do it indoors. Our houses are sealed up tightly to conserve energy, which is an understandable goal. But that great insulation also keeps out fresh circulating air and keeps in contaminants and toxins that we carry in from outside or that are present in the modern stuff we live with these days.
Oh, to open the windows when spring comes! What a wonderful thing. Here at the clinic we are often slower in the summer months. Vacations do account for some of it. But I think it is because people are healthier. We spend hours outside every day. We move more, get more sun and fresh air, and eat better, more nutrient-dense, local food. As I wipe my sweet daughter’s nose for the umpteenth time I remind myself… Summer is coming!