At the First Signs of Illness

My oldest daughter, Big Z, started with the sniffles this week. I feel a little paranoid at times when it comes to my kids being sick. When I first notice them sniffling, sneezing or coughing I immediately jump into action. I realize that it’s normal and healthy for kids to go through these cycles and have their share of colds and viruses. But, after dealing with a daughter that had immune system issues, I became extra vigilant in making sure we caught any illnesses from spreading by taking action at the first signs of illness.
Of course, there are the basics such as increasing rest and fluids. I like to encourage my kids to drink coconut water for extra hydration during hot days and illness. I usually cut out milk products at the first sign of congestion too. This year I made garlic elixir, which surprisingly enough Big Z loves! I also tried my hand at honey ginger elixir. It’s simply a concoction of shredded ginger and honey. We enjoy our honey ginger made into tea. You can find a simple to follow the recipe in this month’s issue of Mothering Magazine. This is excellent for morning congestion and raspy throats.
Some other things we use are Homeopathics at the first signs of runny noses or feeling run down. If you are new to Homeopathy, Hyland’s has several ready-made remedies that are easy to use. If you are dealing with runny noses and itchy eyes you may want to try the cold remedy. If your child is showing signs of the flu, they have a flu remedy. They work best if administered at the first signs of illness. I attended a webinar awhile back where Woodson Merrell, M.D. discussed some basics of Homeopathy. I took notes and thought I’d share some of them with you. In preventing illness with the cold and flu he suggested:

  • avoid direct contact
  • good hygiene ( do not use anti-bacterial soaps)
  • sleep and hydration (5-6 beverages a day for children)
  • exercise ( out in the sun preferably)
  • balanced, preferably organic diet with immune-boosting soups
  • Vitamin C

Dr. Merrell discussed the fact that over-the-counter cough and cold medications are not FDA approved for children under the age of 2. They can have serious side effects such as hyperactivity, drowsiness, and even death.
There are pros and cons to using most treatment plans. When taking care of your children, trust your instincts and discuss these issues with your family doctor. Gargling is an easy preventative. It can kill strep in the early stages. Steam inhalation of comfrey, eucalyptus in a hot mist humidifier may be comforting to your child.
According to Dr. Merrell, Homeopathy has a long history of safety, there are no side effects, no risk of an overdose, no drug interactions or contraindications and it will not mask medical emergencies. In addition, homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA as a drug. Homeopathic remedies can be used for everyday use such as allergies, coughs, colds and even teething. The remedies can come in tablets, ointments, and gels. They usually taste great because they are in a sugar base ( not enough sugar to change your blood sugar levels).
So how do Homeopathic remedies work? They are natural substances delivered in micro-doses. They relieve symptoms by stimulating the bodies natural ability to rebalance and heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are widely used by healthcare providers all over the world. Plastic surgeons use arnica to help with bruising and soreness. I love Hyland’s Bumps and Bruises, it is priceless in calming down your little one after a fall.
Dr. Merrell went on to comment how pharmaceuticals are often overused for children, so looking into Homeopathic remedies may be something for your family to consider. For administering homeopathic remedies for your children, here were some guidelines that Dr. Merrell spoke of:

  • take at the onset of symptoms
  • let the remedy dissolve in the mouth
  • read Drug Fact sheet
  • see a doctor if symptoms become worse
  • safe and gentle for self-healing, but still need to keep out of the reach of children.

To end the webinar the Dr. spoke of the positive role of fever and Vitamin D. He spoke of the fever as ‘boiling off infection’, so the fever kills the germs. He said a safe fever is in the 101-102 range. As of only 3 years ago no one really paid attention to the importance of Vitamin D. Now we know it’s really a hormone and it’s most important. He said 80% of adults have a Vitamin D deficiency, and 70% of children. I had my little guy tested ( 25 hydroxy Vitamin D test) when we had to get some blood work for him earlier in the year. It’s a simple test you can ask your doctor to perform. Vitamin D prevents 17 types of cancer, amazing!!
Big Z is feeling a lot better, we did a combination of this and that and her sniffles were easily controlled. Having sick kids can really be stressful to the entire family, I hope this post gave you some ideas to comfort your little ones when they aren’t feeling their best. Please remember to consult with your doctor with any questions or trying something new. I am NOT a medical professional and am only sharing with you things our family tries and information from a webinar with Dr. Woodson Merrell, M.D..
Do you have anything you do to comfort your little ones in times of illness? I’d love to hear from you.

Image by J. Bond Francisco 1890s

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3 thoughts on “At the First Signs of Illness”

  1. Great post. Cough and cold products have recently been discouraged for all children under 4 for not being effective. Honey is more effective for cough, studies have shown. It’s neat that mainstream studies have been done for cold remedies like honey and garlic! (The power of real foods!) Love your tips!

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