For fevers, coughs, etc.

By on Dec 30, 2012 in Health and Nutrition, Uncategorized Comments: 0. Tags:

As a follow-up to my previous post about immunity support, I thought I would address some ideas on what to do in case you do get sick. A few weeks ago, my son spiked a fever that lasted for quite a few days and then spent the rest of the week with a sore throat and a cough. In the midst of his sickness, my daughter and I both experienced the same illness. I did my best to keep our fevers from getting too high without using Tylenol or Motrin and so wanted to write about some of the things we used to bring back our health. Among other reasons, I don’t like to use Tylenol and/or Motrin for my kids because getting rid of the fever doesn’t actually help get rid of the infection. Whatever is going on inside those little bodies, the fever is helping to fight it. By taking the fever away, we take away a huge defense that our bodies are offering without any assistance from us. I do think it is important to maintain a fever so that it doesn’t get too high (above 104 in kids, above 102 in babies up to the age of 1).

I suppose it goes without saying that staying hydrated with water (or diluted “real” fruit juice or herbal tea) and getting rest are the top two requirements for healing and for keeping a fever at a reasonable level. If your child will eat, great! Try offering broths, applesauce, fruit, even toast with some kind of spread… If your child doesn’t want to eat, that’s okay. His/her appetite will return with time. If you are breastfeeding, continue to do so as much as your baby/child wants. The benefits of breastfeeding are fantastic, offering both comfort and antibodies to assist with the healing process.

Some fever-reducing teas are chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, and licorice root. (Don’t offer licorice root to anyone with high blood pressure.) You can mix these teas together or drink them independently. My son really loves chamomile tea with raw honey so I made a lot of this for him while he was sick. Licorice root is a great tea, but be forewarned it does not actually taste like the licorice we know. That taste actually comes from anise. Licorice root tea is light, slightly woody, with a sweet aftertaste. A tasty licorice root tea recipe using other ingredients such as cinnamon and cloves can also help with fever (and cough).

You can also try a number of other ideas, depending on your child and what he/she will accept. A cool washcloth to the forehead can be helpful as can washcloths soaked in warm water with lemon applied to the calves. You can boil some water, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, and let it cool slightly. Soak the washcloths in the mixture, and apply the towels to the calves with a dry towel wrapped around them to avoid heat loss and wet sheets! The acupressure point on the webbing between the thumb and the first finger may also help to reduce a fever. If you decide to use this, it works best if you apply pressure to both hands at the same time – just enough pressure for it to not hurt. Hold the pressure for five minutes if you can.

There are homeopathic remedies suitable for reducing fever, but because they are very specific and because I am not a homeopath, I will direct you to this fantastic book for ideas. You can also find a local homeopath who can assist you in deciding on what is appropriate given your child’s symptoms.

As for coughs and sore throats, I have found this woman’s blog to be very helpful and interesting. (I really appreciate the fact that she not only offers advice on what remedies have worked for her family, she also explains the science behind why they work! Perhaps that is the closet academic in me…) Her garlic press and her homemade honey-lemon cough syrup (with or without the turmeric, depending on what tastes your kids will ingest) were definite attributes to our home.

Licorice root tea is also known to help soothe coughs as is chamomile, thyme, and ginger. Perhaps my favorite thing to drink while congested and coughing includes these ingredients, the amount adjusted to your taste: hot water, garlic (you can crush it right in or just let some larger pieces soak, depending on how much you like garlic), ginger, raw honey, lemon, and cayenne pepper. Sometimes I throw in some chamomile, sometimes I don’t. It depends on how I’m feeling in the moment. I know it sounds a bit strange at first, but I actually love the taste, and it really does make me feel better.

Don’t forget steam baths/showers (with a little eucalyptus and/or peppermint oil or some chamomile flowers thrown in for added benefit), gargling with salt water, and of course, the neti pot! I have only recently become a friend of the neti pot as I used to shy away from it for fear of discomfort. Honestly, it is a strange feeling at first, and it takes some practice and some getting used to, but it is really worth it. The neti pot will clear out your sinuses like nothing else – a great way to get rid of an infection.

Here’s to healing for those days when our families can’t keep illness away! Enjoy…

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