This is the season our children start getting their usual illnesses. They complain of sore throats, earaches, cough, and fevers: the list of symptoms accumulate. This is a difficult time for parents to know when to worry or to trust our little ones bodies to fight these infections without complications. It is important for parents to realize that most kids have 8-10 colds in the first few years of life. Although tiring at times, these minor colds do help your child build his/her immune system. There are lots of natural ideas for our children and how to keep them healthy. This will be important to learn because several leading over the counter cold medications have been removed from the market due to their lack of safety.
Prevention is the best medicine. A nutrient-rich diet, adequate rest, and plenty of fresh air and exercise can build up a child’s immune system. There diet should be rich in legumes, omega-3 fatty acids like avocados, and whole grains. Please avoid processed foods, sugar and all sodas. All children should be on a multivitamin and DHA supplement. My favorites in the store include: Liquid Organic Life Vitamins by Peter Gillham, Chewable Multivitamin and Chewable DHA junior by Nordic Naturals.
Also important for additional immune strengthening is to use probiotics such as Delpro by Pure Research. Occasionally use extra vitamin C such as the Emergen-C packets by Alacer and extra vitamin D.
If the child is having a lot of abdominal symptoms you can use increased probiotics and a product called Ultimate IgG by Healing Gardens Store. Ultimate IgG is like a purified colostrum to help load the intestinal tract with immunoglobulins which helps them fight what ever infection is going on. 60% of the immune system is located in the intestines so loading the intestines with increased immunity is an excellent way to fight infections.
If your child gets a sore throat some options include Natura Throat and Gland Spray , increase your child’s vitamin C, and use a honey/lemon /ginger tea ( grate fresh ginger in hot water and steep for 5-10 minutes). Consider slippery elm bark this herb acts as an expectorant and a demulcent, which soothes the throat. The bark is available in a powder form and can be simply mixed in hot water. If necessary you may add a little honey or agave to make it more palatable for the kids. If your child gets a cough, consider menthol and eucalyptus on their chests or Gaia’s Children Warming Vaporous Rub, which has a unique essential oil blend including lavender, pine, peppermint, thyme and yarrow. Other essential oil options include: Cold Care blend or Ravensara by Oshadhi, excellent for respiration support and, when diffused, acting as a natural disinfectant for ‘sickrooms’. Some cough syrup options include Boiron Chestal Syrup, or True Botanica Elderberry-Thyme syrup.
If your child gets a fever remember the fever has a purpose to help stop the replication of the virus or bacteria. So if the fever is below 102 degrees and the child is taking in fluids it is o.k. to allow the child to work through the fever. If the child is not too uncomfortable before you use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen try a few of these natural remedies first. Another option to bring a high fever down is a cold-water or luke warm water bath with Epson salts or even our Himalayan sea salts. Three homeopathic remedies for fever include belladonna, for a high rapid onset fever; ferrum phos, which helps treat mild fevers; and aconite, which is sometimes referred to as homeopathic form of vitamin C due to its ability to prevent an illness from getting worse when given at the right time under the right conditions. You may find it helpful to talk to a homeopath about how and when to use these remedies for your individual situation. Sandra Cantrell, CHom. in the Healing Gardens store is a Certified Classical Homeopath and offers acute and constitutional consults by appointment at 219-7386.
Finally, there are some excellent essential oils used to help reduce a fever such as bergamot, chamomile, or eucalyptus on a warm compress on the child’s forehead or chest. You can also use a diffuser which allows for the use of multiple oils so the child can sleep near the aroma all night allowing for the lungs to open and de-congest. A homeopathically prepared formula specific for congestion is Mountain States Decongest. If the child has severe congestion and thick drainage I will use children’s Mucinex over the counter at pharmacies.
Hopefully these are some helpful tips to keep your children happy and healthy through the fall and winter season. If you have specific questions about products, feel free to visit The Healing Gardens Medicinal Store. The store is available to all community members.