Tibault & Toad

dealing with sickness naturally

The other day we found Indy alseep on the floor in the hallway. We thought it was a good omen (as in, "yay, our daughter now goes to sleep when she is tired"), but it was really a bad omen, since she later became pretty listless and then registered a high fever. (We let it run its course and she was better by the morning.) This has been a really bad winter/spring of sickness for everyone I know (my mother says she thinks it didn't get cold enough to kill anything off, and I think there's probably some truth to that). Hopefully the season is coming to an end, but I wanted to share some tips that I have found for treating little sickies with a natural approach. (The disclaimer before I begin: you know your child best, if something seems seriously wrong, take them to their doctor or the ER immediately. Here is a link for warning signs that something more serious might be up.)

  1. Skip the tylenol: repeat after me "fevers are our friend." Most people's reaction to a fever is to try to bring it down right away, usually through medication. But a fever is an immune response to illness which helps your body to fight the good fight. Reducing a fever can actually give a virus a leg up and prolong an illness. In our house, if your fever is under 104, you're riding it out. For children under one, the temperature for concern depends on age, but for toddlers and older children above the age of one, 106 is when a fever becomes dangerous. That means 105 warrants an immediate call to a doctor or a trip to the ER. An unrelenting fever that lasts for days or doesn't respond to medication also warrants a doc appointment.
  2. Just say no! to antibiotics. I strongly believe in antibiotics, which is why we virtually never use them. Antibiotics can be life saving, but overuse and abuse is bad for our bodies and makes them less effective for when we, or someone else, really needs them. Most ear infections, sinus infections, pink eye and even strep throat don't warrant antibiotics (and reliance on them to treat infections, especially ear and sinus, can lead to recurring infections.). Here is a great link for fighting ear infections and strep in children naturally. I would add:
    1. Ear infections: use warm compress (you can fill a sock with rice or beans and microwave until warm), put a couple of drops of warm breastmilk in the ear, or a couple of drops of the homemade ear drops that she mentions, repeat several times a day.
    2. Sinus infections: these will usually run their course (antibiotics won't help), but older children can use a neti-pot with sterile saline, or use saline nasal spray for a younger bub. Sipping raw apple cider vinegar can help ward off a sinus infection when you feel it coming on, or treat it once it's there (among other things, it thins mucus in the body, allowing it to drain and for the infection to clear).
    3. Pink eye: a couple of drops of breastmilk  or raw cow's milk (it must be raw) in the eye several times a day until it clears up.
    4. Strep throat: again, see the link above for great recommendations, I would add: make a paste of raw honey, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper and take a tablespoon several times a day (when we suspected strep throat in Indy several months ago we even got her to take this, a little begrudgingly, but successfully). Also, older kids can gargle salt-water. Strep can make people especially nervous, but this article does a good job of explaining mathematically the logic behind not taking antibiotics right away. (Still, if it doesn't improve within a week see a doctor.)
  3. Fluids: nurse, nurse, nurse. If you have an older sickie and are fortunate enough to be nursing a wee one, you can offer them breastmilk in a cup (this is especially helpful if you had the sickness first or are currently down with it, since breastmilk is loaded with antibodies). Skip the juice (which you really should be doing anyways), since pasteurized juice (even 100% juice) is essentially sugar water, and opt for plain water, coconut water (full of electrolytes), kombucha (full of probiotics, lucky for us Indy loves the stuff), or sips of fresh squeezed OJ. Also sipping bone broth or homemade chicken stock supplies fluids and they are nutrient-dense. Skip the sweets.
  4. Nix the iron: if your bub is anemic and has been taking any sort of iron supplement or multivitamin with iron in it (which is the only case in which they should be taking supplemental iron), temporarily stop the supplement until they are well. Iron is a necessary nutrient, but excess iron is utilized by nasty bacteria as well.
  5. Utilize the appropriate tinctures or homeopathic remedies.
  6. For more additional, interesting information, check out these traditional remedies for childhood illnesses.


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