Cold Curing Recommendations From Our Holistic Pediatrician
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Disclaimer: Please always discuss medical treatments with your child's pediatrician before administering.
Our son turned one in June. And in his one year of life, he's caught a few things. He's had a small cold or two, we've all caught the flu once, and he caught hand foot and mouth that turned into impetigo and then one of his blisters got infected so he was put on antibiotics. I was not terribly excited when his doctor prescribed him antibiotics.
Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful we live in this modern day and age and have antibiotics available. However, when you take antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria, they cannot tell the difference and also kill your body's friendly bacteria. There's also the more recent information that the bacteria we have been taking antibiotics for are becoming increasingly resistant to our attempts to kill them off. Alas, when your child's doctor recommends something, and it's for something serious like an infection, you listen and fill the prescription. I love that his doctor also reminded us that their office is not quick to prescribe antibiotics, but if this were his child, he would do the same. He also recommended we give our son probiotics throughout the course of his treatment to help with his body's growth of healthy bacteria and to ease the other side effects of antibiotics.
At any rate, when my son caught his latest cold which also came with a fever (more info on fevers and when you need to contact your doc), I reached out to his doctor's office for help. Here were their natural-minded recommendations:
Diffuse eucalyptus oil
Essential oils have become all the rage these days, haven't they? I fully believe that plants are medicine and should be utilized as such. Apparently, our son's doctor agrees. According to WebMD: Used as a component in pharmaceutical preparations to relieve the symptoms of influenza and colds, Eucalyptus oil has antibacterial effects on pathogenic bacteria in the respiratory tract. Inhaled eucalyptus oil vapor [which is what my son's doc recommended] is a decongestant and treatment for bronchitis. Controls airway mucus hypersecretion and asthma via anti-inflammatory cytokine inhibition.
Living in Colorado means a lot of wonderful things, but we definitely deal with some crazy dry air. Adding humidity to the air is especially important when you have a cold, in order to alleviate symptoms such as congestion or a dry throat.
Note: Cleaning your humidifier is important! If you don't, it can actually make you sick rather than helping you feel better. Here's how you can keep yours clean.
Rub Vicks BabyRub or coconut oil with a drop of peppermint essential oil on each of baby's feet, then cover with socks or footy pajamas before bed. Vicks BabyRub is a non-medicated formula which contains soothing aloe vera and fragrances of eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender. The healing properties are similar to that of diffusing the eucalyptus oil; for its decongestant goodness.
According to WebMD, “Elderberry is used for “the flu” (influenza), H1N1 “swine” flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system.”
As with anything like this, speak with your doctor prior to usage about dosage and other concerns.
Tylenol/Ibuprofen for fever
This is definitely one I want you to discuss with your doctor before administering. Fevers are our body's natural defense against infection, so they're not always harmful in and of themselves. According to an article on the Huffington Post, “people with the flu should avoid taking fever-reducing drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen (aka TylenolTM), except in rare situations.”
Not only is it soothing, but according to one study, honey can help reduce the duration of colds. I've fed it to my son straight up on one of his spoons and he loves it! I like mine in hot water with lemon.
Important note: Honey should not be given to children under the age of one due to concerns of botulism.
It's delightful as well as healing. A study published in the Jan. 26  issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that chamomile tea “contains compounds that may help fight infections due to colds and relieve menstrual cramps.”
I let the tea cool considerably before giving it to my son in his sippy cup. You can also add honey to it while hot to sweeten it a bit, but it's pretty naturally sweet on its own.
Lots of water
Hydration is one of the best things you can do for baby's little body when they're healthy, but especially so when they're under the weather. My son loves his Camelbak water bottle. I've recommended it to quite a few mom friends and it seems to work well for most littles.
My husband bought these popsicle trays so I could make my son popsicles and he loves them! I just fill them up with half sugar-free apple juice and half coconut milk. The cooling can be very soothing for sore throats.
I try to remember to add this probiotic powder to my son's water every day, but it's especially important when his little body is trying to fight off sickness.
Earlier, I mentioned the benefit of taking probiotics when prescribed antibiotics, but it's also helpful to consume them when fighting off a cold. Recent research has shown certain strains of beneficial bacteria could be helpful against cold and flu. Probiotics, an important aspect of health that is greatly under-consumed, is perhaps one of the best dietary strategies helpful for boosting the immune system.
Ease off the dairy
Some think that dairy can cause inflammation in the body, thus the recommendation to eliminate dairy when your body is fighting a cold. This is one that's been “debunked” in recent years, but I still don't think it can hurt to give up for a few days while you and/or baby works to get better, especially if there is any stomach upset.
Apparently most of us are Vitamin D deficient. For this reason, our pediatrician actually recommended giving our son Vitamin D drops as a newborn. Please be sure to discuss this one with your doctor, and follow the dosage carefully if you do give it to your baby. More studies are coming out about the importance of Vitamin D, “People with higher vitamin D levels experience fewer respiratory illnesses and when they do get sick the illness is milder and shorter.”
Suck the snot
If your child has hard boogs plugging up their nose, give them a saline spritz, then suck the boogs away with a NoseFrida or bulb syringe! If they're super snotty, just the suck will do. Helping to clear baby's nasal passages can only do good. The saline spray is also soothing and healing for an irritated nasal passage.
You don't need to take your baby with you to the gym for this one. Just run a hot shower and sit with your baby in the bathroom for a bit. Our doc also recommended I drop some peppermint or eucalyptus oil on the floor of the shower to add it to the steamed air. Steam helps to break up the mucus, helping to clear baby's little body of all the gunk.
Be sure to wash your and your baby's hands frequently when they're sick and healthy to prevent the spread of germs. This is the soap brand our doctor's office uses.
Has your little been sick? What does your child's pediatrician recommend for cold treatment?Read More