Guest Author - Rebecca Spooner
Your house is a cesspool of illness. The doctor won’t help you because it is a virus, but it is a virus that is running rampant and you are at your wits end. What do you do? Viruses are microscopic infectious agents that invade your body. Antibiotics are ineffective in treating them as they are constantly mutating and changing within your body. The only defense is your body’s defense. So the question is, what can you do about it? How can you increase your body’s defenses.
The first step begins before you ever contract a virus... prevention. It is no secret that washing your hands frequently is the first step to prevention of the spreading of diseases. However it is one thing to preach that to a responsible adult, quite another to a romping child. With my toddlers into everything at any given moment, washing their hands is often at the end of my list. If you have small children, I would highly suggest purchasing some child-safe antibacterial wipes. You can purchase these at most consumer stores such as wal-mart and they are relatively inexpensive (ranging from $2-$3 a bottle). I use these all the time. I wipe my kids’ hands at the restaurants, during playgroups, I wash new toys with them before they use them. They are handy, easy to pack around in a diaper bag, and faster than holding them at the sink.
For older children, get yourself a stool and teach them how to wash their own hands. It is paramount that this becomes a habit for them: after going to the washroom, before and after eating, after playing outside, etc. Get them to sing a short song like “Happy Birthday” while they wash so that you know they are washing for an appropriate length of time. Proper nutrition is also a key factor to boosting your child’s immune system. Make sure that they are eating their full daily dose of veggies and fruit and give them a multi-vitamin to give them their vitamin C, calcium, iron, etc. This will ensure that their bodies are in their top form to fight any illness that comes their way. The final preventative measure is adequate sleep. Children need a lot of sleep, but they also need quality sleep. Make sure they are getting an appropriate amount of sleep for their age so that they are rested.
No matter how much we try to prevent illness however, there is no way to completely eliminate it from our homes. So what do we do when our child contracts a cold or the dreaded stomach virus? There are a number of home remedies that you can try to help manage the symptoms and boost their immune system.
Use over the counter remedies
For typical aches and pains associated with the flu or a cold, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For stomach upsets, try pepto-bismol (you can also use the liquid form on children) or gravol. There are a number of over-the-counter medications that can be used, depending on the age of your child. Be sure to talk with your local pharmacist about your possibilities.
Try using essential oils
Essential oils have been used for centuries to help cure common illnesses. Eucalyptus is great for clearing a runny or stuffy nose. Clove oil helps kill airborne viruses, keeping the air healthy. Oil of oregano is known to help boost your immune system and often proven to completely eradicate a cold within about a week (oil of oregano has quite a bite to it, so reserve this for older children. Just a couple drops under the tongue will do it, or if that is too strong, you can dilute it in water).
This line is so old that we often just wave it by. The reality is that water is essential to helping your body’s cells be strong and healthy, therefore enabling them to successfully fight the virus. If your child is having trouble with water or you are worried they are getting de-hydrated, try some pedialyte. These also come in a popsicle form, which can sometimes be a little more appetizing (and can help cool them down if they have a fever).
Give your child a vitamin C tablet every day. For an adult, you can take much more. There is no danger of over-dosing on this vitamin as it is water-soluble and any excess will simply pass through your urine.
Illness is an inevitable part of life. Although we want to do our best to avoid it, the fact is that each time our children get sick their immune systems are evolving and growing. So the next time the dreaded “disease” enters your front door, remember to look at the silver lining! And buy yourself some essential oils... if all else fails, they at least smell good :)