The whole Christmas season is known as “the most wonderful time of the year”, but what Hallmark and Bing Crosby don’t mention is that it’s also “this most germ-ridden time of the year”! Unfortunately, my family has not risen above the season of sickness. Over the last three months, we’ve had coughs, sore throats, ear aches, and overall yucky congestion. As you know, we are a bit unconventional in our avoidance of antibiotics and prescription drugs, so of course we have to use alternative means of healing our bodies. Here’s my basic regiment for how to fight your toddler’s cold without drugs.
As all great blog posts do, this one has a disclaimer. While we prefer natural remedies, we also enjoy the benefits of twenty-first century western medicine and do go to the doctor, emergency room, or clinic as needed. Take my advice with a grain of salt and always side with your mama instincts!
Isn’t “natural health” bogus?
I recently read this article supposedly meant to answer this question and couldn’t help but laugh. They made it sound like “natural health” is some untested, blacklist drug out there passed between unlicensed naturalpaths. However, that article was a great starting point to answer this question because of its main point: there is little “scientific” evidence that natural health practices are effective. I won’t dig deep into this because I could go on for awhile, but I will say that our society has come to rely on what is ambiguously known as “science” to a scary degree. We trust anything with the label of science and accept is as law.
When we’re talking about Western medicine (i.e. prescription drugs, over the counter medication, etc.) these people who claim there “isn’t any scientific data to support their efficacy” (a staggeringly broad and untrue statement) overlook one important fact: All the Western medicine we have today derived from natural healing. Some examples include Alka-Seltzer and baking soda, aspirin and turmeric, etc. Indeed, all medications we take today are engineered to mimic the effect of some naturally occurring reaction. More can, of course, be said on the topic, but in short, I feel it is quite ignorant to dismiss an entire practice so quickly. Especially one that has been the foundation of all medicinal practices as we know them.
What is safe for my little one?
When you’re talking about your child’s health, you want to make the safest decision. My advice is to always do your own research – don’t simply take the word of your doctor or some random lady on the internet. When it comes to “natural remedies”, opinions can be mixed. I am simply telling you what I have done with my two-year-old based on what I believe to be safest and most beneficial for her. Similarly, you must decide what you feel is safest and best for your child.
Natural remedies do not mean to do nothing and hope your child’s body can fight off the illness on its own. Acting quickly is the key to ward off any more serious infection or condition. In the event that your efforts are unsuccessful and you fear your child’s health is getting worse, go see a doctor! No mom-guilt, you do what you have to do!
How to fight your toddler’s cold without drugs
Genny has had her share of runny noses this cold season, but we have successfully avoided the flu! *Applause, applause* And without the flu shot, at that. The most important component is staying healthy is building your immune system. This is the internal defense your body has against invaders, illness, and infection. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of a cold, I help Genny’s body to fight it off naturally and thus increase her immunity for the future.
Here’s how you can fight your toddler’s cold without drugs!
Boost the immune system with good ingredients and foods
Honey is well-known to be a successful agent in fighting coughs and in boosting the immune system. For kiddos over 1 year of age, this is usually a safe practice. Other ingredients I look for when treating Genny’s colds are apple cider vinegar, grapefruit seed extract, lemon, garlic, ginger, and elderberry.
My usual practice is to give Genny the Zarbee’s Baby Multivitamin with Iron supplement daily because of its daily dosage of Vitamins C, D, and B12. When she starts having a runny nose, I will give her Maty’s Cough Syrup (ages 2+) because it contains honey, cinnamon, lemon balm, and apple cider vinegar among other natural cold-fighting ingredients. Even if she doesn’t have a cough yet, these ingredients help fight that runny nose. At night, my supplement of choice is Zarbee’s nighttime cough syrup which contains melatonin to help my sick baby sleep AND grapefruit seed extract, a powerful infection fighter and immune booster.
These supplements can be switched between as your kiddos is feeling under the weather. I also like to give her Subucus’ Elderberry Syrup for Kids (ages 1+) when I have it on-hand. I’m not always organized enough to make my own, but it is possible.
Eating healthy foods and avoiding sugar is also important. I’ll let her eat lots of oranges, apples, and chicken soup when she’s not feeling well. Sometimes I will also give her curry which is usually high in chilies, garlic, and ginger.
Use essential oils
My favorite essential oils to use when Genny’s sick are eucalyptus, Thieves, and lemon. Eucalyptus is great for opening up the nasal cavities and preventing infection due to inflammation. Both Zarbee’s and Maty’s have a chest rub containing eucalyptus and lavender which I have found to be effective for helping Genny calm down and have a good night’s sleep.
Thieves oil is…well amazing. It fights infection (even Staph!), kills bacteria, and boosts the immune system, among other benefits. This oil is a highly concentrated blend of essential oils that cannot be applied directly without a carrier. Instead I diffuse it in her bedroom and use Thieves spray (an extremely diluted but still antibacterial spray form of the oil) on her pillow, crib, and clothing so she can inhale it all the time. Sometimes before bed, I will dilute 6 drops of Thieves with 1 ounce of fractionated coconut oil then apply a couple drops of this mixture to her feet, rub it in, and put on her socks. If your little one has a fever, this is also a great way to help keep it under control.
Lemon oil helps your body to dispel toxins by draining the lymphatic system. When trying to rid your little one’s body of invaders, this is an important step! I diffuse lemon oil in the living room throughout the day when there is any sickness in the house.
Avoid using fever reducers (when possible)
This is a touchy subject for some mamas since fever can be scary. The highest I’ll let Genny’s fever get is 103 F, then I WILL use acetaminophen. Fever is the body’s way of killing bacteria by basically frying it up. Immediately using acetaminophen to reduce fever is lowering your little one’s body defenses just when she needs them the most! It’s miserable seeing your little one in pain, so this is hard for me to do sometimes, but it’s best in the long-run to hold-off as long as you can safely do so.
When she had an ear ache a couple weeks ago I did give Genny Little Remedies’ Fever and Pain Reliever (a dye-free alternative to Tylenol) so she could sleep (she hadn’t slept well the night before). I totally don’t regret this decision, but before I gave it to her I did wait a few hours so the fever had time to work. The next morning, she woke up fever-free and 80% better and without needing an additional dosage throughout the night.
How do you combat colds in your house? Share with me by commenting below!
Love, Emily XOXO