Here it is again, that time of year when kids seem to be sick more often than they are well. Maia’s baby, Wolf, is only 4 months old, and the poor guy has already had at least four colds, courtesy of his big brother, Felix. Maia asked me to share, from my perspective as a Health Coach (as well as mother and grandmother!) the most effective ways to treat a cold or flu. She said she sees plenty of tips on how to avoid getting sick, but even if you’ve been taking your Vitamin D and washing your hands constantly, you might find that all members of your family still have frequent sniffles. Here’s how to deal…and even to enjoy the process!
- First…don’t despair! Think of the illness as the body going through a necessary cleansing process. According to Marc David’s book Nourishing Wisdom, our bodies go through three distinct phases: cleansing, building, and sustaining. The cleansing phase is a period of “breaking down,” during which we may experience an illness such as a cold or flu. This period may be accompanied by low energy, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Back in the days when I was heavily into macrobiotics, I always thought of colds as part of the healing process. My body, in its infinite wisdom, was ridding itself of waste it no longer needed. This knowledge gave me a certain acceptance of colds and flus. I then put into place gentle routines to support the healing. Tune into your body and see what it is asking for through this healing process. Feeling stressed out about why you got sick won’t do any good and may even prolong the illness!
- Simplify your cooking with broths, soups, steamed vegetables, and other liquids (fresh juices and simple, non-sugary smoothies). Liquids will help speed the cleansing process and save energy that is needed to digest more complex foods.
- Make sure you are getting adequate quality rest–if you have sick kids or young infants and can’t get a full night’s sleep, try to at least rest as much as you can during the day. One thing I love when I’m sick is a hot water bottle as a bedtime companion. My grandson also loves this. It warms your bed and can be placed on the body anywhere it feels good. Make sure you get one that is natural rubber latex. Also, chamomile tea is relaxing and soothing. For children you can add a bedtime story of Peter Rabbit and a little honey to the tea (not for babies under 1 year old).
- Use “water healing” to speed the recovery process. Take baths, showers, and drink plenty. Gimme the Good Stuff’s online store carries a wonderful line of bath salts that are safe for children and moms. Tandi’s Calming Lavender bath salts are great in the evening before bed, and Tandi’s Energizing Citrus Mint salts are perfect for a morning bath. During the night when you are sleeping you are detoxing, so first thing in the morning before you break your fast, have warm water with lemon to further flush out, and for children you could add some raw honey to make it more palatable and soothe the throat. Don’t drink water too late in the evening as this might cause a sleep interrupting, wee-hours trip to the bathroom.
- Use an onion for earaches. When my children were young, doctors often recommend antibiotics for earaches. I always tried to avoid those unless absolutely necessary, and the AAP no longer recommends antibiotics for most earaches. A good rocking chair and a book can work wonders. When Maia was a baby the rocking motion often helped to open up a clogged ear. I also learned that an onion, cut in half and warmed in the oven and placed directly on the sore ear, really works well. It would soothe her and we would rock and read books until she felt better.
- Gently clean noses. These days, moms have access to products that did not exist years ago. There is nothing worse than a sore nose from too much blowing. Rather than using Kleenex-type tissues that can leave a child’s nose raw and sore, Maia now uses Babo Botanicals 3-in-1 Sensitive Baby Wipes for her sick kids. They are a super-soft wipe with a completely nontoxic herbal formula that is soothing and healing.
- Massage your child, or yourself. Touch and massage move energy and can create blood flow in a body that is healing. Our online store offers a Deep Lavender Rub that adds an extra kick with essential oils and works great for rubbing on children’s chests and backs. It utilizes the heat-producing essential oils of ginger, rosemary, eucalyptus to relax release upper respiratory tightness due to colds, allergies, stress or asthma. It’s a great natural alternative to Vick’s.
As you can see, self-care (or if you’re a mom, self care and loving child care) is the key here. Love yourself up and if your child is ill, love them up–and slow down. Notice and appreciate the body and how wise it is. Enjoy the process and have patience; you will stronger when the illness passes!