Childhood Illness

Did you know, we are always exposed to and often harbor “germs” and yet we only occasionllay get sick? To maintain health, we must keep an inner balance in body and soul, while our bodies are constantly growing and renewing. Childhood is the time of most rapid growth and change. Every remodeling job requires some demolition, a breaking down of part of the inherited bodily structure in order to rebuild itself. It is the immune system that does the breaking down by causing cell death, and when necessary fever and inflammation needed to destroy and digest foreign or outworn bodily material. This debris gets pushed out of the body via fevers, skin rashes and discharges, a sign that the immune system is working. Every cold, sort throat, earache, and fever is a healing crisis and a cleansing process. It is the body’s way of rebuilding and making a more suitable dwelling.

Using natural remedies, can help the illness to work its way out of the body so that healing can occur. Antibiotics, aspirin, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory drugs, cool down the “fire” of the immune system so that the sypmtoms subside before the illness has fully worked its way out of the body. This inflammation will then either come back or the tendency to allergies and asthma will be increased. Although an antiobiotic may be needed if the inflammatory response of the immune system gets out of control, this rarely happens in healthy people. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories never heal an inflammation, they only suppress it. The causes of the inflammation must be healed or the immune system remains weakened.

What can we do to ease the symptoms of our children’s healing transitions?

1. Cleansing and detox—At the first onset of symptoms, the first thing you should do is cleanse the body, so it can rid itself of poisons quicker. Eliminate all proteins from the diet. The body is trying to digest the illness and proteins hold up that process as they are trying to be digested instead. Drink lots of herbal teas, broths and watered down juices.

2. Fever—If a child (or adult) with a high fever is very uncomfortable and restless, this is a sign of toxicity and their bodies should be cleansed. Rubbing the arms, legs, and head with a washcloth moistened with water and lemon juice or arnica tincture will aid in the pain. Always keep the neck to the knees covered. Rub the skin vigorously to make the skin red; this will help to dissipate excess body heat. I recommend giving adults and children Maggie’s Medicinals Herbal Fever Remedy if fever is present (see Herbal Formulas). The formula will help rid the body of toxins by causing the body to perspire and the kidneys to eliminate. It has astragalus root which is a Chinese immune booster often used in soups. Most fevers will be broken by the next day. Remember a fever is a good sign that your body is working. If you try to lower it with a fever reducer the illness will just stay in the body longer. Keep them warmly dressed during a fever. When the fever is rising, their bodies get a chill and they want to get warm.

3. Reduce Noise—During an illness, we crave peace and quiet. We are generally disturbed by loud noises and sounds. Children need peace and quiet during their illness as well, though they rarely express this need. Out of boredom, they ask to watch the TV or listen to the radio. These kinds of stimulation should be limited or avoided and should be replaced by just “being there” for your child. I have found that all children, whether ill or not, deeply need the presence of a loved one near them more than anything. Illness is a time to remove oneself from pressures and routines and to totally veg out. If possible, have a parent call in sick to work just to be with your child. I understand that this is not always possible.

4. Raw Garlic—I swear by it. It is a remarkable bacteria and fungus fighter. I put it on whole wheat noodles with some organic butter or ghee (clarified butter).

5. Echinacea Tincture—They have spray tincture with natural flavors for kids. It keeps the kids healthy if administered a couple times a week during cold and flu season. During an illness, I administer the recommended dose twice a day which aids the child in recovering quicker as their own natural immunities are boosted.

6. Orange Juice Popsicles—A yummy way to receive Vitamin C and it also soothes a sore throat.

7. Reiki—I use Reiki healing energy everyday on my children. I find the third eye and heart chakras are in need of healing during a cold or flu. Administer frequent treatments throughout the day until the child feels more like her/himself again. Remember, their little bodies don’t need much. They’ll let you know when they’ve had enough.

8. In the case of teething or an illness that requires a good night’s rest, I recommend MAGGIES’S MEDICINALS TRANQUILITY. It has the same cleansing ingredients as the HERBAL FEVER REMEDY, but with chamomile added to relax the body. All herbs in these two formulas are safe for children and completely non-toxic, unlike anti-inflammatories which remain in your liver indefinitely.

Most people believe that the more illnesses a child gets, the stronger their immune system becomes. As a general rule this may be true, but only if we allow their bodies to completely heal. Use your instincts. Every child has a different makeup. An infant’s immune system is very immature the first year. Sometimes we drag our children around town with us thinking it is good for them, or we dose them with pain relievers to keep our “plans” in order to remain an active part of society. Illness is precisely the time when children should be home. During the first seven years of age, children are developing their root chakras, located at the base of the spine. This chakra represents grounding, home life, security, rooting through breastfeeding, food and procreation. Children need to feel secure in their environment; to feel the safety of their homes and those loving caregivers within it. Fun activities and playdates are a must for a growing child’s development. Do these activities when your children are strong and healthy. Listen to your child and respect their desires, when reasonable. They know what their bodies need.

Dr. Sears has a great website with a resource guide on specific childhood diseases.

See a doctor if symptoms don’t subside or if you need the peace of mind. Please avoid antibiotics and anti-inflammatories if possible.

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