I had such a response to the email about fevers, and the conversations I've had this week, I though I'd provide you with some more tools for taking care of yourself and your kids when illness hits.
Short of whiskey, there are many awesome tricks our grandmas used to help manage sicknesses in the house. You may have even done them as a kid, or forgotten that you used to do it in the past. Interestingly, my patients who were raised outside of North America are often very familiar with these tools, especially if they grew up in places that did not have easy medical access. Feeling empowered with strategies to help in the meantime is also helpful. Time to bring back Grandma's wisdom!
1. Onion poultice
- chop and sautee a large onion in a little bit of water for 5 minutes
- drain the cooked onion and juice into a hand towel
- fold the sides to the centre to make a square
- apply the square poultice to the chest and leave it in place for 15 minutes or more (caution if it's too hot it will burn, especially with littler kids)
- mustard poultices can be an option too, just watch for burning the skin
- you can also use this strategy for earaches, just hold the onion towel over the sore ear
2. Magic socks
- you may want to begin by having a warm bath or shower first
- run thin socks under cold water, wring so they are damp but not wet
- carry the cold socks to the side of the bed, and put them on
- cover with another pair of thick, dry socks - ideally wool or cotton
- tuck into bed and leave the socks on all night, or remove in a few hours once they are dry
- do this at very first onset of a cold, fever or congestion, repeat for 3 nights
3. Hydrotherapy Contrast Showers or Epsom Salt Baths
- For showers, begin with a hot shower, stay in it for 1 minute
- change the temperature to cold, or as cool as you can stand it for 20 seconds
- return back to hot water for another minute
- switch to cold for 20 seconds
- repeat one more time
- add epsom salts for sore muscles
- a few drops of essential oils are nice too
4. Steam inhalation
- boil a pot of water or a kettle
- carefully pour hot water into a bowl -> add sea salt or a few drops of essential oil or dried thyme, oregano, or ginger
- lean over the steam and cover your head with a towel (caution not to burn), for as long as it feels good, take breaks if you need to
5. Onion syrup
- there are several variations of this recipe as a cough remedy, which can be found easily online
- one option is to slice an onion and cover with honey (over age 1) or sugar, let sit for 30 minutes, collect the juice on a teaspoon and take one spoonful
- another option is to cut a few onions in half and then place in a pot, cover with water, simmer for 1-2 hours, then add honey to sweeten
- some people add ginger, garlic or vinegar to the recipe
- honey has antimicrobial action (1), so it is preferable over sugar, and is useful for acute coughs in children (2)
-> don't use honey under age 1
6. Herbal tea
- Herbal teas are very therapeutic and kids can them have too!
- add honey for added benefit of throat soothing and managing coughs
- chamomile, thyme, licorice root, and peppermint are all great options for kids
- thyme can reduce the urge and frequency of coughs, and make them more productive (3)
- adults may like lemon ginger, cinnamon or echinacea teas
- soup is comforting and soothing, but it's also a great electrolyte replacement, and if you make your own or use bone broth it contains wonderful immune properties as well
- hydration is important during an illness
- Immunity Boosting Bone Broth Recipe
I love that most of us have these items in our pantry already - dried herbs, teas, onions, and honey are regular cupboard staples. There's an apothecary in your kitchen!
Of course there are things to watch for, like worsening symptoms and other red flags that I mentioned in my last article. This is intended for information only, check with me or another practitioner for specific recommendations.
Wishing you a healthy weekend,
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not replace medical advice.