Natural Cold (URI) Remedies

Yesterday, my girl was feeling bad, stuffy, headache, sore throat, a little nausea, and so upset about it all. She is such a healthy child, she doesn’t do sick well, it brings tears. This just means I need to try double hard to make it go away quicker… how do you chase a cold, a virus, away quicker? There aren’t meds for that… are there? Not the traditional medicines people think of, but there are remedies…. Natural URI Remedies Do Work!

honeyWhen Drew complained of a headache and sore throat… I went straight for the honey. Honey is soothing for a sore throat and helps to relieve coughing. The cough may not completely go away, and that’s ok, for good reason. Coughing is our body’s natural defense against foreign invaders in the lungs. Anything solid that starts to enter the airway gets coughed back up. So, the goal is not to suppress the cough, but eliminate the problem that is causing the cough. Easier said than done, you can learn more about coughs here.

I totally believe in herbal throat drops, I’ve used Ricola for years, and now use doTerra’s On Guard Throat drops too. Even before I knew all the good stuff about herbs and holistic health, I was using the Ricola. After 24-48 hours with a Ricola, I always have much less irritation, inflammation and coughing. Drew tried a few different flavors, but it’s not her things, she’s funny about anything minty, spicy, etc., and these fall into that catagory for her. She’s sticking to the honey. 😉

Peppermint_15mlFor headaches, we use peppermint and lavender essential oils. Me, I add a little citrus of some sort too, citrus scents are my fave, they’re uplifting. I used a blend of lavender, peppermint, oregano, eucalyptus, clove, and wild orange on Drew’s feet when she napped. Morgan has been using the same blend this week too. Lavender_15mlIn the past, I’ve used lavender and peppermint for migraines and had some relief, but found the migraine trigger needs to be eliminated before I’m getting complete relief from the migraine no matter how often I use my EOs. If you’re interested in more info about EOs, read my article about EO’s and how my family uses them. 

Homemade chicken soup with real bone broth is good to help boost the immune system. bone-brothBone broth is healing in so many ways, it’s good for the gut and the immune system. I buy my bone broth online from The Brothery or Thrive Market. Having good nutrition is going to help speed up the recovery process.

Always, always hydrate. The more hydrated, the easier it is for your body to flush the germs out. We prefer Vitamin Water. I like Vitamin Water because of the extra vitamins and minerals along with electrolytes, all necessary to rehydrate. Vitamin Water is made with real cane sugar or stevia instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup or other artificial sweeteners. Don’t forget the benefits of a good cup of hot natural herbal tea too.

Speaking of hydration, it’s really important to stay well hydrated with fevers. This is tough with young kids. Use whatever method you can to get hydration in them. I encourage only treating a fever with medication like motrin or tylenol if it’s high or if the child is really miserable. I usually use the 101s as my tipping point. A fever is the body’s way to fight off germs, so rushing to eliminate the fever isn’t always the best remedy. Read more about fevers in my previous article here.

A warm bath to help with relaxing and fever reduction can be a twofold remedy. 583__44742-1445018174-190-250Your body can rest, and the bath is a great way to help bring down a fever naturally. Rest is the path to healing. We put lavender bath salts and Everyday brand eucalyptus mint bubble bath (from Thrive Market) in the bath to help with relaxation (lavender) and to open the sinuses (eucalyptus and mint). The bath was the most helpful therapy of all, that’s when the tears disappeared and I started to see a twinkle of a tired smile.

How long does a URI last? This really depends on how healthy your immune system is and how capable it is. Most URIs last 7-10 days, peaking on days 2-4. If you are already dealing with other chronic issues, eating poor food, working too much, not getting enough rest, not staying hydrated, and just never take time to catch your breath, you are gonna get sick a little more often, it will probably be worse than in a healthier person, and it’s gonna take longer to recover. Just look around, there are examples of this theory everywhere. This is why wellness matters. 😉

If you want to recover quickly from a cold, you have to be healthy before you catch a cold. If you want to recover from any illness, you have to keep your immune system prepared to fight off whatever it encounters. That’s the most important job you have, taking care of you… That’s why I preach wellness.

Stay Healthy Friends, it’s the best way to Enjoy the Journey!

What are your remedies for a “cold” (aka Upper Respiratory Infection aka URI)??

Be educated. Be well. Kp 🙂

 

Experiment #2: Mo’s sinus issues (doTerra trio of relief)

What kind of relief can essential oils provide for sinuses?

I’ll be letting you know soon. I’m pleasantly surprised with the results we are seeing in just a few days.

We’ve started using lavender, lemon and peppermint to help with sinus relief. My husband has some of the worse sinus problems I’ve seen. He’s tried everything over the years, OTCs, prescriptions, allergy shots, netty pots, you name it, he’s done it… except essential oils.

We are 3 days in and my husband seems a little less congested. Things ebb and flow, so it may or may not be the oils. After a bit more time, I’ll be more certain of our results.

I also had him use a drop of eucalyptus oil on his maxillary sinuses yesterday morning. First, the smell was a bit strong, so the grimace on his face put me on guard, he was getting ready to use the “that voodoo stuff you do” on me….  In less than 30 seconds the eucalyptus oil was making a difference, and he had a different expression, a surprised, more pleasant look on his face. He didn’t say anything. He’s my forever skeptic. So, I can usually count on him for the truth, whether I want it or not. His silence spoke volumes. 😉

So, here’s what we are doing for Experiment #2:

Lavender_15mlBlending lavender, peppermint, and lemon (1-2 drops each) into our palms and rubbing together. Cupping hands about 8-10 inches away from our nose and slowly breathing in.

After smelling the wonderful aroma, we are rubbing it on other areas of our body to promote absorption, the back of the neck, wrists, and bottoms of feet. Drew likes to rub a bit over her heart too.

We’re all doing it twice a day, morning and before bed.lemon

Tonight, while I’m try to finish up these details about EO Experiment #2, guess who comes and ask me for his oils? Be right back. 😉

Maybe there is something to this “voodoo” essential oil stuff….

Peppermint_15mlWarning: I do not recommend taking a really deep breath in the beginning, it can be quite overwhelming.  I do recommend you start slow, the aromas are potent. Take a small breath until you get used to the aroma and its powerfulness, then you can breath it in a little deeper and continue taking a few deep breaths. Rub into your feet if the aroma is too strong to be on the back of your neck. Josh prefers his feet.

 

Update on Experiment #1: Josh and Drew both took tissues with oils to school. Josh took wild orange/vetiver. Drew took lavender/lemon. I got a “good” from them both when I picked them up. Not a lot of details except about how powerful the aroma was coming out of Josh’s cubby when he opened it. So, maybe all of the 8th grade around his cubby will be focusing better.

I am really enjoying the research I am doing  and knowledge I am gathering about all of the wonderful, natural uses of these oils. I wish I knew sooner! I highly recommend you learn a little too. I bet it will change your world like it has mine.

I’d love to know if you have any essential oils secrets, please share in the comments below. The rest of us will keep your secret too. 😉

If you are interested in more info, contact me. As always, I hope you Enjoy the Journey!

*Using essential oils can assist you on your path to ultimate health and wellness. Please be advised that Essential Oil practices discussed on this website are not intended to replace the advice of your medical provider. Please learn about essential oils before you use them.  

Is that sore throat Strep? How to know…

It’s spring time, which means it’s the season for Strep Throat! Not that strep has to be in season, but spring is the most common time for strep. I’ve gotten a call today from a parent asking me if I would call in an antibiotic because her daughter has a sore throat and stomach ache. This child may very well have strep throat, but of course, I said “No.” The only way to determine if a child has strep throat is to have them evaluated, and 99.9% of the time a throat culture is needed for confirmation. I’m grateful the mom was understanding and planned on going to an urgent care facility after I spoke to her.

Symptoms of strep are sore throat, fever, headache, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle aches, and petechiae on the palate.

Petechiae on the palate is usually diagnostic of strep.

Does the child always have a fever- No. Does the child always have a sore throat – No. Some kids will have no symptoms, but have a rash that presents with little red spots that are raised and feel like sandpaper. This sandpaper like rash is one of the symptoms that will cause me to forgo the culture. When children have lots of petechiae on the palate, and an extremely red throat, and usually really swollen tonsils, I don’t feel the need for a throat culture. When the throat looks this bad, it is strep and hurts to do a culture. When the throat has swollen tonsils with white spots, this is frequently, but not always strep, and a culture is needed.

I’m going to ask a favor of you – please help us! Children do not like throat cultures, but it is very important to obtain for proper diagnosis. When the parent is helpful, the culture is much easier for the child. I have had children beg their mom or dad “Don’t make me do it!!” This is when it is important as a parent to show some strength and be firm. Yes, the throat culture is necessary, please back me up!! Most kids really dislike having a throat culture done. I can’t say that I blame them, but it is a necessary evil. I often say that you would think we could figure out a better way to diagnose strep with all of the technology that we have nowadays. But, the bacteria that causes strep throat is hanging out on those tonsils.

Joshua has had strep throat twice. The last time he threw up so much I would have assumed it was a stomach virus if we hadn’t done a throat culture. The poor kid threw up for almost 8 hours, how miserable when you already have a sore throat. The first time he had strep he also had pneumonia. The poor guy had a high fever, was achy all over and was absolutely miserable! He didn’t even want to move. When he gets sick with strep, he really gets sick!

If you are worried that your child may have strep throat, please have them evaluated. Please do not ask your medical provider to just call in an antibiotic. Do not give your child an antibiotic that you have left over from a previous illness. If I child is on an antibiotic the throat culture will be negative even if they had strep throat. Also, you shouldn’t have antibiotics left over from other illnesses. When antibiotics are prescribed, they are usually meant be be given until the medication is all gone to properly treat the infection.

So, if it’s not strep, what could it be? It could be a URI, it could be allergies, it could also be mononucleosis. How do you know the difference, it’s not always easy to differentiate. It is very common for most upper respiratory infections (URI or cold) to present with a fever and sore throat. How do we know it is a virus and not strep?? Proper assessment, evaluation and culture. How do you know if it’s mono? Mono is confirmed by a blood test. Most sore throats (including mono) will go away without any treatment.

Sometimes a child can have more that one illness at a time. I spoke to a mom today that was wondering why her daughter wasn’t getting better after being on an antibiotic for strep throat (confirmed by culture) after 4 days on an antibiotic. The child started feeling worse 2 days ago. At the same time, she started with coughing and congestion. It sounds like she has a URI now, on top of strep throat, how miserable!!

(Update): This year, it seems like there are a good amount of kids testing positive for strep and the flu. That really is a double whammy! Miserable! Keep them as comfortable as you can, keep them hydrated, and have them rest as much as possible.

Strep throat can sometimes go away without treatment, but could cause complications if not treated appropriately. Some of the complications of strep throat could be quite serious, such as rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, and glomerulonephritis. This is why it is very important for proper diagnosis and treatment.

If your child has strep, 10 days of Amoxicillin is the best treatment. Traditionally speaking, strep throat is contagious for 24 hours after starting the antibiotic. More recent information states that it is contagious as long as the child has fever and/or a sore throat. Sometime it takes a few days for the sore throat to feel better. Treat your child with Tylenol or Motrin for fever and pain relief. You can find the links to Tyelnol and Motrin dosing in the sidebar on this page.

So, the next time your pride and joy has a sore throat, make an appointment with your doctor or nurse practitioner, and ask for a throat culture. Hopefully, I have helped you understand why we need to gag your child when we suspect strep. 😉

As challenging as it can be, I hope you are enjoying the journey! 🙂

It’s just a “cold”…so now what??

We have all suffered with colds throughout our lifetime.  A cold or URI/upper respiratory infection can be miserable. URI symptoms are cough, congestion, runny nose (clear or yellowish), low-grade fevers (<102F), sore throat, decreased appetite, disturbed sleep and overall just miserable feeling.  If fevers accompany the cough and congestion, a day off to rest isn’t a bad idea no matter what your age. If there is no fever with the cold symptoms,  most people just continue on through their daily routine.

I know what you are thinking… Yes, children do get colds more frequently than adults!  Fortunately and unfortunately, childhood is a time of building  immunity; good in the long run, but growing pains along the way.  It is true that the more organisms you are exposed to, the stronger your immune system gets.

So, what can you do to make life a little less miserable for your child with a cold??

There are a few simple rules….

Rule #1HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION!!!  Drink plenty of fluids.  Adding Pedialyte or Vitamin water can help, this helps to replace any loss of electrolytes, salts, sugars, etc. from the cold and fever.  I’m not a fan of Gatorade, too much high fructose corn syrup. If you learn nothing else from my post, you will learn about how important it is to be hydrated! 🙂

Rule #2Blow your nose.  This is hard for young children, but can be accomplished with continued practice and effort. For babies, use saline drops and a bulb syringe to help with the nasal drainage.

Rule #3 – Increase your Vitamin C intake.  I recommend 500-1000mg to my young patients, 1000-1500mg to the adolescents.  Vitamin C is great for boosting the immune system into gear, helping it fight off the cold.  We like the chewable Vitamin C in my house, they taste like sweet-tarts, just a little more tart.  Josh ate 8 of them one day (500mg each x 8 = 4000mg), and then told me how good they were!  I told him that he really shouldn’t have that many, although Vitamin C is not toxic.  Crazy kid! (You will start seeing a pattern with this kid, he keeps us on our toes around here.)

Rule #4 – Use a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room while they are sleeping.  Don’t forget to pull the door closed, leaving a few inches for ventilation. Keeping the child’s head elevated is helpful too. Infants should have their mattress elevated on an angle, a pillow should never be used under an infant to elevate his head.

Rule #5 – Get plenty of REST! Children and adults need to take time to rest and let their body fight off the cold.  Our bodies heal during sleep, sleep is so important to maintaining good health.  (I will address sleep soon.)

All of the above can help your child be more comfortable.  There are some other helpful hints that may or may not be useful for you.  Keep in mind, all children are different, and have similar but different needs.  Some children will be more clingy and want to be with you 24/7.

Some children just need you to hold and love them because they don’t feel good.  It makes them fell better to have your hugs and kisses.  There is nothing like the love of a parent to make you feel better!

Other helpful hints:

  • Take Motrin (Ibuprofen) for comfort.  It can also be helpful with the swelling and inflammation in the upper respiratory tract.  Nasal congestion is not just a runny nose.  Most of the little noses I see are so swollen inside,  some of them hardly have any room to breath, and many are breathing through their mouth.   I’m sure this sounds familiar, most children will breath through their mouth when they have a cold, and this is exactly why!
  • The latest research shows that giving a spoonful of honey is more helpful than a spoonful of cough medicine!  I advise my patients to use Honey for that daytime cough.  Honey tastes good, isn’t full of chemicals, and you cannot overdose on it!  I think it is great that we are getting back to natural vs. chemical!! 🙂
  • Taking an antihistamine or decongestant is helpful for some people.  I frequently recommend Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) at bedtime. I think this helps the child get some sleep and also helps to dry up some of the congestion. I think Benadryl is too sedating to give more than 1-2x a day, and don’t recommend daytime dosing unless the child is home and can nap. For Drew Elizabeth I use Claritin (Loratadine) instead of Benadryl. I do this because she has mild allergies and takes Claritin on a daily basis anyway. Also, I can give her the Claritin in the morning and it doesn’t make her sleepy. DO NOT use 2 allergy medications at the same time! Some decongestants such as Dimetapp and Robitussin can be helpful, but usually do little more than treat the cough for a few hours. DO NOT give Dimetapp Cold and Allergy with another allergy medication.  Dimetapp makes a Cold and Cough and a Cold and Allergy. Please read labels carefully!!
  • I think cough drops can be helpful too. I personally like Ricola.  No, I don’t get paid by Ricola. Do you hear the horn in the background, Riiicooolaaaa ;-)! The natural herbs just seem to be helpful for the sore throat and cough that accompany most colds.  Please keep in mind any hard object like cough drops can be a choking hazard for young children.
  • Another helpful tip that a friend reminded me of after I wrote the cough post, was sinus rinses.  Thanks, Ami Jo! 🙂 If you have never tried it, don’t knock it.  Most people will say yuck, until they have tried it.  A sinus rinse is a great way to help with a cold or allergies. I have parents that report back to me and swear by them.  Sinus rinses can be really helpful for allergy sufferers.

Please visit your child’s pediatric provider if they have a high fever, are uncomfortable when laying down (can be a sign of an ear infection because the pressure increases when they lay down), aren’t drinking and eating, or exhibit any signs of breathing problems.  Colds should get worse for a few days (3-5), then start to gradually get better.

Well, that is enough information for now, this was supposed to be a short post! Oops.  Too many helpful tips, I guess.

Keep in mind, all children are different!!  Some need more intervention then others while they suffer through yet another cold along this journey we call Life. Hope this information is helpful for all of you Moms and Dads out there! (Yes, this one’s for you, Ryan!) Thanks for reading.

I hope you are taking time to enjoy the journey!