Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
I know when you cook up a home remedy, you use a smaller cauldron...
The first home remedy I ever encountered was my Mom's. It was her "go to" for sore throats. We lived in south Florida. Lots and lots of orange juice, sunshine, playing outdoors and time in the ocean water kept us healthy. But, both of my parents were smokers and at some point during the winter time when the windows were closed, one or more of the five of us would get a sore throat. People didn't run to the doctor as much as we do now. Mom's answer to anything nasal or throat-related was:
Gargle morning and evening with about a cup of really warm water with a tablespoon of white vinegar and about a half tablespoon of salt.
This concoction seemed to reduce our symptoms within 12 to 24 hours. Back outside to play.
There will come a point when you ask yourself, "Do I treat this or do we go to the doctor?" Good intentions can lead to disastrous results. Failure to treat what you thought was a minor fever that turned out to be meningitis could lead to death or life-long, debilitating illnesses. Kids have been poisoned by consuming essential oils. And, there's the story of infant who suffocated from a plastic bag associated with a home remedy for head lice.
As parents, what are the guidelines? You know me; what's the question you always need to ask yourself? "Can I live with the consequences?"
In the McCulloch household, if the term, "ER" comes up, don't even think about it. Get in the car. One Friday night, our son had just recovered from an ear infection. We thought everything was OK. We were eating dinner when he grabbed "the" ear and screamed, "Oh, my ear!" and the wailing never stopped. I swear, my ears still hurt from it.
We arrived at the local pediatric-certified ER and as soon as we came through the door, everybody knew we were there. People glared at us as if we could stop the screeching, screaming, wailing. Think "gnashing of teeth".
Finally, an ER doc emerged from a treatment area and with clenched teeth growled, "Who the hell is making all that noise?" Seriously? Look around. He pointed at me and I bolted toward him with a 14-month old toddler arching his back in agony. The doctor grabbed my husband who was trailing behind us and said, "I didn't point at you, did I?"
The doctor proceeded to blame me for stressing his cardiac patients. He asked for a brief history, called for the pediatric nurse who immediately jabbed our son in the thigh with a shot of Demerol. Quiet. Suddenly quiet. His ear was drained of, let me just say, "goo" and antibiotics were resumed. All was well. The event is now recorded in family lore. You've got lots of these stories. None of us are spared. We considered ourselves to be blessed compared to the challenges of our friends whose children have chronic and severe health issues.
The professionals who answer the phones can provide specific guidelines as to when to treat at home and when to get to the hospital or wait for a doctor's appointment.
There's no such thing as a "stupid" question for these professionals. Remember, they are trained to help and they don't want you to wait too long because you're concerned about being labeled a "neurotic parent". And, by the way, aren't we all? We're wired for neuroses...we're parents.
I'm giggling, but you can't hear it. I remember so clearly what my husband said one day, "There aren't enough guns, knives or C-4 in the world to protect me from the pain this kid could cause me". He had that, "G-d, what have we done?" look on his face. Yep, combat just might be easier than this, honey. The kid is nearly 29. So far, so good.
There are some guidelines:
- A fever of 100.4 F or more in an infant younger than 3 months requires medical intervention because it may be a sign of a serious bacterial infection.
- A child who is unresponsive or delirious needs immediate attention.
- Fever with severe headache and a stiff neck could have meningitis.
- Fever lasting more than 5 days requires assessment by a doctor.
- A child who's having trouble breathing (bluish lips.mouth) needs immediate treatment.
- Kids with vomiting and diarrhea and who are refusing beverages, have decreased urinary output and who are acting differently from their usual selves are likely to require IV fluids, so medical intervention is critical.
- Parents are prone to under-treating a fever with Tylenol or ibuprofen because they don't know their child's weight and dosing with these medications is based on weight.
- Use the right kind of thermometer to take your child's temperature. A digital rectal thermometer is recommended for infants.
- Over the counter cough and cold medicines don't work on kids and can have serious side effects.
- Chronic conditions such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, eczema/psoriasis, autism, asthma, tic disorders and autoimmune conditions required medical management.
If you're taking a home remedy path and your child does not improve in 1-2 days, time to get help.
If your child is being treated by a naturopath who is anti-science, anti-vaccine and makes unreasonable claims, use your common sense. There's balance in everything.
Most of this information was gleaned from an article where both a traditionally-trained as well as a naturopathically-trained physician were interviewed. The naturopath addressed basic issues in terms of improving your child's diet and exercise and enhancing their core health to make them more resistant to illness. I like aspects of both approaches, but asking questions is critical to benefit from them.
Also, taking small, but consistent steps to changing diet, sleep patterns and overall activity could be the "game changer" for your child's ultimate healthy adjustment to adulthood. Being a smart, curious parent who's unafraid to get information specific to your child's well-being is the answer.
Just do the best you can, Claudia
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