When your child is sick: Natural ways to treat 3 common ailments
The most common complaint of children is cough. Children suffer from cough because they are not used to it. They do not have experience with coughing or sneezing, which causes them discomfort.
Therefore, they develop a habit of coughing frequently and get irritated easily when their body gets too hot due to heat stroke (hyperthermia). If the symptoms are severe, they may even die.
Cough is one of the most common complaints among children. However, there are many reasons why a child might cough repeatedly or become aggravated. Some of these reasons include:
1) Infants and young kids cannot control their coughing reflexes well enough; therefore, they often cough up blood or vomit.
This leads to dehydration and other complications such as pneumonia.
2) The lungs are still developing.
Thus, infants and young kids breathe through their mouths rather than their noses. Hence, they need to blow air into their lungs rather than sucking on a pacifier. This results in wheeze and sometimes even asthma attacks.
3) The throat muscles are weak and prone to irritation from irritating substances like dust, pollen, dirt or pet dander.
These substances also cause coughing attacks.
What you need to know about treating your child’s cough
1) Always consult a doctor
Always seek the opinion of a medical professional to get a proper diagnosis before taking any medication. Sometimes, coughs are a sign of more serious illness such as throat infection or asthma.
2) Apple cider vinegar for cough
The best way to treat a cough is by giving your child warm liquids and over-the-counter medicines. 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water can help alleviate coughing attacks.
3) Honey for cough
Honey has natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can greatly help your child’s cough. Warm some up some honey to make it easier to take down.
4) Hot tea for coughing
Drinking warm liquids can help soothe the throat and lungs. Herbal teas also have anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial. Some of the best teas to drink when sick are chamomile tea, lavender tea or mint tea.
5) Steam inhalation for cough
To relieve a cough, your child should take a hot shower or inhale the steam from a hot water bottle filled with boiled water. Running the shower head into a trash can and sitting in the bathroom with the door closed can also provide relief to your child’s coughing spasms.
6) Elevate the head while sleeping
It is always a good idea to prop up your child’s pillow when they go to sleep. In addition, you can place layers of blankets under their mattress and pillows to elevate their head. Placing some books under their legs or feet will also help position them at a better angle.
7) Avoid dairy and sweets
When you are suffering from a cough, the last thing you want to do is consume something that will only worsen the problem. Stay away from dairy and sugary treats as these items will only irritate the throat and make the coughing worse.
8) Use a humidifier at night
A lot of times, coughing attacks happen at night when your child is in a dry environment. Placing a humidifier in your child’s bedroom will eliminate some of the dryness. In addition, you can wipe down your child’s face and chest with a cool cloth to relieve some of the dryness that accumulated in these areas.
9) Get plenty of rest
Coughing severely weakens your immune system by draining it of all of its energy. The best way to get your strength back is to get a full nights rest. If your child feels tired, try to limit their activity and engage in low-key fun.
10) Stay hydrated
Dehydration can worsen a cough as the throat becomes drier and more irritated. In addition, coughing decreases the amount of liquids in the body. To stay hydrated, make sure your child drinks at least 8 ounces of water every hour.
Encourage them to drink more if they are exerting themselves or experiencing a lot of coughing fits.
If you are unable to alleviate the cough, you should consult a physician to rule out anything more serious such as whooping cough or asthma. Always be aware of your child’s surroundings and know the warning signs of an impending coughing fit. If they start to turn blue or have difficulty breathing, you need to get them medical attention immediately.
If your child tends to get a lot of upper respiratory infections, it may be time to consider getting them a pair of surgical face masks. These disposable masks slip over the mouth and nose and prevent your child from spreading their germs to others. If many people in your daycare or children in your child’s classroom seem to be coming down with something, this might be a good investment for you.
How to Help Your Sick Child at Home
When your child is sick at home, you need to make sure that they are staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest. This can be difficult with younger children who prefer to play, but you should try to limit their activity. Make sure that they have plenty of blankets and a warm beverage to ward off the chills.
It is also important to keep their mucus from becoming too thick or too thin. Add some honey to their drinks to help soothe their throat while keeping mucus from getting too thick. If their mucus becomes too thin, it will be more difficult for them to clear out their lungs.
If your child is producing a lot of thick mucus, you should try to get some expectorant to help them spit it up.
Children’s Mucinex and Robitussin both have active ingredients that can loosen the mucus in your child’s lungs. These medicines are only available by prescription though, so be sure to talk to your doctor before giving them any of these medicines.
Coughing is the body’s natural defense system for getting rid of unwanted materials in the lungs and respiratory tract. It is important not to suppress a cough as it can lead to complications such as pulmonary edema and bronchopneumonia.
There are some over-the-counter cough medicines that you can give your child to curb the coughing though. These medicines are non-drowsy so that you do not put your child to sleep and make them a potential choking hazard.
You can also try to make your child’s environment as dust and allergen free as possible. Air filters can be installed on your heating and cooling systems, you can keep the humidity in your house lower, and remove pets from the house if possible. If you have to leave your child with a nanny or a babysitter, let them know that you do not want the children taking your child outside or exposing them to any potential allergens.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongeringCommentary: Medicalisation of risk factors by R Moynihan, P CG, I Heath, D Henry – Bmj, 2002 – bmj.com
“Feed a cold, starve a fever”—folk models of infection in an English suburban community, and their relation to medical treatment by A Weil – 1996 – Ballantine Books
The child’s world of illness: The development of health and illness behaviour by R Moynihan, A Cassels – 2008 – Greystone Books
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” The Fashionable Diseases”: Women’s Complaints and Their Treatment in Nineteenth-Century America by SR Wilkinson – 2006 – books.google.com