Friday, November 18, 2011

A Boother Asks: Battling Bugs

In which Going Green Mama is stumped by traditional medicine....

Several of us at the Booth have been battling bugs of varying kinds recently. In our home, it's our poor daugher who's suffering -- from a nasty cough and congestion that has dragged on since September. Traditional medicine has failed her. Despite several appointments that have deemed her chest and lungs clear, a round of antibiotics to clear a supposed sinus infection (which did give some relief for a few days, though nothing completely went away) and more OTC cold medicine than I normally buy in a year, my poor kid is still routinely miserable. And even more so because her friends are complaining about her coughing in class.

As a parent, I'm stumped. I've always shied away from natural remedies for children because many have not been proven to work (except for that echinacea is fabulous for spiking my blood sugar levels.) And while honey does sooth a cough for a short time, the logistics of sending her to the school office for honey every time she coughs is a bit of a logistical issue.

So today I ask our readers:: Wht natural remedies have actually worked for soothing these winter annoyances? Is there anything in particular that has worked - and is safe - for your child?

11 comments:

crstn85 said...

Have you considered testing her for allergies? This fall has been particularly bad for mine and if you're not treating the cause than no remedy you try will be effective.

robbie @ going green mama said...

I had kind of blown off my husband about that initially, but I'm beginning to wonder. Worse, if it's situational (like something in our school's air) I'm worried it could be challenging to overcome!

Michelle said...

I have not tried this myself, but I read somewhere that turmeric can be helpful for suppressing coughs. Might be worth investigating. Its one of those things I am trying to keep in the back of my mind for when I get my annual coughing cold. Hope she feels better soon.
Michelle

Kate said...

We've been pretty successful with fresh ginger root tea, with a teaspoon or two each of: lemon juice raw honey (the local kind...not the ridiculous kind that costs $50 at Whole Foods), and apple cider vinegar. It tastes like theraflu but without all the crazy ingredients.
We've made thieves vinegar in the past and had good success with that too (Every time my two year old coughed she would ask "Mommy, I have some teeves binedar??"
We are also looking into making elderberry syrup, but as my dried elderberries haven't arrived yet I don't have firsthand knowledge that it actually works.

mb said...

i highly recommend aviva jill romm's "naturally healthy babies and children" as a resource! she explains much more of the how and why behind natural remedies, so you can decide what is right for you. i don't think of natural remedies as the kind of thing that "work" the way we think of allopathic medicine working. allopathic meds don't enhance the body's ability to kick the bug by itself, they just do it for you- which in the long run isn't that great of a system. (romm does a better job explaining these things...) i also don't think it's wise to compare allopathic meds to natural ones if you are dabbling with both at the same time- the body gets confused, if it's trying to do the work when there is still HFCS nyquil coursing through its veins... i can definitely say natural remedies work great for us, but i had to give it a really fair shot of being the only thing we were doing for a while before i felt sure of that.

Sarah Stogryn CD(DONA) said...

Herbal Healing For Children by Demetria Clark is an amazing resource, filled with great info & DIY recipes.

sustainamom said...

I agree that pinpointing the cause is important. My brother-in-law had a HORRIBLE time every fall with allergies and it got much worse when he went to college because of the air quality in the dorms. (I think mold was a big trigger.)

I know kids can't have medicine in school, but would the teacher let her have honey candy in order to suppress a cough that is disturbing the classroom? We bought honey and honey-lemon drops at The Natural Candy Store's website and I give them to my son because he won't eat honey by the spoonful. I figure it is the same as a cough drop without any bad ingredients. The school can't object on the grounds it is a medicine, though they may not waive a no-candy policy...

Lisa Sharp said...

My remedies - http://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/2011/01/medicine-cabinet-makeover-naturally_26/

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

My sister has been plagued by GI issues and finally has had some relief after visiting a homeopathic type doctor who knew a lot about allergies. I think it's at least worth a shot -- although there probably is a lot of variability in the ability/knowledge of practitioners in this arena. I would ask around and see if anyone has someone they highly recommend. There are many folks for whom western medicine really falls short. If you have the time and resources, I figure it can't hurt and might be really illuminating.
Good luck! Sounds very frustrating.

Dea-chan said...

I'd work on boosting her immune system. Make sure she sleeps, vitamin C, etc. Something that I've used in the past for tickly throats is equal parts hot water, honey and lemon juice. You could also infuse honey with fresh ginger and use THAT in that drink, which would be super great for sore throats.

Honestly, I'd make a big thermos of that, and send your kid to school with that (I've gone to work with these) and just explain that since the coughing has been a distraction to the other children, this is an attempt to control the cough and apologize for the disruption of having a beverage at her desk.

If it's bad enough that her classmates complain, the teacher shouldn't really have a leg to stand on for preventatives.

Anonymous said...

A little late to the game here, but have you tried a Neti Pot? Our pediatrician recommended it for our son who had a cold dragging on and on with congestion. I was surprised because he is only 5! But our doctor said he had successfully used one with his 5 year old. It took a week for him to get used to it, but once he did it helped a lot.

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