I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Treating Common Illnesses In Kids(?)

Both of my kids are sick with a cold/flu-type thing. I've never been the type to run to the doc at the first sign of a cough. Or even the second or third. In fact, it doesn't occur to me to head to the doc's unless things start to make me nervous, like DD's one and only ear infection (knock on wood.) I treat the symptoms myself, with whatever I feel is needed at the time. Now, I grew up with a doc. I use traditional medicines. I have given my thanks to Infant and Children's and regular Tylenol again and again. I have used decongestant on my children a couple of times. Only when I could just cry from hearing one or both of them suffer so much with breathing that one or both couldn't sleep, and everyone was tired, sick, sore and miserable. I quickly agreed to antibiotics for the ear infection that the doc said would usually be left to run its course but in this case... I use Hyland's homeopathic flu tablets sometimes. And when they arrive, I will try using my new collection of essential oils. (A bunch of bologna? Who knows? Keep posted for my EO trials!)

The question is, at what point do you decide to treat something? Are some symptoms treated and others not? I know that with congestion and runny noses in kids it is generally recommended by the docs and pharmacists to let it alone. The idea as I understand it is that it is generally better to let the nose run and get the junk out of the body rather than dry it up and risk a sinus infection. Fevers are there for a reason, but at which point do you decide that it's gotten high enough? Or that the kid/s are miserable enough to warrant intervention? At which point do the kids stay home from school? Does any symptom warrant a day of rest? Or does the kid have to be positively pathetic? If a kid is home from school, is a small period of time outside warranted? Or is the kid stuck inside all day?

Being relatively new to the child in school phenomenon, I question the go to school/stay home thing frequently. There are days I keep DD home, then decide that she would have been just fine at school. There are days I send her, then feel awful when she comes home looking completely worn out.

And one more thought. If a child is working her/his heart out to convince you that she/he is too sick for school, how do you decide if she/he is full of the dickens? Yesterday hubby and I thought that DD was hamming it up to get out of a field trip tomorrow that she has been very anxious about. Then last night she coughed so hard, a couple of times, that she made herself physically sick. She sure didn't fake that! She and DS have the same bug, and both are plenty sick and feel miserable, but they present in completely different ways. DD's energy, at least this time around, has remained high, and she is all over the house and asks to go outside. DS is content to sit and play quietly. He is needier than usual, asking to be held and asking to nurse more than usual. Very different.

So what do you think? What do you (or would you) do?

1 comment:

  1. I guess I would be considered a minimalist when it comes to this sort of
    thing... Of course, when it's your child, and he or she is clearly miserable,
    you have to ask yourself what you can do to help. I guess we've been lucky --
    our son is not very sick very often. He was prescribed Claritin once, but it
    seemed to me that he reacted strangely to it, so I'm not nearly as likely to try
    it again (or only at a much reduced dose at first). And, of course, he's been
    on antibiotics a couple of times. (And then there was the time he had surgery
    when he was 8 weeks old -- couldn't eat for a week -- due to pyloric stenosis --
    but that's different...)

    Our main "treatment" when our son has a runny nose is to keep his head elevated
    (most of the time). Also, I never clean inside his ears (with the idea of not
    introducing bacteria on a Q-tip.) And, I've read that it may help to not let
    them eat or drink when they're reclined -- that could wash bacteria from their
    throats through a channel to their (middle?) ear, and contribute to ear
    infections... so we keep him up when he's drinking or eating. We did have him
    on a daily probiotic (Culturelle) for a couple years after I stopped nursing
    him, but he objects to the taste of it now. (He's 3.) We don't give him
    candy or fruit juice, or anything sugary (except cookies and cake every now and
    then). But his diet is not the best -- mostly he drinks milk, doesn't eat
    vegetables every day, etc. I think this kind of thing is pretty typical for
    toddlers. I'm sensitive to all kinds of "chemical" things, so we don't have
    strong cleaning products, or laundry detergents, in the house. Maybe that
    helps. Also, when we moved into our house last summer, we put in hardwood
    floors and ceramic tile, and that might help, too. (Of course, our son had a
    cold 4 times in 3 months last fall, and has been sick twice already this year...
    He started preschool last fall. But we haven't had to use any medications since
    a year ago.)

    Our son's pediatrician seems to feel that kids can have a fairly high fever
    without it being a problem, necessarily. But I will check again with her about
    that the next time he gets a high fever.

    One of the reasons I'm so hesitant to use common medications is that my father
    has been on cholesterol-lowering drugs for ages, and he's had lots of unusual,
    unexplained health problems (for example, intense muscle pain, especially after
    exercising) that have effected his quality-of-life. For years his doctors did
    not acknowledge the possibility of a connection between the health problems and
    his medications.

    I guess there's also the fact that I seem to be so sensitive to some medications
    myself. I try to use as little as possible.

    My husband and I manage the late nights, so we don't use the stuff that's
    supposed to help him sleep (but it's not easy, and we have only one child, I'm
    not working, my husband doesn't have to be at work 9 to 5 every day, and we're
    accustomed to being up late sometimes anyway).

    The recent tylenol recall seems to point out another reason to use these
    medications rarely. Contamination to the packaging materials during transit
    sickened people who took the medication. I've had lots of problems tolerating
    vitamins and simple pain medications, so I've wondered if there could be more to
    the "ingredients" that meets the eye.

    Sorry if this isn't much help!