Monday, January 23, 2017

At first signs of sickness...

At the first sign of cold or flu, here is what we do in our family:

1.  Cut out sugar.  And make a soup full of onions and garlic.  Sugar depresses your immune system, so it has the completely opposite effect of what you want to do when someone is sick.  (If your kid needs something cold like a popsicle, freeze orange juice in popsicle molds.  Works great and doesn’t have added sugar.  This is what we do for summer treats.)

2.  Drink enough liquid.  Keep a water bottle by the sick person.  And drink orange juice with added elderberry drops (the one I have now is made by “eclectic institute”) and olive leaf drops (made by “Nature’s Plus, Herbal Actives,” both are from health food store).  I put in about 10 drops of each per glass of OJ for my younger children (7 and 10 years old) and a couple more drops for older people.

3.  Take Vitamin D3 pills.  (Not artificial Vitamin D2)  We might also take our multi-vitamins or ginger pills or garlic pills or magnesium pills (my husband’s recommendation) or Echinacea pills.  (Always get high quality supplements, not junk.)

4.  We rub my homemade, diluted “Like Thieves” essential oil blend or “Everyday ‘Stay Healthy’” blend on the bottoms of our feet.  Recipes below. 

5.  We spray the shirt of the sick person with homemade “Everyday ‘Stay Healthy’ Spray” or “Breathe Easier Spray” and run the diffuser with essential oils for colds/flu (2 drops is all I can handle).  Recipes below. 
            (And if you have an earache, you can rub a bit of diluted tea tree oil or lavender oil on the outside of your ears and behind them, but never IN them.  We do about a drop or two of essential oil per small spoonful of olive oil.)

6.  We make tea with lemon and honey.  I’ve read that lemon and honey are germ fighters and that tea helps fight the flu.  And lemon helps make your body more alkaline, which helps kill germs.

7.  For sore throats, we will gargle with salt water …
            … or maybe “gargle” with coconut oil (which supposedly kills germs, add a touch of honey to sweeten it) …
            … or gargle some water that has a small spoonful of hydrogen peroxide in it.  (I’ve also read about people who believe that dripping hydrogen peroxide in your ears will help kill the cold/flu quickly.  Google it.) 
            We also swallow a spoonful of honey (or just “gargle” with it and then spit out).  Try Manuka honey, from bees that pollinate the tea tree plant. 
            We might rub some of the diluted essential oil blends on our throats. 
            And we suck on throat lozenges from the health food store. 

8.  If there’s congestion, cut out all dairy. 
            Eat fresh pineapple.  The enzymes help break up mucus. 
            Run a humidifier in the bedroom at night. 
            And rub a “chest rub” on the sick person that’s created to relieve congestion.  We have one called “Tea Tree Therapy, Eucalyptus Chest Rub.”  But we only use a little because my kids complain that the vapors sting their eyes.  Research for yourself on what ages you can use this.  Eucalyptus and peppermint are not recommended for younger children as it can slow their breathing down too much.  (Google it for yourself.) 
            I also recently read that licorice helps with congestion.  So I bought natural licorice chews, and I give it to my kids when they are sick but want something a little sweet.

9.  To help boost his immune system when my son was really congested and not getting rid of it easily, I bought some herbal blends with natural decongestants in them.  After I gave one to my son (“Herbal Expec” by Naturade from the Fresh Thyme grocery store), I did notice the next day that his cough sounded a bit better.  (But good luck getting your kids to take it; he says it tastes horrible.) 
            We also got Olba’s Cough Syrup (which the kids think tastes a bit better than the "Herbal Expec") and Standardized Elderberry syrup from Sambucus Immune.  (I gave the Elderberry syrup to a few of our kids who were getting colds, and they were better by the next day.  It was a really short-lived cold for all three of them.  Coincidence?  Or Elderberry syrup?)

10.  Eat something, if and when and what you can.  When we are sick, I try to make light soups (full of onions and garlic, as I said) or simply a store-bought chicken noodle soup (we get ours from Trader Joe’s). 
            And we make sure to have these three things on hand:  yogurt (plain, whole-fat, organic yogurt, lightly sweetened with a bit of maple syrup), plain crackers, and bananas.  (And maybe some applesauce.)  These seem to go down the easiest, especially when someone has been throwing up.  (Cooked eggs and a bit of cheese are also gentle on the stomach while providing needed protein.)    

11.  Get lots of rest and TLC.  And some fresh air and sunshine, if you can.
12.  Pray!  As a mom, I do a lot of this because I am usually pacing the floor anxiously until my kids get better.  I’m a nervous mom!

            [We also make sure to have children’s Tylenol on hand, which I do not use unless I really have to.  But when you really need it, you’ll be thankful it’s there. 
            During an exceptionally horrible bout of the flu going through our house one winter, one of my sons woke up with a temperature of 104.  Within 2 hours, it was 104.7.  I had no Tylenol in the house and no way to get to the store at the time.  I had to call my husband at work and tell him to pick up some Tylenol and get home fast so that he could watch the other sick kids while I (also really sick) took the high-temp boy to Urgent Care to make sure it wasn’t something worse. 
            Now I make sure to keep children’s Tylenol on hand if a temperature gets too close to 103 and if none of my other more-natural attempts to bring it down work.
            Caution:  After giving him the Tylenol, his fever dropped fast while he napped but he woke up hallucinating.  I wonder if an unnatural, super-fast drop in temperature causes things to go hay-wire in your brain for a little while.  This also happened to my other son who I had to give Tylenol to because of his high temperature. 
            It’s freaky when they are looking around the room at invisible beings and saying “they’re fighting in the corner” or “there’s 6, 7, 8 thousand bugs”!  Or when they stare at your chin in terror, and then their chin starts to quiver in fear and they start to cry.  And then when you ask them what’s making them upset, they turn to look at you . . . but not really look at you . . . because they are really looking right through you.  And then they ask you in a strange, Stepford-like, robotic rhythm, “Why are you upset, Mom?”  It’s horribly freaky!  Enough to send you into a panic attack and make you afraid that you melted their brain with the medicine.  Just a warning.  But he did come out of it just fine after a couple more hours of sleep.  Just be prepared to possibly be freaked out.]

My "Breathe Easier" Spray:
In a 2 oz. hard-plastic spray bottle, add:
10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
8 drops Peppermint
3 drops Eucalyptus
3 drops Tea Tree (or 1 Pine)
3 drops Frankincense (optional)
Fill bottle with water.
Spray on front of shirt clothes or in the air.
(Note:  Some sources do not recommend using Peppermint or Eucalyptus on young children.  No Peppermint under age 6 and no Eucalyptus under age 10.  I might replace those with Lavender or Cypress or Tea Tree oil.  Or research other good oils for congestion and young children.)
You can use 2 oz. carrier oil, like olive oil, instead of the water to rub it on the body or the bottoms of your feet.

Everyday "Stay Healthy" Blend:
In 2 oz. water (for a spray) or 2 oz. oil (for a foot/body oil), add:
8 drops Lavender
8 drops Tea Tree
4 drops Chamomile
4 drops Lemon
4 drops Eucalyptus (optional.  Or for kids under 10, substitute with Cypress, Lavender, or Tea Tree. )
2 drops Frankincense (optional)
Spray the water-based blend in air and on clothes. Rub the oil-based blend on body or bottoms of feet.
(Or simply use 8 Lavender, 8 Tea Tree, 8 Chamomile)

My "Like Thieves" Blend:
(FYI, I now prefer the updated blend below)
To 2 oz. water or oil, add:
7 drops Clove essential oil
4-5 drops Lavender
3 drops Orange
3 drops Lemon
3 drops Cinnamon Leaf
2 drops Rosemary
2 drops Eucalyptus
1 drop Frankincense (optional)
Spray water-based blend in air.  Rub oil-based blend on body or bottoms of feet.
(Note:  Some sources do not recommend using Rosemary or Eucalyptus on kids under 10.  I might substitute with Cypress, Lavender, Tea Tree, or Chamomile instead.)

Updated "Like Thieves" Blend:
for a less medicinal and more citrusy/spicy smell:
To 2 oz. oil or water, add:
8 drops Clove Bud
4 drops Cinnamon Leaf
3 drops Orange

3 drops Lemon
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Rosemary
2 drops Eucalyptus
1 drop Frankincense (optional)
Use the same way as above.

[I have a premixed batch of "Thieves Oil" that I keep in a glass bottle with a dropper.  It has:
80 drops Clove Bud
40 drops Cinnamon Leaf
30-40 drops Orange  (I prefer 30)
30-40 drops Lemon  (I prefer 30)
20 drops each of Lavender, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus
And then I just add 12 drops of this blend per ounce of carrier oil or water.]

Some essential oils good for congestion:
Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Oregano, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Spearmint, Spruce, Tea Tree, Thyme

Some essential oils good for colds/flu:
Bay, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Oregano, Pine, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint, Tea Tree, Thyme

Some essential oils good for boosting your immune system:
Cinnamon Leaf, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Pine, Patchouli, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Thyme

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