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Taking Charge of Your Child’s Health...Naturally
An E-Book Intro to Pediatrics for Parents
Midwife, Herbalist, MD
Meet Aviva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Caring for Your Kids…Naturally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Recognizing When Your Child is Sick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Diaper Rash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Colic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Fever . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Colds and Flu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Cough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Earache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Pink-eye (Conjunctivitis) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
All material provided on this website is provided for informational or educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare professional or physician.
© 2012 by Aviva Romm
This is just one of many old-world treatments she practiced. I am also a midwife who has helped hundreds of babies into the world. She also had a lot of common wisdom. My greatest joy in life has been raising my four wonderful. and the planet benefits. a Hungarian herbalist. I understand from a mom’s point of view how worried and vulnerable a parent can feel when a child is sick. creative. lovely children — and now I am a grand-mom. I am so glad you have chosen to learn to take care of precious little ones using natural approaches and common sense for common problems. what kind of information a parent needs when things feel like they’re hitting the fan. too. some of the things she did when I was a kid are becoming vogue as we learn the value of supporting our body’s natural healing abilities and protecting ourselves and our environment from unnecessary chemical exposures. AND I am a medical doctor. to a beautiful baby I had the privilege of helping bring into the world. an herbalist who has written a half-dozen books on natural health for women and children. My focus is women’s health and pediatrics. which brought certain relief from the inflammation and itching. trained at Yale. and how confusing it can be to know how and when to use natural remedies or when to get medical care. too! I hope that my 30 years of practicing natural medicine for babies and children can be of service to you as one of your trusted voices in health care. My greatgrandmother. When I was a little girl anytime I got a mosquito bite it swelled up to the size of a goose egg and itched like crazy.Meet Aviva Dear Friends. I also know how helpful it is to have a trusted resource to turn to when a child is sick. translated into many languages. with a specialty in family medicine. So who is this woman talking to you about natural health for kids? Perhaps my most important credential is that I am a mom. 3 . Now. Using herbs for kids’ health is a win-win choice: kids benefit. parents benefit. would immediately apply witch hazel compresses.
• Everyone has a right to affordable health care and adequate information for making informed decisions. • Nobody knows a baby or child like his/her own momma (and often dad. I knew that there was a healthier way to treat my son rather than to treat every symptom with an antibiotic. and over the years now as a midwife. • Parents can build supportive partnerships with integrative family docs and pediatricians for times when the going gets rough. natural parenting is best supported when: • Parenting happens in the context of a supportive community (your tribe!). have experienced a powerful phenomenon: The momma almost always knows her baby best. Caring For My Children Twenty-six years ago. 4 . I was eager to learn everything I could about natural treatments for common kid’s conditions. accepting whatever medication was handed out as the solution. mom. I’ve since heard this sentiment repeated many times by experienced family doctors and pediatricians. Lemon Balm I remember feeling anxious and vulnerable treating that first fever and upper respiratory infection he had. he’d only once had a case where he found an illness in a child that the momma hadn’t picked up on first. too). herbalist. a comprehensive. It is built on several key principles: • Common kid’s health problems can be treated with common. choosing not to use conventional therapies. accessible course that will teach you how to take charge of your kid’s health! Pediatrics for Parents…Naturally is based on the belief that parents can capably manage most of their children’s health concerns and be informed partners when they must consult a health professional. • Pharmaceutical drugs are over-prescribed for commons kid’s health problems. • Parents need the necessary tools and education to support kid’s health and recognize illness. I too. It gave me a lot of confidence to trust myself to take care of my kids.Caring for Kids…Naturally This booklet is an “e-intro” to Pediatrics for Parents…Naturally (coming in 2012). • Parents can safely and confidently take charge of their children’s health. There wasn’t much information available on how to use natural remedies. What if I missed a dangerous illness? How would I know if my little one was really sick and needed a medicine? Could I really trust the bond I felt between my baby and me to guide my intuition and common sense in decision-making around health care issues? Could I really trust herbs and foods to help? Around that time I took a class with a wise older doctor who told me that in all of his 30 years of practice. and most folks I knew took their kids to the doctor’s office for every fever and sniffle. Further. natural home remedies. and medical doctor. when the first of my four kids was a tiny tot.
I hope you find this booklet to contain information you can trust on your own joyous journey of raising your kids naturally! Trust Your Momma Wisdom! You Know Your Child Best! 5 . and that many herbs. combined with experience gained from raising my own four kiddos. for example. environmental contamination. Fortunately. Antibiotics remain widely overprescribed today.Antibiotic Overuse When my kids were little. with as many as 50% of all antibiotics prescribed to kids being unnecessary. and through my books and classes. which can lead to permanent brain damage. antibiotics were given for every fever. I have gained tremendous insight into when and how to use botanicals and other natural approaches safely and effectively. and that aspirin given to kids with viral infections can cause Reyes’ syndrome. three decades into using natural medicines. So instead of these treatments.Naturally based on the integration of my work as an herbalist and medical doctor. realizing that many commonly used medications are ineffective at best. and my homemade cough syrup for chest congestion and cough. and respiratory infection. even short-term. I have treated hundreds of children. have supported thousands of families in taking care of their kids naturally. Pediatrics For Parents Now. washing kids down with rubbing alcohol and giving aspirin for fever. Other harmful practices were also commonly recommended. it is not uncommon in medicine for practices to fall out of favor when it is found that they were not as safe as originally thought.. earache. and vitamins can play an important role in promoting health. garlic earache oil. There is also new concern that acetaminophen (Tylenol) use in kids. We now know that rubbing alcohol used as described can cause nervous system damage. minerals.. This booklet is a unique mini-preview of updated information that will appear in my full e-course Pediatrics For Parents. and when medical care is appropriate. harmful at worst. In fact. It is my hope that this introductory booklet can help you to feel safe and confident in caring for your kids with natural approaches for some basic conditions that might come up. we used herbs like lemon balm and elder flowers for fever. It is my hope that others can benefit from the knowledge I’ve gained using herbs and foods as medicine over several decades. when overprescribed and misused they can contribute to health problems. While medications are lifesaving when needed. and the deadly international problem of antibiotic resistance — when antibiotics no longer work for serious infections. Parents are seeking natural alternatives and even physicians are starting to turn to natural approaches for kid’s health. New concerns are being raised that early childhood exposure to antibiotics may increase the risk of developing asthma and irritable bowel diseases. can also increase the risk of developing asthma. these latter practices are no longer done. and preventing and treating common illnesses.
Recognizing When Your Child is Sick (and When to Seek Medical Care) It can be really hard to know when you can treat a condition at home and when you need to take your child to the doctor’s office or even the emergency room. 6 . I get so many calls late at night from patients who are worried about a child’s fever. but keep in mind. always better to err on the side of caution and have a doctor’s visit you don’t need than to miss something serious. It is.” Early signs of illness will become obvious to you. as well as more advanced skills for taking care of your child naturally. or sore throat. In my Pediatrics for Parents course you will learn how to do a basic physical exam on your child. Antibiotics remain widely overprescribed today. with as many as 50% of all antibiotics prescribed to kids being unnecessary. moms generally know when their kids are sick! By spending time with your child and becoming a good observer. you will know your child’s health and illness patterns better than anyone and you will quickly recognize when your child is “not feeling quite right. cough. Knowing what is generally considered “normal” physical health and development in children can bolster your confidence in assessing your child’s wellness. parents come into my office for many more visits than they need to because they feel worried and don’t know the signs to look out for that their child is really ill or how to help their child with cold symptoms. By far. of course.
and alert. uncooperative) • Sleepier than usual. rashes. acting picky or not hungry) • Behavioral changes (cranky. respiratory changes • Bowel and urinary changes (frequency. These steps can offset the illness or at least minimize your child’s discomfort and the length of the illness. sleep disturbances • Sore throat. color. stomachache • Achiness • Chills. awake. irritable. headache. color. quick pulse (or unusually slow pulse). chosen according to the child’s symptoms. • Your child is peeing a normal amount compared to usual. she or he may have a few or many of the following common early W signs of illness: • Changes in eating habits (eating less. in spite of not feeling well. sensitivity such as itching) • Ears hurt. consistency) • Skin changes (temperature. It is also a time for extra rest. • The symptoms slowly improve over the course of several days. swollen glands. fever. and perhaps changes in diet such as eliminating sugar and eating a bit more healthily. glassy.Common Early Signs of Illness hen your little one is getting sick. • Your child’s appetite may be decreased from normal. odor. hearing seems “off” • Eyes watery. attention. circles under eyes • Vomiting • Coated tongue • Disinterest in play (this may be one of the most significant changes parents notice) • Voice changes (hoarseness. fussy. whiny. continues to play and act generally normally. it is the perfect time for some herbal teas. clingy. Reassuring signs that you can probably continue to treat an illness at home include: • Your child. but he or she continues to take fluids and perhaps a small amount of food. whining) If any of the above symptoms occur. moistness. 7 . runny nose.
and the condition persists or worsens. measles. labored. If you see any of these. sore throat. trust your instincts! Don’t be afraid to get medical care when it is needed! 8 . this could be a sign of dehydration • Thick eye discharge that doesn’t get better during the day • A stiff neck.5°) or persistent fever (> 3 days) in any aged child •I f your child is having to work extra hard to breathe or if her breathing is fast. or has travelled out of the country recently •I f your treatment for a mild condition is not helping. pertussis. or stomachache •F requent vomiting or diarrhea: If your child is unable to keep down enough liquids to urinate at least once every six to eight hours. severe headache. the flu. extreme lack of energy or the illness seems to be getting worse rather than staying the same for more than five days •B lood in the vomit or diarrhea •I f your child has been exposed to a contagious disease such as mono. Anytime you feel uncomfortable or worried about your little one it is appropriate to get support and advice from your family doctor or pediatrician. or accompanied by unusual noises •P ersistent pain such as an earache. bring your child to his or her primary care doctor: • Any fever in a baby under one.month old requires immediate medical attention! •H igh (A high fever is over 103. remember. seek medical help.Here are symptoms to worry about.
Yeast usually only occurs if there has been a diaper rash for a long time that then becomes “superinfected” by Candida. irritated skin. It is a red. • If using cloth diapers add ½ cup of white vinegar to your wash to neutralize the acidity of the diapers and help kill germs. it may reappear now and again. active culture yogurt daily then rinse off thoroughly. Types of Diaper Rash Contact diaper rash is the garden-variety rash that looks flat. and has frequent contact with irritating poop and pee. and make sure to clean baby’s bottom well. Common sense approaches to preventing & treating diaper rash • Change baby’s diapers often — every 2-3 Allergy ring is a red ring just around the baby’s hours — and as soon as possible after baby anus can be a sign of an allergy to something in his poops. It looks like a burn. Herbal salve can be used as a healing agent. 9 . Old-fashioned A&D ointment works really well. • Let baby’s bottom air out — go naked bums — as often as possible! • Apply a thick cream as a barrier on your baby’s skin. and patchy rash with clear edges and smaller patches called “satellites” at a distance from the main area of the rash. Babies have soft. and some easy natural remedies to sooth that irritated bottom! Even with the best treatment. zinc oxide is also effective. Intertrigo occurs within the skin folds and creases around the diaper area where the skin rubs together.Diaper Rash What is diaper rash? Diaper rash is an incredibly common problem — it is practically just a normal part of being a baby! It can occur regardless of diapering choices. • If using cloth diapers. make sure the edges of the diaper covers are not irritating baby’s sensitive thighs and groin by hugging too close to the skin. raised. sensitive skin that spends 24 hours a day in contact with a diaper. • If using disposable diapers change brands to see if another is less irritating to your baby’s skin. and light skin barrier. • Use a warm wash cloth each time you wash baby’s bottom rather than diaper wipes if possible. Both are mild and safe. • Another simple home remedy for yeast diaper rash is to slather your little one’s bottom with plain. mom’s diet. sometimes with peeling skin if more severe. red. Most diaper rashes are just due to contact irritation. emollient. (see Types of Diaper Rash). less commonly they are caused by a yeast infection. There are simple steps you can take to prevent and reduce the risk of diaper rash. or her diet or in breastfeeding babies. If your little one develops a diaper rash. A diaper rash is usually not a sign of a food allergy. • Your little one might benefit from a probiotic in the case of diaper rash from yeast infection as well as when there is an allergy ring. don’t fret.
then pour the oil back in. cool to room temperature. To test for readiness. put a small amount onto a teaspoon and place it in the refrigerator.Herbal Treatment Healing Salve Can be used to heal irritated. When to See Your Doctor Babies rarely need to be seen by the doctor for a diaper rash. and watch carefully to avoid scorching. if it is too hard. cover. and with the pot semi-covered. If the consistency is correct. If the salve is too soft. Calendula Flowers Chickweed Comfrey Root Chamomile Flowers Plantain Leaf Olive Oil (more if needed to cover herbs) Pure Beeswax To prepare a salve: Place about an ounce of your mix of dried herbs and 1 cup of olive oil in a small pot. Salve should be firm and solid but not so hard that it won’t melt easily into your skin. damaged skin and as a barrier. Melt this over a low flame. squeezing as much of the oil as possible out of the plant material. add more beeswax. add more oil. Add a bit of oil as necessary for the herbs to remain covered over their surface. Simmer for 1 hour on a very low flame with a flame deflector on the burner. pour your salve into small jars. and store. stirring constantly. (You may need to let the oil cool first to avoid burning your hands). strain the herbs well through a cotton cloth or cheesecloth. or you suspect an infection. Clean and dry the pot (discarding the used plant material). The following is an example of one I made for my kids’ bottoms. baby is very uncomfortable. If you suspect a yeast infection add 20 drops of tea tree oil to your preparation. 10 . contact your family physician or pediatrician. adding a 3–4 tablespoons of grated beeswax. If the rash is worsening. After cooking. There are many possible herbal ingredients for a salve. After a minute it will harden to its finished consistency.
we discovered that taking her outside or having soothing sounds also helped. too) • Crying for several hours at a time or several hours a day. swinging we did. It was worrisome and exhausting for all of us. and no matter how much bouncing. nobody actually knows exactly what causes colic. . she’d cry and ball up her little arms and legs in discomfort for sometimes well over an hour. commonly in the evening but it can happen anytime (and seem like most of the time!) • The crying occurs at least several days of the week • The baby tends to be inconsolable during the episodes 11 Not all crying in a baby is colic. If your baby is crying inconsolably. We were lucky — daytime was fine. day and night. What is colic? As common a problem as it is. Common signs of colic in a baby include: • Episodes of fussiness that start in the first few weeks after birth and lasts until about 3-4 months old • Crying in distress. too! It took us another couple of weeks to figure out what was making our daughter uncomfortable — it seemed that when I ate peanut butter or dairy. make sure that the baby is not in pain because of any other reasons. and after a couple of weeks of the new evening ritual of our baby crying in pain. though it appears to be most commonly due to cow’s milk sensitivity from either directly eating dairy or through the mother’s milk. for example. it affected her through my breastmilk — and to establish some helpful routines that eased her discomfort and brought some balance back to our lives. Our usual lovely bedtime ritual of reading stories to our three-year old was temporarily on hold. Check for anything that might be poking into or pinching the baby. rocking. one of us would wash the dishes while the other rocked her. In addition to the dietary changes. Each evening we’d put her in the baby carrier and stroll the neighborhood until she fell asleep. What we do know is that when a baby has colic he or she is experiencing belly pain and this distresses the baby. By the time she was several months old. the sound of the running water eventually soothing her troubles.Colic At about three weeks old my perfectly sweet second baby suddenly started crying out in apparently agonizing pain at sunset almost every evening. though now and then she’d have a fussy evening. we were overwhelmed. It was incredibly distressing and since our first child didn’t have colic. Many of you are probably familiar with this story and some of you might have babies that have colic all day long. Her symptoms improved almost completely. We also gave her simple herbal tea with an eye-dropper and I drank the teas hoping they’d make their way to her through my breastmilk. check for signs of illness — for example. she was her happy self again. we were new to the problem. but the next evening we’d start all over again. especially with the arms and legs pulled in close to the body (sometimes the baby stiffens up. or alternately. check for a “hair tourniquet” — a fine piece of hair tightly wound around a finger or toe that is cutting into the skin and must be removed immediately. an ear infection can cause baby to scream in discomfort.
others will relax more in a stroller. Strain the herbs and put the tea into either a bottle if the baby takes one. You might also find that the baby self-soothes to sleep while you are taking some deep breaths yourself! • Take turns sharing the colicky baby responsibilities instead of both of you getting worn out each night. which are natural feelings that arise. •I f all else fails and baby keeps on crying.e. Cover with 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. and German chamomile. Tummy Ease To prepare these herbs as a tea. enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to give you a break once in awhile. You will return to the baby refreshed and with more compassion. bassinette) and take a breather out of crying range. this too shall end — babies do grow out of colic! Herbal Treatments Several studies have shown that traditional herbal medicines used for colic do have some noticeable benefit in reducing symptoms. others will just keep on crying. •P lay soothing music or the sound of running water — some babies will respond to this. baby will pick up on your Peanuts cauliflower) stress and anxiety. 12 . mix ½ ounce of each of fennel. • Try taking your baby for a walk — some babies will relax more if you have them close to your body in a baby carrier. dry glass jar or plastic bag. cabbage. if you are a breastfeeding mom pay special attention to what you’ve eaten in the previous 24 hours to help you sleuth out any food sensitivities (see Foods that Commonly Upset Baby). crib. Eggs (which can also keep • Try to get to the bottom of Corn baby awake longer!) what is upsetting your baby by keeping a journal of when your baby is having colic episodes. and German chamomile together in a clean. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture and place it in a glass mug or French press. so being Wheat Caffeine and Chocolate upset won’t help anyone. • Talk with other parents of colicky babies for support. The herbs studied include fennel. put the baby somewhere safe (i. or use a medicine dropper to give the baby several teaspoons at a time. rather than frustration and resentment. and if you are a single parent. lemon balm. Try different approaches. •B e gentle to yourself — this is NOT your fault! •R emember. lemon balm. •E liminate any culprit foods you identify. especially crying time. and you are getting increasingly upset.What can you do? Common Colic Causing Foods in Breastmilk • Stay calm and relaxed while Dairy products Cabbage family veggies your baby is fussing — your Soy products (broccoli.
ask your baby’s doctor. ½-1 cup every few hours for older kids. To prepare: Steep 1 teaspoon of the dried herb of your choice in 1 cup of boiling hot water for 10 minutes. a product such as Children’s Compound by HerbPharm can be used. Tea Tea is the most basic herbal preparation. herbalist. Your pediatrician or family doctor might be a great resource for you if you are at your wits’ end. have experienced a powerful phenomenon: The momma almost always knows her baby best. When to See Your Doctor If you are concerned that there is something more serous going on. I too. The tea can be sweetened with a teaspoon of maple syrup. chamomile. and medical doctor. A French press makes it easy to strain the tea. …over the years now as a midwife. 13 . and may also not know that standard medications for colic are ineffective. Richly scented herbs such as catnip. mom. Any combination of these herbs may be used for a colicky baby. up to 5 doses a day. lemon balm. fresh and seeds such as fennel and anise are commonly made into teas. Children’s Compound comes in a glycerin base which tastes sweet but has no sugar. It is concentrated and easy to give the baby 5-10 drops every couple of hours. sweet tastes have been shown independently to calm baby and reduce colic symptoms. do NOT give honey to babies under 2 years old — it can cause infant botulism. or even as often as every 30 minutes in a crying spell. Most doctors don’t know a lot about alternatives for colic. Of note.Alternatively. To use: Give several teaspoons up to every hour for a fussy baby.
4°. • Keep the child’s room fresh and comfortable. but now that your child has one. When your child has a fever the most important thing is to keep her comfortable and give plenty of fluids. Fevers may continue for a number of days or go away and come back — especially in the afternoon and evening — for several days. take a deep breath. fretful and hot to the touch.5°! I know that when my own kids’ temps got over 103° my mommy alarm bells started going off! But in truth.4° F is considered a fever. A high fever is over 103. you’re not so sure. • Let your child rest and sleep as much as she needs to. Yes. or rash — but often the fever comes before the symptoms. and ear infections can also cause fever. Should you give Tylenol.” Your little one wakes up in the middle of the night. This is usually not a problem if the child is taking plenty of fluids and seems otherwise well. natural response that actually helps fight infection! Fevers are not dangerous. You feel worried and don’t know what to do. is soothing to feverish eyes. Most lowgrade fevers are not serious and kids can even run high fevers and not have serious illness — but it is scarier to parents. Create a quiet environment conducive to healing and recovery. It is the body’s healthy. Fevers in kids are generally caused by common viral infections. urinary tract.Fever “Mommy.5°. Most fevers are in the range of 101-103. You check her temperature and it is 102°. and read on… What is a Fever? Most importantly: Fever is not an illness. call your doctor or go to the emergency room! •F or everyone else. runny nose. Bacterial infections such as strep throat. What should you do? The answer to the above question for starters is: •I f your child is under one-month old and has a temperature of over 100. What Can You Do? Keep in mind that you do not have to treat the fever. I don’t feel well. She’s had a cold for a few days but hasn’t had a fever until now. earache. the height of the temperature does not necessarily reflect the severity of the illness. 14 . Diffuse light. and most of these are not dangerous. A temperature over 100. Kids will often have symptoms such as a cough. relax. go to the emergency department? Should you call your doctor’s office hoping to reach someone in the middle of the night? Can you wait until morning? You’ve heard about using herbs for fever and thought it sounded good at the time. as through a thin curtain on the window.
Fever is not an illness. • For achiness. Chamomile. Baths with these herbs are also soothing. and chills. • Ginger tea can help fight upper respiratory infection and helps sweat out a fever. and often. If the child is sleeping. Nursing moms with feverish nursing babies can drink adult doses of these herbal remedies. headaches. 15 . Soothes tummy upset. maple syrup is a good alternative). or lemon balm can be used alone or in combination. of each herb in a covered quart jar of boiling water for 20 minutes. rose. put some water with a few drops of essential oil into a clean plant mister and spritz around the room. Rosemary Anise Flowers Catnip. to bring a sense of restfulness and relief of the above symptoms. chamomile. or eyedropper every 15-30 minutes. thyme. until a sweat results. While fevers don’t need to be treated. headache. Babies can be nursed often and given water by teaspoon. eucalyptus. and Lemon balm Tea Mix equal parts of the dried herbs and prepare according to tea instructions. This is very pleasant tasting and very gentle even for little babies. and eases fever symptoms. It is the body’s healthy. Some classic herbs for feverish kids include: • Anise seed tea or a weak tea made from fresh ginger root can quiet indigestion. high fever can be lowered a bit with these herbs. you can rouse him periodically for a drink. lavender. •G ive your child loads of fluids during the fever. Strain and sweeten lightly (no honey for kids under 2 years old. Rosemary. or restlessness. cup. Some of the benefits of the herbs will pass through the milk to the baby. Give as warm as your child will take it. natural response that actually helps fight infection! Spearmint Leaf and Elder Blossom Infusion Steep 1/2 oz. aches. lemon. and mint make refreshing scents. tummy discomforts. 5 drops per bath. Herbal Treatments Herbs can be used to help ease the symptoms associated with a fever — aches. strong teas of catnip. •T o freshen the air. • Lavender oil can be added to a warm bath.
• Fevers that stay high for more than 3-5 days. • If you feel worried that your child has a serious illness. dried herb or 2 ounces of chopped. When to See Your Doctor • All babies under one-month old with fever should be seen by a doctor immediately! This can be a medical emergency! • Babies under three months old with a high fever (see above) should be seen by a doctor. • Any kids with fever along with stiff neck or neck. Fill the jar with boiling water. not urinating a normal amount compared to usual. To use: Generally. dosage of an infusion ranges from 1/4 to 1 cup. To prepare: Place 1 ounce of chopped. and doesn’t really make eye contact. Sometimes an infusion is sipped throughout the day. This is usually not a problem if the child is taking plenty of fluids and seems otherwise well. •A ny kids who are not taking fluids. More herb material is steeped longer in slightly more water than is usual for a tea. persistent vomiting. two to four times daily. or severe headache should be seen by the doctor. trust your momma intuition (and better safe than sorry)! Fevers may continue for a number of days or go away and come back — especially in the afternoon and evening — for several days. or are just not “acting right” should be seen by the doctor. depending on desired strength and the part of the plant used. is just lying there. Put a lid on the jar and let the mixture steep from a half-hour to 8 hours. • If your child is lethargic — that is. fresh herb in either a quart or pint jar. seems weak. take your child to the doctor: Remember. 16 .Infusions Infusions are medicinal-strength teas. he just isn’t really waking up fully. or just seems sort of limp. • If your child has severe ear pain or severe belly pain.
sore throat. pneumonia. It is essential to provide adequate time. and extreme lassitude.” Frequently a child will say. for example. and can help prevent colds from recurring. so avoid them during an infection if possible. 4. the average American school-aged child has about 10 colds each year! Antibiotics do not treat coughs caused by viral infections and are almost always not indicated for coughs due to colds. seek a doctor’s help. can prevent what are called secondary infections. lack of appetite. cough. This is important because believe it or not. Be prepared for kids to run high fevers and sleep a lot for a few days. skipping a meal. Keep the diet light and healthy.Colds and Flu Most parents will recognize the early symptoms of colds and flu — children rubbing itchy or irritated eyes. for recuperation after the symptoms of influenza have passed. throat. such as underlying diseases. though sometimes if all kids will drink is juice it is better than nothing. acute respiratory infection caused by influenza A or B viruses. Help your child feel as comfortable as possible. Most kids with healthy immune systems get over a cold within a week with nothing more than tender loving care. 17 Most kids with healthy immune systems get over a cold within a week with nothing more than tender loving care. but this is usually in the very young. my head hurts. Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious. Give plenty of water. a sore throat. upper breathing passages. and kids who just aren’t quite “themselves. even up to a week. What Can You Do? The most important things to do for your child when he or she is sick with a cold or flu are: 1. a sniffle or runny nose. common viral infection that affects the upper respiratory passages — nose. What Are They? A cold is just a simple. and ears. 3. If kids who have the flu seem to get worse instead of better. especially if there is fever. In the past. Natural remedies can help relieve cold and flu symptoms faster. . and in those already weakened by malnutrition or other causes. “Mom. you realize your son or daughter has a fever. influenza was dreaded and even now it occasionally causes fatalities. in the elderly. severe achiness. Symptoms include fever ranging from 102 to 104°F.” An adept hand to the forehead and sure enough. Encourage lots of rest. milk and juice can actually make chest and sinus congestion thicker. 2. that can occur after viral infections. In most kids it is treatable at home but it can be really exhausting.
Use of echinacea has been shown to shorten the duration of colds. The tincture is the single most effective way to give children this medicine. cough.Herbal Treatments There are many herbs that can be used to help your child feel more comfortable when he or she has a cold or the flu. and to support the immune system and fight viruses. and capable of both preventing and fighting viral infections. and other related symptoms and use some of my favorite recipes that do the work of combining for you! •E chinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) is safe.e. Many of the newest formulas use vegetable glycerine as a solvent instead of alcohol. or diluted natural fruit juice. It can be given diluted in 1/4 cup of water. including both viruses and bacterium. Treatment will be quickest and easiest if you begin at the first signs of illness. To give to children try my classic formula: Garlic Lemonade Finely mince 2 cloves of fresh garlic and place them in a 1-quart mason jar.. Sweeten to taste with honey. tea. but you can begin using the herbs at any time during the course of illness. gentle. a 50-pound child would get 25 drops. Strain out the garlic. It’s highly effective for reducing the duration of colds and flu. depending upon the severity of the infection). every 2 to 4 hours. Echinacea can be used in small preventative doses throughout cold and flu season or in larger doses for fighting sickness. Combine these herbs with those presented under fever. Fill the jar with boiling water and cover for 30 minutes. Give warm. 18 . and to the liquid add the juice of 1 whole lemon. Here are several of my favorites. and offer as much as the child can drink. Echinacea Dosing I generally recommend 1 drop of extract per 2 pounds of the child’s body weight (i. •G arlic (Allium satiua) has been shown to exhibit broad range antimicrobial properties. For maximum effectiveness during an acute infection it’s important to give echinacea tincture in therapeutic doses.
19 . It gently breaks up congestion and eases irritable hacking coughing. •G inger (Zingiber officinalis) root is an aromatic. Steep for 20 minutes. strain. tincture. Add lemon for taste if the child likes it. Run the bathroom shower on full blast on hot water only. This can be repeated twice daily. Put 3-5 drops of eucalyptus or thyme oil on a washcloth and toss into the shower under the running water. and drink hot. particularly coughs. • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a wonderful anti-viral and antibacterial herb effective against mast upper respiratory infections. and is pleasant tasting when lightly sweetened with honey. with the bathroom door closed. sweeten. Steam Baths Steam baths can be used to relieve upper respiratory congestion. Any of these herbs or combinations can be continued for up to three weeks after symptoms have cleared up to prevent relapse and strengthen the immune system. It can be taken as a tea. pleasant tasting herb that is easy to find in supermarkets. Repeat as often as desired. It also relieves gas and stomach discomfort. Here is a simple method for doing a steam at home. When the bathroom has filled with warm steam. bring your child in and sit in the “steam room” for ten minutes. Ginger Tea Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root. or syrup. See Cold and Flu Syrup on the next page.
making them particularly useful for children and for serious conditions when a higher dosage of herbs is required. A simple herbal bath. If you keep the bathroom door closed. 1 oz echinacea tincture 1 oz elderberry syrup ½ oz thyme tincture ½ oz lemon balm tincture ½ oz licorice tincture ½ oz anise seed tincture To prepare: Combine all ingredients in a 4-ounce dark amber bottle. Herbal Baths Herbal baths are used to soothe all sorts of complaints: irritability. When using baths with children. convenient (they can easily be transported in a small bottle). congestion. To use: Give 1/2 to 1 teaspoon every 2 hours. and one of my favorites. adding to the relaxing effect of the bath and helping to fight infection. and Earache. alcohol extracts of herbs. Lavender When to See Your Doctor Follow recommendation for when to see your doctor under Cough. This syrup contains no honey so it can safely be given to children under 2. They are quick acting. Tinctures Tinctures are concentrated. be careful to avoid burns from overly hot water. to name a few. Because they are so concentrated. and fever. Shake well. Fever. 20 .Cold and Flu Syrup Here’s a sweet-tasting syrup that is highly effective against viral and bacterial infections. is simply to put about 5 drops of lavender essential oil into a warm bath after it has run. and they have a shelf life of many years. only a few drops are needed. Tinctures are also convenient for working parents who can’t easily prepare infusions or decoctions every day. the aroma of the herbs which is from the antimicrobial volatile oils will fill the air.
hot tea. you might have noticed that sometimes after a cold. organic food sources. This is the second night in a row you’ve both been kept awake by his cough. and the coughing isn’t letting you get much sleep either. Honey in regular supermarkets is not of problems. and miso broth (available at Whole Foods and most natural food coops. NOTE: The honey has to be and misused they can good quality honey which a recent study showed could only contribute to health be purchased from Whole Foods. • For kids older than two years. What can you do? What is a Cough? A cough is a reaction to airway irritation or inflammation. Trader Joe’s. • Vick’s® VapoRub® applied to the chest (not to the face!) has actually been shown to help children with coughs (and as a benefit. active enzymes). This can be completely normal and is due to irritation in the upper airway passages that may just take this long to resolve. (Do not place a hot water While medications are humidifier anywhere near your child). and natural. bouillon broth. especially water.Cough It’s a common story. their parents!) sleep better. a child can have a lingering cough for even six weeks. Coughs can last from days to even weeks. Your child has had a cold for a few days and now he’s started having a cough. What Can You Do? There are many common treatments for cough. A few that I recommend regularly in my practice include: • Encourage plenty of fluids. more effective and safer than cough syrups for relieving when overprescribed cough. honey has been shown to be lifesaving when needed. • Place a humidifier in your child’s room to help moisten the air and loosen the cough (to avoid burns. environmental adequate quality. but then the coughing starts again. Either let your child take ½-1 tsp of honey directly from a spoon or mix into tea. this is a delicious paste made of fermented soy beans that is loaded with live. You get up and bring him some water. In fact. contamination. resistance… 21 . commonly dust. You know he’s having an uncomfortable night. and it seems to help for awhile. usually caused by viral upper respiratory infection (also called a cold) or something in the environment. and the • Over-the-counter cough medications should be completely avoided in children under five and are not recommended for deadly international children of any age. For now we’ll focus only on coughs due to colds. It’s midnight and you’ve been asleep for just about an hour when you hear coughing coming from his bedroom. You’ve heard that over-the-counter cough syrups aren’t really safe or effective for kids. but you both need some sleep. problem of antibiotic • Antibiotics do not treat coughs caused by viral infections and are almost always not indicated for coughs due to colds. Other problems such as asthma and reflux can also cause coughs.
1 tablespoon as needed for older children. ½ oz dried mullein leaves ½ oz marsh mallow root ½ oz licorice root ½ oz thyme ½ oz anise seeds ½ oz wild cherry bark ½ oz slippery elm bark 1 quart boiling water To prepare: Combine all the herbs. Strain the liquid into a pot and simmer gently until it is reduced to 1 cup (discard the plant material). store it in a jar in the fridge. glycerin-based tincture is relaxing. Sweeten with 1/2 cup of honey (for children under one year.Herbal Treatments Aunty Aviva’s Cough Syrup Blend This remedy is effective and pleasant for use with children. or two to four times daily for milder or chronic coughs. To use: Give 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to every 30 minutes for 2 hours for acute coughing bouts. add the boiling water. Refrigeration is not necessary. Shake well before each use. omit the honey and replace with maple syrup or sugar to taste). and steep for 2 hours. and 2 tablespoons as needed for adults. 1 oz vegetable glycerin ½ oz anise seed tincture ½ oz cramp bark tincture ½ oz thyme tincture ½ oz elecampane tincture ½ oz red clover blossom tincture ½ oz black cohosh tincture To prepare: Mix all the ingredients in a 4-ounce dark amber bottle. It will store indefinitely. Put 1 ounce of the mixture in a glass jar. Wild Cherry Quiet Cough Formula This sweet-tasting. expectorant. Red Clover 22 . After the syrup cools to room temperature. cover. and antimicrobial for the respiratory passages. Slipper Elm Powder To use: Dosage is 1 teaspoon as needed for children one to three years old. It will keep for up to 2 months.
and severity of the condition labored (fever by itself can cause being treated. herb being used. breathing to be faster than usual.When to See Your Doctor • If your child has wheezing and no Syrups history of asthma • If your child has asthma and wheezing Syrups are sweetened and concentrated. for example. and can help prevent colds from recurring. The dose is generally 1/2 to 1 prescribed medications tablespoon one to six times daily. can prevent what are called secondary infections. pneumonia. but it should not make a child work harder to breathe) • Your child’s lips or mouth are turning blue due to labored breathing or shortness of breath Natural remedies can help relieve cold and flu symptoms faster. 23 . depending on • Your child’s breathing is rapid and age. with no relief from unpalatable one. Children will more readily take a small amount of that is causing him significant a sweet-flavored medicine than any amount of an difficulty breathing. that can occur after viral infections.
young children. Younger children may pull on their ears or may scream or cry suddenly and unexpectedly. older children will generally tell you that they have ear pain. They encourage the production of a lot of mucus in the upper office. Let your child sleep on a slightly filled hot water bottle — if it is overly full it will be too firm to rest on comfortably (do NOT use a heating pad). Occasionally a child can have fluid congestion and mild inflammation that causes hearing difficulties without the other symptoms of ear infection. What Can You Do? Natural treatment of ear infections can provide symptomatic relief without contributing to problems of antibiotic overuse.Earache/Ear Infections Middle ear infections — also called acute otitis media — can be very painful and can make your child fussy and irritable. and teens. 24 . • For very bad ear pain. Approximately 80% of kids with acute otitis media get better without antibiotics! Antibiotics treatment is considered appropriate for babies under 6 months old with known or suspected ear infections. and overtreatment with respiratory system. This will facilitate drainage of ear fluids and stimulate pressure points in the area. Ear infections are the most prevalent complaint that land children in the doctor’s office. a ripe situation for an ear infection. Massage in a downward direction behind the ear on the neck and apply gentle inward pressure in front of the ear toward the cheek (about where sideburns would be). There may be fever. This can lead to congestion antibiotics is a big problem. and overtreatment with antibiotics is a big problem. you can give children’s doses of Tylenol® or ibuprofen. this is called otitis media with effusion. It may be Ear infections are the most uncomfortable to your child so do it a few times a day for short periods. in the chest and ears. • Give firm but gentle massage all around the jaw and head in the area adjacent to the ear. Here are a few practical tips: •A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel (to avoid burning your child) can bring a lot of comfort to a painful ear. prevalent complaint that • Kids who drink a lot of juice and dairy products land children in the doctor’s may get more earaches. Cut back on juice and milk for at least three days after the earache symptoms are gone. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving parents the option of waiting 48-72 hours to see if symptoms resolve on their own before using an antibiotic. and your child’s hearing may be muffled from the fluid in the ears. They are generally caused by viruses (more rarely by bacteria) and can occur in babies. swollen neck glands. and sometimes for children ages 6 months to 2 years with severe infection.
put the drops in a spoon or a glass eyedropper and briefly hold a lit match close to it. 25 . Mullein is an analgesic. They should be stored out of direct light and heat. sold at Whole Foods and other large natural foods stores. NOTE: NEVER PUT ANYTHING INTO THE EAR IF YOU SUSPECT THE EARDRUM HAS RUPTURED OR IF THERE IS ANY DRAINAGE FROM THE EAR. Cover the jar and place in the sunlight for 3 weeks (2 weeks in warm weather). This will keep for up to two years. keeping a warm hot water bottle on the ear. When to See Your Doctor Call your child’s doctor if there is: • Pain that won’t resolve • High fever and persistent ear pain • Drainage from the ear • Neck pain or stiffness Herbal Oils Herbal oils are vegetable oils in which herbs have been infused. If you do not have it ready when needed. This treatment can be repeated 2-3 times a day but may only be necessary once or twice as it is very effective. They are different from essential oils. you can make your own and store in the fridge for up to a year. Add olive oil until the jar is full. Test the oil against the underside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot. Stir with a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon to release air bubbles. Garlic Mullein Oil To prepare: Place 1 whole bulb of finely chopped fresh garlic and 1 oz. good quality Garlic Mullein oil is available from the company HerbPharm. I make a large bottle annually to have on-hand for patients as needed. • Give echinacea tincture to boost the immune system. To use. addressing infections of both a bacterial and viral nature.Herbal Treatments Herbal treatment can work quite well to relieve earache symptoms and reduce ear infection. Have the child rest with the affected ear up for 5-10 minutes. • Chamomile makes an excellent tea to help your child relax during an ear infection. place 3-7 drops of the oil into the affected ear while the child lays on his side with the affected ear upward. • The classic herbal remedy for ear infections is garlicmullein oil. Strain into a clean jar (discard plant material) and store in the refrigerator. Repeat on the other ear if necessary. The oil should be at room temperature or slightly warm. of mullein flowers in a pint-sized jar. After this time let the child roll over and rest on the hot water bottle for as long as this brings comfort. This can be prepared easily at home. To warm it. relieving the pain associated with earaches. Garlic is a natural antimicrobial.
Pink eye is not dangerous. causing a frequent urge to rub them. sometimes “gluing” them shut. and is highly contagious. Allergic conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes starting at the same time and there is clear watery discharge. Note: HIV infection and hepatitis can be transmitted through breast milk. It is therefore best not to use breast milk other than your own. What Can You Do? • Encourage the child not to rub his eyes. Symptoms include itchy. irritated eyes that may have a watery or sticky. can be persistent and often recurs. even through the eyes. especially in the morning.Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) What is Pink Eye? Pink eye is a highly contagious infection that affects the conjunctiva. •B reast milk is rich in antibodies that reduce many infections. yellow-green discharge that crusts over the eyelids. 26 . This will cut down on the inflammation. though it can also commonly bacterial. the inner lining of the eyelids and the outer lining of the eyeballs. as it is inevitable that the child will occasionally touch his eyes. If you are still lactating. • Insist on frequent hand washing to prevent the infection from spreading to other family members (adults are not immune). don’t share pillows until after the infection is gone. Wash towels and pillowcases daily. but it is very uncomfortable. There can also be a feeling that there is sand irritating the eyes. Similarly. •E ach family member with pink eye should have his or her own personal towel to avoid spreading the infection around to everyone. a halfteaspoon of your milk can be placed in the infected eyes of a child of any age. It is generally a viral infection. Repeat four times each day.
or a cloth (use a clean piece each time). tilt the child’s head back or have her lie on your lap and squeeze a few drops into the inner corner of the affected eye. To apply to the eyes. and Goldenseal Wash In a teacup steep 1 tsp each of chamomile and eyebright herbs. but because reinfection is so high. When to See Your Doctor Pink eye is rarely serious. gauze. The excess liquid can be patted dry with tissue paper. Soak a cotton ball in the tea. Let the herbs steep for 15 minutes then strain very thoroughly. Do not place anything that has touched the eyes back into your remedy and discard the cotton balls after each use. Let the liquid run outward toward the ear rather than toward the other eye to prevent the infection from contaminating the other eye. protect clothing and furniture from the goldenseal which leaves a yellow stain. for example.Herbal Treatments A very simply and effective treatment for conjunctivitis can be prepared easily at home: Chamomile. Eyebright. the eye drainage gets worse even with treatment • Your child has swelling around the eyes or pain with eye movement • Your child has a new onset of vision problems 27 . When applying. adding ¼ teaspoon of goldenseal powder if the eye discharge is thick and yellow or greenish. Eyebright Conjunctivitis symptoms usually start to improve within about 24 hours of treatment. continue to treat twice daily for one week after symptoms have resolved. Repeat 4 times daily. Call your child’s doctor if: • There is no improvement in symptoms after several days of treatment • Symptoms get worse.
Enjoy your parenting journey! 28 . Forest and Naomi Romm harvesting St. harmful at worst. realizing that many commonly used medications are ineffective at best. and preventing and treating common illnesses. Johns wort flowers for earache oil. and vitamins can play an important role in promoting health. minerals.Parents are seeking natural alternatives and even physicians are starting to turn to natural approaches for kid’s health. and that many herbs.
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