I Don’t Hate It When My Kids Get Sick

You want to hear something funny? I started this entry last Winter but then I got the flu and never finished it. Oh, the irony. It took awhile to get back in the swing of things {mom of 3 littles in bed for a few days equals 2+ weeks of catch up} and it got lost at the bottom of the pile of priorities.

Despite the setback, the great part about getting the flu last year – can there be a great part? – was that it was furious but very fast. It lasted for about 3 days while each of my kids got a touch of it for only about 12 hours! I was thrilled. Thrilled, you say?! Yes, I was quite pleased. Furthermore, I would actually be much more concerned if we never got sick at all.

This is because when we run a fever, it’s clear evidence of a healthy immune system. And when we run a fever but it doesn’t last long, it’s clear evidence that our immune systems are healthy and running well.

There are 3 major components of our immune system: white blood cells, B cells and T cells. The white blood cells kill bacteria, the B cells make antibodies that remove viruses and bacteria and the T cells kill virus-infected cells. They are known to work more efficiently at higher temperatures which is why we heat up when we get sick.

The increased temperature is our body fighting back! When we take a fever-reducing medication to lower our temperature, we’re disabling those cells that are working so hard to destroy the root of the problem. They’re also being trained not to react so swiftly the next time this happens.

Besides not wanting to inhibit the immune systems of my family, there are other reasons I prefer to avoid products like Tylenol and Motrin.

-No medicine is without a potential side effect. There are all sorts of studies suggesting that there may be a link between acetaminophen and asthma, autism and/or ADHD.

-Just like many OTCs and prescriptions, they get recalled fairly regularly. Less than 2 weeks ago, there was a recall of infant ibuprofen after a discovery that some bottles contained higher doses of the medicine than was labeled.

-They’re filled with artificial sweeteners, food dyes and flavors that I wouldn’t give to my children even if they weren’t sick.

-When a fever is artificially reduced, there’s no way to know when the child is fully recovered. They could be feeling well and appearing normal so the parents may send them to school or take them to a store. Meanwhile, the virus is still active and the child is still contagious but the symptoms are being masked by the medication.

While we’re here, I want to note that you shouldn’t give aspirin to anyone under 18, since it has been linked in some cases to Reye’s syndrome. Also, vaccines and acetaminophen do not mix! I’m all over the place in this post but don’t want to miss anything important.

Ok, back to our topic at hand. This study by the American Academy of Pediatrics will shed some more light on whether or not it’s wise to reduce a fever. It said that as many as 1/3 of sick visits to pediatricians are for symptoms of a fever.

“Many parents administer antipyretics even though there is either minimal or no fever. Approximately one-half of parents consider a temperature of less than 38°C (100.4°F) to be a fever, and 25% of caregivers would give antipyretics for temperatures of less than 37.8°C (100°F). Furthermore, 85% of parents reported awakening their child from sleep to give antipyretics. Unfortunately, as many as one-half of parents administer incorrect doses of antipyretics; approximately 15% of parents give supratherapeutic doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.”

What is a supratherapeutic dose? Too much! Loving, well-meaning, smart parents are administering doses based on height or age rather than weight and it’s dangerous. Not to mention, it’s unnecessary. And why are we waking sleeping children? Sleep is the time when the body heals! Muscles, cells, tissues, all of it. We need sleep as much as we need water.

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But pay attention now. I’m not saying there aren’t situations where a trip to a professional is necessary. A baby under the age of 3 months that is running a temperature of 100.4 or higher should be seen by a professional. In older children, it’s more about the whole picture and less about the temperature. Dehydration, headache and neck pain (which could be very serious), difficulty breathing or abdominal pain would be a few scenarios that would warrant a doctor.

For example, my 5 year old’s appendix ruptured in September. When we arrived at the hospital, he received his first ever dose of Tylenol. There is a time and a place and you will most likely know it when you encounter it.

So what do I do when my children run a fever? Don’t worry. I’m not leaving them alone with a water bottle to sweat it out! I absolutely let their immune system do its thing and run its course. But you better believe I’ll be working to give it a boost and support it while it’s hard at work.

First, if they’re old enough to tell me, I ask if they’re feeling hot or cold and adjust pajamas, house heat and blankets accordingly. Comfort is important because they won’t be able to sleep if they’re too uncomfortable and sleep is paramount when sickness hits.

The next step is increasing the liquids because now they’re going to be sweating much more and dehydration is serious. We reach for water, of course, and Ningxia Red which is a superfood drink made by Young Living. It is the number one antioxidant product on the market today which is why my entire family drinks it daily. We double our dose when issues arise.

Then I dilute an immune boosting blend of essential oils called Thieves and rub it on their spine or bottoms of their feet followed by some socks. The goal is to put it somewhere that they can’t touch to reduce the risk of getting it on their hand and then in their eye. Go Google the story of the Thieves and how the oil got its name. That will help you understand why we apply it topically, diffuse it and why my husband and I ingest Thieves Vitality all winter long.

When they’re hungry they’re offered real food. No gluten, refined sugar, or dairy. They can have fruit, raw veggies, soup and the like. You’re not doing your kids any favors with the Gatorade, either. Just speaking the truth in love over here and I’ll tackle that in another post if I get enough responses.

And now I’ve saved the best for last. The biggest trick up my sleeve is diluting and applying Peppermint oil on the bottoms of their feet. What does this do? It naturally provides a cooling sensation to the body. Think about if you’re chewing a piece of peppermint gum and then you drink water. It feels as though your water is full of ice cubes but it isn’t. That’s the power of menthol. In my experience, it helps to make them comfortable without compromising the benefits of the increased temperature.

Keep in mind that all oils are NOT created equal. If I didn’t have Young Living, I would not be using essential oils at all. If you want to know more about this, you can read about their Seed to Seal program, join one of my online 101 classes, or browse my website. I’m happy to help.

As always, I am not a doctor, nurse or medical professional and do not play one on the internet. I am sharing my experiences, some opinions and many facts but I am not intending to make any recommendations. Check with your doctor or a medical professional if you’re unsure.

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