My baby got sick over Christmas. Sure, we made it until almost two years before any sort of real sickness, but it finally caught up with us. Through a series of events, we ended up in urgent care a few days before Christmas with an ear infection, very high fevers, upper respiratory virus, probable viral bronchitis, sore throat, and phlegmy cough. Being a natural mama, I’ve always preferred the idea of using natural remedies to support the body and immune system through something like this, and letting fevers do their job in fighting the infection instead of suppressing them. We were already using elderberry, garlic oil, herbs, and vitamin C. Except, this time around, I had to do something more. She was miserable, becoming inconsolable at times and lethargic at others, starting to refuse to eat or drink, and her oxygen saturation was getting low. So, I had to do something; that was my decision. And, I found I didn’t know as much I would like to know about natural medicines. We decided we had to treat the fever and the ear infection, and I don’t regret the decision.
I understand there may have been a better way to go about all of this, and maybe someday I will have more experience, but I did the best I could for her with the situation I was in. And that’s all you need to make a good mom right? But, I don’t discount that using any type of conventional medication comes with risks of its own, risks I was willing to accept, but still risks that should not be taken lightly. Here’s what I did and am currently doing to support her body nutritionally, enhance detoxification, and promote gut health through the use of medicines:
And just a reminder, I’m no doctor, just a mom. This isn’t medical advice, this is what I did for my toddler.
Use only when certain there is bacterial involvement
Antibiotics don’t treat viruses. Period.
Increase probiotic dose
To help offset the gut bacteria alterations that occur during the treatment with antibiotics.
Finish the dose of antibiotics
If you commit to an antibiotic treatment, finish it out. To stop when the symptoms go away not only does not fully treat the infection, it could contribute to antibiotic resistance and very hard to treat infections in the future.
Use diaper rash cream before needed
Antibiotics can cause the worst, acidic diarrhea, which you are hoping to avoid by using probiotics (we did). But just in case, use your thickest diaper cream before it happens, in order to protect the skin before it gets burned.
Ibuprofen (or Motrin):
Use the dye free version
There is enough in there for the body to handle without adding in red dye.
Use as first resort over tylenol
I’m very uncomfortable with tylenol use, as it has potentially been linked with an increased risk of asthma or autism (1), and I will chose ibuprofen over tylenol every time.
Give vitamin C, cod liver oil, multivitamin
To support any nutrient depletion that may be occuring, I am watching to increase intake of Vitamins C, D, and A, omega-3 fatty acids, and of course a good quality multi-vitamin.
Push high quality fluids
To help the body detoxify, process the drugs, and flush the kidneys. We used coconut water and plain water.
Use as minimally as possible and only if absolutely needed
Any use of an NSAID (ibuprofen included) could potentially be hard on the kidneys, and therefore should only be used properly dosed as minimally as possible (3).
Acetaminophen (or Tylenol):
Absolute last resort for pain or fever
Again, as there is a possible link to asthma and autism (1), this is a last, last resort for me. Use only as completely necessary for pain or fever if ibuprofen isn’t enough.
Again, give vitamin C, cod liver oil, a multivitamin and push fluids
Also use dye free
To support the body’s nutrient supply and natural detoxification with leafy greens and spirulina.
Fresh fruits and veggies
To replenish nutrients and fluids.
Replace glutathione especially if tylenol was used
Tylenol decreases glutathione, the body’s detoxifier. This is even worse if you have a MTHFR polymorphism, which already inhibits the detoxification process. Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables, Vitamins C and E, and B vitamins. You can get these from the more toddler friendly broccoli, leafy greens, grass fed beef, lentils, avocadoes, beets, almonds, and oranges (2). For more specific recommendations on boosting glutathione naturally read THIS POST.
Don’t feel guilty
You do what you have to as a mother; make your choice and do the best you can.
Learn from the experience
Realize what your limitations are, what you don’t know, how you would’ve wanted it to go differently, and what you want to learn for next time. For me, it’s more on learning to lower a fever using homeopathy as well as how to handle sore throat and other pain using remedies other than pain killers.
Now, you might be wondering why a natural mama is writing about taking medications on a natural living blog. Well, in the spirit of being naturally free, we have to accept that sometimes these things happen, sometimes we have to use medicines, and sometimes we don’t know what else to do. We have to help our babies in the best way we can at the time, because, “you should never ever use [fill in the blank]” is no longer applicable to me when my child is about to be hospitalized because her fever is slowing her breathing so much. But, it’s important to still know the risks that are being taken and how to come out on the other side as healthy as possible.
I’m certainly not advocating the use of these medicines, but I am accepting the reality that sometimes we do use them, and there are ways to support the body through it. I’m ready to learn more about how I can do it differently next time, and I’m moving on! And guess what, my baby is just going to be all right, because we’re doing everything we can to keep her as healthy as possible!
How do you feel about this? Have you ever had to use medication? Or, if you are more experienced, share with me your favorite remedies!