When you or your child are sick the last thing you want to do is to prolong the symptoms, I know. Over the counter cold medicine seems like the quickest way to get relief, so many people turn to pain relievers, decongestants, and cough syrups. In the short term, it might seem like it helps but in reality, it is just temporarily masking the symptoms and actually working against the body’s ability to heal itself.
A common medication used with children and adults is a decongestant to dry up all of the extra mucus. First, let’s look at why the mucus is there. When you become ill there is a build-up of toxins in the body that need to come out. The body creates more mucus in the nasal passages to help clear out those toxins. It becomes a vehicle to carry the garbage out of your body. If we use medications to dry up the mucus we are doing our body a disservice by keeping the toxins and germs inside our body with no way to get out. This alone will make any cold or flu stick around longer then it would have without the medicine.
As an alternative to decongestants, a great way to clear mucus is steam. A warm steam bath helps to loosen mucus and help drain it out faster to help you breathe. Essential oils are a great way to help clear congestion as well. Essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus can be diffused or used in a chest rub to open up chest congestion.
Fever is part of the body’s way of burning off germs and viruses in the body that are causing illness. Fever reducers also inhibit the body’s natural process of detoxifying and healing in children and adults. Although, if you have a young infant that gets a fever you should call your pediatrician or visit the emergency room. Older children and adults that have a fever should let it run its course to help burn off the toxins. It’s important to rest, stay hydrated, and stay bundled up at night. Baths with Epsom salt can help to sweat out a fever and many parents use the wet sock treatment with children at night to lower a high fever.
What to do When You or Your Child is Sick
You may be thinking, if I can’t use over the counter medications then what can I do. Some of the methods I have mentioned above are great alternatives to over the counter medications. These methods help the body to heal instead of slow the healing and detoxifying process.
In general, when you or your child is sick its time to slow down, rest, eat less food, drink warm broths, stay hydrated, and sleep. Hydration is important but remember to drink water and tea, not fruit juice or soda. Sugary drinks like fruit juice and soda are even more important to stay away from while your child is sick. Sugar feeds infections and will slow down healing so you want to keep sugar to a minimum while illness is present. Read more about Holistic Cold Remedies in this blog post.
Have you given up over the counter medications? What alternative methods have worked for you?