Mom’s Tips for the Sick Season

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We just had a run with some sort of stomach bug. Thankfully, it was of the quick variety. 12 hours and done.

Unfortunately, it was of the violent kind. I was up with kids every half hour through the night.

My brain is tired, and since I don’t have any deep theological thoughts right now – I thought I’d just share all the practical tips I’ve been revisiting in the last few days.

Disclaimer: I’ll talk about essential oils a bit in this post. I do not sell essential oils, I’m not an aromatherapist, I do not have any qualifications or certifications. These are simply *my* tips and strategies as a mom. Please be careful when using essential oils, and speak to someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

My favorite essential oil consultants:

Melody Lyons, of The Essential Mother. She is very knowledgeable about essential oils – the science, the safety, how to use it with kids. She sells DoTerra.

Caitlyn Anderson. She got me started with essential oils, by convincing me to use lavender to combat my eczema. Caitlyn sells Young Living.

Additional Disclaimer: I’m neither a doctor or a health care provider. I have no medical or scientific qualifications. These are simply my own personal tips for dealing with illness in our house. If they are helpful to you, that’s great! If not, please ignore them. And, as always, check with a doctor before implementing any health strategies.

Now, down to business!

Tips for Vomiting

1. I do not make my kids finish their dinners.

I’m pretty consistent with this routine throughout the flu season. I’ve found that my kids usually have the intuition to stop eating before they realize and can vocalize they’re sick.

So I try to respect their self-awareness, and if they’re just not feeling like eating a lot, or a certain food is not sitting right with them, I trust their gut.

I’d rather be a little bit of a softy than end up with a stomach full of heavy food being regurgitated in the middle of the night.

2. Puking pads.

Kids are not the greatest about anticipating the need to vomit. Or getting to the toilet on time.

If I have any kind of suspicion that there might be a stomach bug floating around, I put absorbent bed pads in their beds.

It’s so much easier to swap out a bed pad, than to change sheets in the middle of the night.

I also make sure we have plenty of puking buckets on hand. (p.s. we use these bins for practically everything – shoes, socks, water table – but hardly ever just for storing toys!)

3. Tea for tummies

My kids like sleepytime tea and apple cinnamon.

These seem to settle better than water in their tummies. When I make them sleepytime tea, I sometimes add a drop of chamomile essential oil.

When I make apple cinnamon tea, I add a drop of immunity blend essential oil such as On Guard from DoTerra or Plague Defense from Hopewell. They have a hint of cinnamon that blends nicely with the tea.

4. Essential Oils

When the first sign of a stomach bug hits, it’s time to get aggressive with essential oils.

I run the diffusers throughout the house with an immunity blend essential oil such as On Guard from DoTerra or Plague Defense from Hopewell.

These same oils can be used in a diluted mix in roller bottles – applied to the body: on feet, or on backs.

I also love DigestZen from DoTerra. When I get that sour feeling in my stomach, I sip a glass of water with one drop of DigestZen. So far, it has been immensely helpful in settling my stomach.

My children also drink this – but please be cautious with giving your children essential oils this way. Research each oil, and discern your kids’ needs. You can also dilute in a carrier oil and rub it on your kids’ tummy.

The DigestZen has a pretty strong anise taste, so we often follow up with a drop of lemon essential oil in a glass of water, to neutralize the bite, and further settle the stomach.

Tips for a Fever

1. Monitor it closely

Here’s my favorite thermometer for kids: Braun forehead thermometer. My kids love the color coded display to help them understand just “how sick” they are.

We keep close tabs on their fevers, including how high it spikes when they’re sleeping, and how quickly it goes back down when they wake up.

2. I don’t medicate a fever right away.

I’m not a doctor, so please follow your doctor’s advice first when it comes to treating a fever.

But, personally, I do not medicate my kids’ fevers right away. I have found that it is helpful to let the fever do its work in chasing away the illness.

However, if the fever gets a little too high and begins to make me nervous, I’ll start by trying to soothe it with natural methods.

We start with lukewarm baths or cool washcloths.

We also do rub downs with Aloe vera gel, and a drop each of peppermint and chamomile essential oil.

Please be cautious with peppermint with children.

As a last resort, I will use Tylenol or Motrin – but I like to try other things first!

Tips for a Sore Throat:

1. Elderberry

If you’re cool, you probably make your own elderberry syrup.

If you’re like me, you may want to stock up on elderberry gummies or elderberry cough syrup.

When the sick season comes, we take elderberry supplements daily. And then when an illness hits our household, we double up.

2. Tea for throats.

My kids like sleepytime tea and apple cinnamon.

When I make my kids tea for their sore throats, I like to add some honey to it.

When I make them sleepytime tea, I sometimes add a drop of chamomile essential oil.

When I make apple cinnamon tea, I add a drop of immunity blend essential oil such as On Guard from DoTerra or Plague Defense from Hopewell. They have a hint of cinnamon that blends nicely with the tea.

3. Start gargling.

My kids love when they get to gargle warm salt water for their throats.

For my older kids, I add a drop of oregano essential oil to a 4 oz glass of salt water.

Please be super duper careful about this. Oregano is a very hot oil, and can burn. I only do this with my kids who are very good at gargling, and I’m confident they won’t swallow it. And if you accidentally add more than one drop – dump it and start over. In fact, if you’re new to this, start with a bigger batch of warm salt water with one drop of oregano, and pour a little bit into each person’s glass to help distribute smaller amounts of the oil to each individual.

Oregano can help stave off things like strep throat.

Then, we follow up with a drink of cool water with a drop of lemon essential oil.

Tips for a Migraine

We are a family full of migraine sufferers. We have a lot of experience with trying to prevent or calm down migraines.

Unfortunately, many of us often get a migraine accompanying any other illness.

Here are some tips that may help – although, ultimately, migraines are so hard to deal with, and everyone responds differently.

1. Drink water and get some rest.

This is really the first step to treating any oncoming migraine.

Are you dehydrated or overtired? Take care of your overall health on a regular basis to prevent migraines.

2. Try cold (or very hot) compresses.

My husband likes a cool washcloth on his forehead for a migraine.

I like a very hot compress – so hot, I can just barely stand it on my skin. It does wonders for improving the blood flow and helping that throbbing pain dissipate.

If one doesn’t work for you, try the other.

3. Essential Oils

We like to sniff peppermint essential oil to help with migraines. Take a deep breath, hold it in and count to 10, and let it out.

You can also rub peppermint in a carrier oil on your temples or the back of your neck.

When the migraines are really bad (ex: they last for days), we also use birch essential oil. This oil is not safe for children. It has the same component as aspirin. But it’s good for mom (not pregnant / breastfeeding) and dad, when we have been many sleepless nights due to sickness in the house, and we need to try to avoid a migraine that will lay us out for days! Our preferred method is to inhale birch, hold our breath, and let it out. Please research this oil before using it.

4. Try magnesium before medication

We do this for ourselves as well as for our kids. A Magnesium supplement is the first medication we take when we feel a potential migraine coming on.

We discussed this option with our doctor for our migraine prone kids. I recommend you ask your doctor before giving this to your children.

Sometimes, our natural remedies don’t help, and we end up taking Tylenol, Advil, or even Excedrin. When it comes to migraines, I’ve even had prescription medications. Trust your doctor’s advice.

General Tips

Every family has different needs and different susceptibilities.

Be diligent about preventing illness. But (even in a generally healthy family), we need to understand that we live in a fallen world – and illness is a part of our human life.

If your family chooses to stay home throughout the winter, to avoid these things as much as possible – that’s okay! Be at peace with your choice. And don’t resent the things you’re not doing, because you’re doing what you discerned is right for your family.

However, you will have at least some contact with the world – even if it’s just your spouse bringing home germs from work, or entering the grocery store.

You cannot 100% protect your kids and your family from every common cold or every stomach bug. Trying to do so will only increase your anxiety.

Further, if your family chooses to continue going to playdates, having friends over, taking field trips (or – your kids may be in school, and you can’t avoid the exposure), you will inevitably run into various stomach bugs and other winter illnesses.

Be at peace. Your children will catch illnesses when they are in contact with other people. Be prepared to handle it with love and patience, and understanding of the fallen world we live in.

Trust in God, do your best to manage the symptoms, and see a doctor when you need to!


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great post

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