Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Sick Room

She wakes up with a fever and a sore throat.
 She gives me the look that reminds me of how little she still is and I put the things on my to-do-list away for the day, realizing that if they all get sick it might be a while before I can pick it up again. Sure enough before the hour ends two more are sick.  I make my bed and room as comfortable as possible. I love the beauty of the 'sick room' with the sun shining down on all of them. I think it's so important to keep the room pleasant and clutter free. I have to clean it several times during the day because of the clutter they bring in to occupy the time of laying around.

I think it's so important to keep them warm when they're sick so that their bodies can fight the sickness and not add keeping warm to it's list. So I put my prettiest blanket over them and start the humidifier with some peppermint oil. I encourage them to rest and nap, telling them how hard their bodies are working right now. I put on our country hymns and just let the healing begin.
I  think in our over busy-ness we treat fevers so we can quickly get back to our to-do-list. 
I try not to rush the healing. Sometimes, our kids are just getting over one virus and we rush back to the race and they get something else and their bodies have to work twice as hard to recover from another virus.

I don't give ibuprofen for fevers unless it's over 102 or so
 God designed our bodies to get a fever to fight off the virus or infection and to slow us down.  So when we lower fevers our bodies can't work as well and it ends up working harder. I get nervous with fever though and I have friends who have special needs children who might have seizures and such if their fevers get too high, so I believe it's important to read up on things. 

Dr. Frank Lipman wrote

4 Reasons to Let a Fever Run Its Course

These are the reasons I don’t usually give medication when my kids have fevers:
  1. Medicine masks symptoms. When kids are feverish, they usually lie still, eat very little, and take frequent naps. When we treat a fever, the child feels better and will often run around, play, and eat. While of course it always heartens me to see my sons feeling better, intuition tells me that they should rest more and move about less while fighting a virus. Perhaps our bodies even know that digestion requires lots of energy, and the appetite is suppressed in an effort to conserve resources.  Moreover, if we artificially lower the fever, how can we know when a child can return to school? I recently was at the playground with a mother who said her daughter was “so sick an hour ago, but after Tylenol she wanted to come outside to play!” As this little girl coughed all over my son, I wished this mom had skipped the Tylenol, or at least kept the child inside after the medication took effect.
  2. No medication is without side effects. I worry about the long-term consequences of frequent doses of children’s pain and fever medication. Recalls have made parents skittish, and some studies suggest a possible link between acetaminophen and autismasthma, and—when taken during pregnancy–ADHD. In addition, these medications—whether in liquid or chewable candy form—are full of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives, ingredients that I try to avoid giving my children even when they are feeling well.
  3. The fever helps the body heal. As I’ve already said, I think fevers are great for forcing otherwise active kids to rest when they need it most. But it seems a fever’s role in fighting illness is even more direct: evidence shows that fever is beneficial to the healing process, triggering the immune response and preventing viruses and bacteria from replicating. One study showed that flu sufferers who suppressed their fevers with medications were sick for more than three days longer than those who took no medication.
  4. Fever reducers contribute to the spread of flu. Many well-meaning parents administer medication and then take their less symptomatic—but still highly contagious–kids out to public places, where they no doubt infect others. Moreover, recent studies suggest that artificially lowering a fever in flu patients increases viral shedding, meaning more flu is spread via infected coughs and sneezes. Researchers posit that in an average flu season, fever-reducing medications could lead to tens of thousands of extra flu cases, and at least a thousand flu deaths in North America alone.

When to Treat Fevers

Despite these very good reasons for letting a fever run its course, I do sometimes give my kids ibuprofen (for the reasons listed above, I no longer use acetaminophen).
If my son is feverish and can do little more than whimper, or if his throat or ears are so painful that he cannot swallow without crying out, I give them the lowest effective dose of Children’s Motrin.
Beyond the obvious goal of reducing my your child’s suffering (and of course your own), you might consider a fever-reducing medication to:
  1. Get some rest. If my child is too uncomfortable to sleep more than a few minutes at a stretch, I give him a fever-reducer so that we all can rest, which is of course crucial when fighting a nasty virus.
  2. Make sure it’s just a minor illness. If a fever lingers for more than a couple of days and I’m starting to worry that my son is really sick, my husband sometimes suggests giving some Motrin to see if his mood and behavior improves. It seems my kid always end up running around, playing, and eating after a dose, and we are assured that the distress was likely caused by the fever and not something more sinister. (Of course, I am not a doctor, and you should talk to your pediatrician if you think your kid has something more than a minor virus, even if they seem to feel better when their fever goes down.)

I Love Motrin!

The evening after I wrote this post, my one-year-old woke up screaming with what I can only assume was an earache, based on the thick nasal congestion that’s been lingering for weeks.
He didn’t have a fever and was in such obvious discomfort that I gave him a teaspoon of liquid Children’s Motrin—his first dose ever!
While I know my mother would have baked an onion for his ear and rocked him all night if he were her child, I found myself feeling less guilty than grateful—grateful that my baby’s pain can be eased by modern medicine, artificial colors and all.

We have to do what's best for our family but we also have to do some research.

  I keep my kids on Vit D but I up the amount when they're sick.
I usually give 400-500 a day
but when they're sick I give 500 2xdaily especially during the winter months when they're not outside in the sun as much.

One Doctor wrote:
Our bodies don’t make vitamin D, so we have to get it from our environment. The primary source of vitamin D is the sun, but we can also get it from some foods.
Lifestyle, race, age, and other factors can put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. If you fit any of the following descriptions, you may need to consider getting more of the vitamin.
You shun the sun. The sun is the primary cause of premature aging on the skin, and it can also increase risk of skin cancer. It’s no surprise, then, that a lot of people try to stay out of it. We’ve all been advised to use sunscreen on a daily basis. While avoiding UV rays can help keep skin healthy and looking young, it can also deprive us of the primary source of vitamin D.
You live in northern latitudes. Those who live in the northern states (north of the 37th parallel) are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency, because of the angle of the sunlight in the winter months. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition concluded that it’s common for people in the northern half of the U.S. and Canada to have insufficient vitamin D in their blood. In the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, researchers also discussed the challenges of vitamin D deficiency in those living in northern latitudes. They determined people in northern latitudes should consider vitamin D supplements in winter months.
You eat a vegan diet. Few foods are good natural sources of vitamin D. The best options are animal foods, such as fatty fish and fish liver oils. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks also contain small amounts. If you eat a vegan diet, you’re not consuming these foods, so you may be at greater risk of deficiency. You can eat fortified foods, such as cereals and orange juice, but these may not supply enough on a daily basis.
You have dark skin. The more melanin you have in your skin, the darker it is. Melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D from the sun. One study found that African Americans were more at risk of vitamin D deficiency than other Americans. The researchers noted that pigmentation reduces vitamin D production in the skin.
When I started my journey with a natural MD my vit D level was in the 20's even though I was outside a lot on the farm.
For the past 7 years I've been able to keep my level around the 
75 mark. This is one area Dr. Bernui checks twice a year.This is a big marker for him so it became important to me for our children.

I even put a drop in Isabella's bottles. 
I encourage you to read up on Vit D and do your own research.

 I generally treat ear infections with olive oil and garlic drops. 

Wellness mama has a whole blog on the subject of natural treatments:
Traditional Garlic Olive Oil is a remedy that has been used for dozens, if not hundreds of years for ear infections. Unlike many other conventional remedies, garlic can work with the body and provide relief quickly with long-lasting results.
Antibiotics are often prescribed for ear infections, even though the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has not recommended this as a general practice since 2004. Many ear infections are caused by viruses, which are unaffected by antibiotics.
Thousands of children unnecessarily get antibiotics each year for ear infections when the antibiotics are not even effective for most infections. This has potential long-lasting side effects as antibiotics can permanently alter gut bacteria and many types of bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant due to overuse of these drugs.
Additionally, research has shown that most children fight an ear infection on their own within 24-72 hours without the need for antibiotics or other intervention.
That said, just hearing that your child will be better in 1-3 days is not comforting to a mother who is holding her toddler as he or she screams from the pain of an aching ear. Fortunately, there are remedies, like this garlic ear oil, that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to ease the pain of ear infection and speed the healing process.
Why it Works:
Garlic is powerful on its own and olive oil is soothing to infection as well. Olive oil is often used as the base for healing salves and lotions because it contains potent polyphenols which reduce inflammation. Together, garlic and olive oil can help ease the pain of ear infection and reduce healing time.
Important Note:
This remedy is very effective, but it is important to make sure that the ear drum has not ruptured before using this or any other remedy in the ear. I have this Dr. Mom Otoscope on hand to check my child’s eardrum before using any remedy inside the ear canal. Typically, pain subsides if the ear drum bursts so the presence of pain can indicate that the ear drum is still intact, but I always like to check.
If one of my children does ever experience a ruptured eardrum, I would definitely get him or her checked my a doctor, though often not much can be done besides keeping the ear dry and letting it heal naturally.

How to Make Garlic Olive Oil for Ears

I’m grateful that ear infections are very rare in our family, but if one strikes, I immediately head to the kitchen to make this remedy…
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic (organic if possible), minced
  • 2 tablespoons of high quality olive oil or sesame oil
  1. There are two ways this remedy can be made, depending on how much time you have and your preference for heating olive oil or not.
  2. The fastest way is to heat the olive oil in a small pan or double boiler (preferred) and add the minced garlic. Then, keep on very low heat for about 20 minutes to let the beneficial properties of the garlic infuse into the oil. At this point, strain the garlic and remove. I let the garlic cool to just skin temperature and place about two drops in the ear. The warmth and the oil often offer fast relief. Since fresh garlic is used, I make a new batch of this mixture every 24 hours if needed rather than keeping the remaining oil, since bacteria can potentially grow from the garlic.
  3. If you prefer not to heat garlic, you can accomplish the same thing by mincing raw garlic and keeping in olive oil without heating for 2-3 hours before straining and using, though this option is not as helpful if you need immediate relief.
 It's so hard to decide to do these things when you have a crying child so do your research before anyone gets sick and have the things you need on hand so you can quickly make the drops or the soup. You don't want to be having to rush out when they get sick.
Find out the things you think you can do and 
 print off all the articles that show how to make certain things for ear pain and fevers and have them in a binder for quick reference.

By the next day fevers are gone but I still make them rest for another 24 hours or so. Giving them plenty of fluids and soups. This would be hard with a toddler but keeping them busy without exposing them to other virus is a win.  

I lay in bed with our sick ones and we watch a whole series of When Calls The Heart..We laugh and I do my best to encourage them and make it a place of healing, and hope that they will feel better in a day or two.
Teaching my daughters/sons to care for themselves and to care for others so when they have a sick room of their own one day they will know the sick room is a wonderful opportunity to serve.

Wishing you health from the Farm,


Renata said...

Dear Robin
You are such a good Mama & you inspire me in my mothering! I am now going to check out the wellness mama blog you mentioned as I prefer to use natural remedies before resorting to medicines. I love the way you describe your sick room & it made me smile as my children always want to be in our bed when they are sick too!

Congratulations on your sweet Isabella. I loved reading her adoption story & I have loved looking at your pictures of her over Instagram ( I do check on your feed regularly for my baby fix!!! ). We were offered a baby through foster care the same week you got Isabella, but because of the long distance for contact with the mother 3 times a week, we couldn't commit (it about broke my heart though). I always think of that little one when I look at your Isabella. She reminds me to pray for him & his mother.

Thank you for all you share. You are a blessing in my life (even across the ocean!)!
May God bless you & your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Robin, Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!! Overflowing with rejoicing for your precious baby girl, Isabella!!! God's beautiful grace is all over this! What precious memories to have with her birth family! I am so thankful for you and your family. For your precious blog that never ceases to refresh and remind of what matters most! Tons of love to y'all! Jen Key

maureen said...

What perfect timing! Two of my children are sick this weekend and I have become so tired going back and forth to them all day. I am actually excited to prepare my bed for them and welcome them both into our "sick room". What a sweet way to show your family love and service. Thank you for the reminder!!

shouab said...

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