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 Naturopathic Medicine: Keep Your Kids Healthy This Season  
Lauri Aesoph M. ND ©

Herbs also work well for sick children. Echinacea and goldenseal are good antimicrobial, immune stimulating botanicals to use, and a regular dose of vitamin C throughout day also helps. Stay away from alcohol-based tinctures with children, or other medicines containing alcohol such as over-the-counter cough syrup.

If your child is old enough and able to swallow capsules, you're home free. Most herbs are available in pill form. However, if you need to administer the herbs or vitamin C in powder or liquid form, your child may balk at the taste. If you can't find a children's version of the supplement you need, mask its flavor by mixing it up in your child's food or in a glass of fruit juice. Try disguising the herb or vitamin with unsweetened jam or glycerine.

Don't worry if your child refuses the medicine you offer him (my son often did). There are other ways to combat a cold or flu. Eucalyptus oil either in a vaporizer or hot bath helps open the lung passages and ease breathing. A hot bath will also help your child sleep. A sore throat may disappear by gargling with a solution of warm water, salt and zinc, as either a crushed up tablet or powder from a capsule. If your child is able, be persistent with the zinc gargling treatment, having your child do it as often as possible. The zinc helps kill viruses residing in the throat.

Steamy drinks served in a special mug while nestled under the covers is a favorite memory of mine when sick as a child. Hot water spiked with honey and lemon is an old fashioned, yet effective cough suppressing beverage. You can serve medicinal herbs in the form of a tea, steeping a tablespoon of the dried plant in a cup of hot water for five to 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey if needed. Chamomile as a tea or homeopathic remedy is soothing and restful for a cranky child.

Sleep, your loving hand and help from Mother Nature's medicine chest will all speed your child along the road to recovery. Better yet, teach your children healthy habits to prevent them from getting sick. This winter, make the common cold and flu a rarity in your home.


When illness is lurking around the corner, here are a few situations to be aware of and prepare for.
School and Daycare. Being around so many other children increases your child's chances of infection. Decrease contagion by boosting your child's health with good food, exercise and lots of sleep.

Holidays. Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving are fun, but stressful too -- good stress, we call it. Monitor your child during these times. It's easy for children to overdo it and stay up late not to mention indulging in all the sweet goodies there are to eat.

Stuck Indoors. Depending on where you live, winter time often means staying inside more. Try to keep your child physically active with indoor games, swimming at the local recreation center and participating in winter sports. Weather permitting, encourage your child to go outside for at least 15 minutes per day.

Family Members Sick. Like school and daycare, sick family members can increase your child's chances of catching something. Unlike schoolmates, family members are more intimate sharing dishes, towels and are physically closer. Keep yourself well so your child stays well too.

Recovering Child. If your child has just recuperated from a cold, flu or other illness, maintain your vigil. Keep an eye on his diet and activities for at least two weeks after the cold or flu has abated. Keep giving him vitamin C and even a low, maintenance dose of herbs for a week or two. If this doesn't prevent your child from running through a string of sicknesses, see your doctor.

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