It seems that everyone is catching a cold, coming down with the flu or cough lately. It could be a combination of the weather and the haze pollution in Kuala Lumpur. Or a particularly nasty virus that’s going around. It certainly is lingering around in my home, taking it’s own sweet time.
Apart from treating these illnesses with natural remedies, we also emphasise the importance of prevention such as washing our hands with soap frequently, avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands and avoiding contact with people who are ill. I definitely do not claim to be any sort of expert at preventing these common illnesses, the fact that my girls are down with one of these illnesses just about every week seems to be proof of that! Unfortunately this gives me plenty of experience on how to deal with them. Basically we suck at prevention, but we’re getting better at treating them….guess that’s progress right?
There have been lots of queries recently on natural treatments as well as ways to minimise the use of antibiotics and other medications. Please see below for a recent Q&A. In the email, my reply was much shorter. Here I expanded it to include more information;
I feel like I’ve heard of Transfer Factor but can’t remember where. Can you please explain to me what is it and how will it help our kids. Btw what do you give your kids when they are down wth fever and bad chesty cough? My son is down wth both. Can’t give him anything except paracetamol . Other medication don’t agree wth his body. Gets agitated after taking them.
G, mother of son diagnosed with Autism
Transfer Factor is a type of immuno-therapy and in my opinion it is not a first tier supplement. In my personal experience, it helped my girls during illness-free period by prolonging it, but not while they are ill. I have used several brands of Transfer Factors, one of them is 4Life Transfer Factor which you can purchase easily online. You can also try Beta Glucan, a Warrior Mum friend swears by Transfer Point’s Beta Glucan 500 and VRP’s Epicor for prevention of illness and to balance the immune system. Another favourite is Colostrum, such as Kirkman’s Colostrum Gold. In my opinion, this is safe to take as a first tier supplement.
Another friend who is also a Naturopathic Doctor loves Echinacea, an herbal remedy from the Native American plant. Echinacea is effective for the prevention or used at the very first sign of a cold or flu. It is not to be used for more than 1-2 weeks. Echinacea is widely available in most pharmacies, such as Blackmore’s brand. Do take note that some Echinacea blends contains Goldenseal, an herbal anti-microbial. Goldenseal is not suitable for persons with pollen allergies. Gingko biloba is also used for the prevention of flu.In the old days, at the first signs of illness would see me reaching for the cold medication or Panadol. Not anymore. During my biomed era, at the start of an illness, I usually increase Vit C, probiotics (casein-free), zinc, glutathione precursors such as N-Acetyl Cystein and other anti-oxidants. We also use Fluimucil (a type of acetyl-cysteine) to break down the mucus. This can be bought in most pharmacies I think, though our doctor prescribes it for us. For congestion, I use saline nose drops to clear the nasal passage. Breathing in steam from eucalyptus oil or even Vicks vaporub helps with breathing. Some coughs are triggered by post-nasal drip, so clearing the runny nose helps the cough. Turmeric is my favourite herb, apart from being used in cooking, it also has amazing antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps with runny nose. Pound some fresh turmeric and rub the ‘juice’ on the nose. This dries up the sinuses quickly! Though it does leave an orangey-yellowish stain on the nose.
Fresh garlic also has amazing antiviral and anti-microbial properties, so I always add fresh minced garlic in food. For sore throat, gargle with salt water, though this may be difficult for younger children. Taking 1 tsp of honey is said to help with dry sore throats too. And don’t forget to drink lots of water to hydrate.
If that doesn’t help, then I use Sinupret by Bionorica which is an herbal sinus remedy. I bought it in Singapore pharmacies and stock it up, but I think it may be available in Malaysia. Do let me know if you can find it here. Sinupret is the most popular cough and cold remedy sold in Germany. For coughs, I also like Prospan which is herbal based too. As much as I prefer natural treatments, for coughs that lasts for more than 3 weeks requires immediate medical attention.
In the old days, I only give Panadol or other fever medication when the fever is 38.4 celcius and above. For very high fevers, I use Voltaren suppositories. Epsom salt baths, sponging or a cool wet towel on the forehead helps. Some prefer to use ibuprofen instead of panadol for pain and fever management. However if it’s escalated or the fever is more than 3 days and needs medical attention, then I would see a doctor. Ever since I started using homeopathic remedies, I haven’t had to use medication to treat fevers or other illnesses. I am a big fan of Children’s Fever Stop for fevers. Please read here on treating fevers with homeopathy.
According to recent reports, most medicated cold, flu and cough medicines are not suitable for children under 6 years old. I love this article on naturopathic treatments for colds, please read.
If your son has adverse reactions or side-effects from certain medication, I would tell the doctor the names of all the previous medication that he has a bad reaction to and ask the doctor for alternatives. Some medications contain pseudoephedrine which causes side effects eg. trembling, rapid heartbeat, hyper etc and should be avoided. There are always alternatives, it’s a matter of getting your doctor to help you find an alternative solution. I tell my doctor about any side-effect or bad reactions and our doctor is kind enough to respect our wishes.
Nowadays, my first response is always homeopathic remedies. Either using a combination remedy or a single remedy depending on the occasion. With the help of my homeopathy guidebook, online reference tools or by consulting with my homeopath, I use a single remedy to treat an acute condition. If it is the correct remedy, we can either successfully nip it in the bud if treated early enough. Or it eases the discomfort and shortens the duration and severity of the illness. So far, I find homeopathic remedies very effective for my girls and I for certain acute illnesses compared to naturopathic, biomed or mainstream medicine.
Please exercise caution when self-prescribing. Even when using natural or herbal remedies, there may be side-effects or contraindications. Do take note that this is not to be construed as medical advice, please consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or a registered homeopath to manage your child’s treatment.
Hope this helps,