Saturday, May 19, 2012

lemon socks for a fever and other thoughts on naturally fighting illnesses

North and especially little Indigo were down with change of season colds, coughs and fevers all week. In our family we like to let our bodies fight things as naturally as they can avoiding any intervention beyond homeopathy, nutrition, herbs, stocks and teas. 

In Anthroposophical Medicine (and conventional medicine, see: Yale School of Medicine) a fever is important to the healing process when you are sick because it strengthens the immune system. We try our best not to suppress fevers in our home but instead to make the children as comfortable as possible and to draw a high fever away from their heads- in order to keep the warmth well-distributed so that all body parts are of the same temperature. My 'high temperature comfort limit' is a little less than the Anthroposophical Medicine's recommendations (41˚C) - if their fever ever went above 103.5˚F (40˚C) and wasn't budging I would then give them paracetemol. But so far, the "Lemon Wrap" has been highly effective at times of need.
We soak a thin pair of socks that go up around the children's calves in the lemon water and then our wool socks overtop.

"Fever" is an article by Susan R. Johnson, FAAP from that explains how to administer a "Lemon Wrap". It also includes a list of warning signs of when to seek professional medical help (sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, stiff neck, lungs clear etc.).

I am by no means a Doctor or health professional of any kind- I am only sharing a remedy that has worked for us. Always seek medical advice if you are unsure whether a sickness is serious or not.

I ended up taking Indigo to a Western Doctor as well as a Chinese Medical Doctor on Wednesday morning because she was so ill. The Western doctor of course prescribed antibiotics (after he stated he thought her cough was viral and antibiotics wouldn't work on a viral infection!). The Chinese Doctor prescribed some herbs and tea. I filled the antibiotic prescription and put it in the fridge and resolved to wait 24 hours before giving it to her. I gave her the Chinese herbs, used saline nasal spray, continued with chicken stock, tea and manuka honey, said a healing prayer, cuddled her to no end and the next day she had miraculously improved without having to resort to the antibiotics. I also resorted to one dose of ibuprofen at naptime that day (when a fever wasn't present) because I thought her throat must be so sore from coughing and I wanted her to have a restful sleep.

Of course every child and sickness is different which is why I believe motherly instincts play such a huge role in healing. I comfortably use natural herbs and remedies when I have conventional medicine as a back-up and close at hand. It puts my mind at rest knowing that if Indigo had made a turn for the worse I would have had everything she needed. There was power and security in knowing that I had consulted multiple practitioners and gathered as much information as I could about the sickness before drawing any conclusions or administering medicine and remedies.

How do you approach sickness in your family? Do you take a more conventional band-aid approach or do you take things more slowly? Or do you fall somewhere in between? Things to think about...


georgi said...

if only more people were like you!

I am a microbiologist, and one of the biggest problems health microbiology faces is the increasing antibiotic resistance of infectious microorganisms that cause serious infections - and one of the contributors to that increasing resistance is increased exposure - like when doctors prescribe (useless) antibiotics when they suspect a viral infection..

In terms of a fever, I completely agree with you. A fever is the body's natural way of defending against infection. Raising the core body temperature even just a couple of degrees higher than normal makes it harder for bacteria which cause infections to replicate.

I wish more people made as informed decisions!


Meagan said...

Thanks Georgi!

Now another question- what to do with the antibiotics in the fridge? This is the downside of playing it safe! Am I a part of the big problem if I throw them out or pour them down the sink? They are alive in a way, aren't they? Can I pour them into boiling water before discarding them or will this make any difference? Or is it something not to worry about at all.... confused about that part! xo m.

Amy said...

I'm definitely a fan of taking it slow and letting nature take its course. A day or two off work, sleep, fresh juice, soup and various other ways I have developed over the years are all I use now. I am usually sick for far less time than my friends, and am letting my body do the work it is designed to do xx

jodi said...

I'll be honest M - I really struggle with letting the fever take its course. I understand wholeheartedly that a fever is a sign that the body is working brilliantly to fight the virus but I still sometimes give Che panadol (in saying that, the last time he had it was mid-2011 so in no way is it a common occurrence).

Neither of the children have had antibiotics and whenever Che has had a cough I have always used Greenridge's Children's cough relief - it has always worked wonders for us.

As for our diet - stock, lemons, honey and water. With lots of rest and cuddles. x

Anonymous said...

all chemists have a safe medicine disposal - you take any medication to them and they will dispose of it for you. i think our drains go out to middle harbour, so probably not the best idea to be putting chemicals and antibiotics down the sink

Chicane Champagne said...

We try to stay away from conventional medication too but I will use paracetamol if my son is distressed with the fever. If he is okay just vegging out and letting it run its course then fine but if there are tears and fear then I don't hesitate to use conventional meds. He's never had anti-b's though and I will def try to keep it that way. Love the lemon socks - will be adding that to our arsenal for sure. We also do a home made decongestant on the soles of the feet with socks on top at night time.

Sophia said...

I always love to hear others following this methodology, it makes my gut instincts stronger. We do a similar thing. I have a good friend who is a western medicine practitioner and she allowed me to have a serious conversation about fevers and what levels to work with. We allows temps up to 39/40 to run their course. At 40 we give ibuprofen and at 41 we give cool baths and get urgent medical assistance.

We give pain relief, if it will assist a good sleep and that will then facilitate the healing process. we don't find the need for this very often, our bottles go out of date before they get used up.

I also agree with you about having the back up, I do this as well, but every time I go I get re-disheartened at how quickly docs put out antibiotics, even when I say I would prefer not to have them.

On the few cases I have decided to give the kids antibiotics, I just make sure I give them plenty of good yoghurt with ABC bacteria in it to assist their stomachs balance.

thanks for your posts, I look forward to them :)

georgi said...

M - antibiotics are heat inactivated above 65 deg. C, so boiling water then down the sink will be fine. They technically aren't alive themselves, but they are still active unless you heat inactivate the enzymes.

x g

Obaitori Spiritual Mothering said...

I tend to let nature take it's course also. At night time I will give panadol for a high fever as I believe that an uninterupted night sleep is powerful medicine. I love the lemon socks! I also love Tibetan medicine and the ayurvedic homeopathic of adding cayenne pepper to lemon/ginger/honey to induce an artificial fever - works most of the time. Thanks Meagen for your ideas. Love Katie xxx

Kitty said...

I'm with you and use western medicine as a last resort.
We use a lot of remedies out of a book called "The Fragrant Pharmacy". It's worked wonders in this house.
I've just started using colloidal silver instead of antibiotics. This past week a flu I had gotten turned into bronchitis and the colloidal silver has cleared it right up.
Hot water with lemon and honey is lovely for sore throats too.
I must try your lemon sock method next time fever strikes.
Thank you for sharing what works for you.

Tania said...

Antibiotics are always a last resort here too. I don't believe we've had to resort to them in over 5 years now. When we lived in the city and our older two were little we used to use acupuncture and Chinese medicines for cold and flu treatment as our first port of call. We also used remedies from the health food store. Something we still do now for sore throats etc, but unfortunately we have no Chinese herbalist locally. Warm honey and lemon drink is something i always mix up for sore throats. Lots of warm vegetable based soups in Winter seem to help boost the immune system in our experience.

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