Reaching for a pharmaceutical is not our only option when our children get a fever/temperature. In fact, if you fully understood what paracetamol and ibuprofen do once in the body you would do just about everything else before even considering going there. Instead, parents are falsely led to believe this is a harmless approach to child health management which has resulted in parents using fever and pain pharmaceuticals not only as a treatment but as a prophylactic. The first line in the Australian Government’s Guidelines for the Management of Paracetamol Overdose states: “Paracetamol overdose is a significant cause of hospital admission.”
What if we thought about fever in an entirely different way? Fever is in fact an innate physiological response to a pathogen in the system that is starting to take hold and is a defense mechanism designed to kill the invading offender by ramping up immune activity. Think about it, what a magnificent and intelligent capacity, to fight bugs and heal from dis-ease. This is how humans have survived for millenia without pharmaceutical intervention. Humans are actually pre-programmed to be healthy and fight disease, and when a body has the resources to be able to do this, it is pure genius in action.
Of course none of us likes to see our children in discomfort but the fact is this is actually a normal and healthy part of development and our need to prevent any discomfort is far from beneficial to our long term health. There are many natural strategies to support our children’s bodies through the various stages of illness and recovery and when we do choose an appropriate course of action, we can actually dramatically reduce the suffering they experience, lessen the course of the bug and improve recovery which ultimately creates improved resilience. It is widely known that the use of pharmaceuticals to reduce pain and fever can actually prolong an infection and lead to complications.
I have spoken of the benefits of Elderflower in this scenario for children before, but have there is an even more simple remedy and you will likely have this in your kitchen ready to go, it’s lemon! Lemon can be cut in half, squeezed into a bowl of warm water with the lemon being placed in there also and use this as a foot bath for your child when a temperature/fever strikes. Lemon does this by diverting the heat/inflammation away from the head and straight to the feet.
Or, my preferred use is the “lemon sock” concept I learned from Dr Thomas Cowan (here is a great article about fever). You’ll need a lemon, hot water, a pair of cotton socks, a pair of wool socks, and some rubber or latex gloves. The following needs to be applied to warm feet, so if the feet are cool to the touch, warm them up in warm water, with a warm blanket or heat pack/hot water bottle. This might sound like hard work but I have found kids love the process and respond beautifully and will ask for it next time.
Here is what you do:
- Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a pan
- Add ½-1 cup water and heat to almost boiling
- Soak a pair of cotton socks in this hot lemon mixture
- Wring socks well, wearing gloves to protect your hands from the heat
- After socks cool slightly, put them on child’s feet, pulling up over calves
- Place a pair of dry wool socks over wet socks so child’s feet and legs will not get chilled, if you have adult size ones this will help
- Cover child with blanket so that they are snug
- Apply no more than three Lemon Wraps in a 24 hour period. It is very likely that you will see the temperature come down, at least a few degrees, sometimes more.
To learn more about how you can treat your child in acute situations/infections and accidents in a way that supports the body’s natural processes to build lasting resilience rather than opting for treatments that can harm your child, visit the Workshop page and join the upcoming “Managing Your Child’s Health Naturally”.