Hi, I’m Doc Joy. I love healing people, especially children. In my almost 25 years as a general pediatrician, I witnessed how an illness affects not just the child but the whole family as well.
I try to help them deal with it by providing the best possible care I can offer.
During the earlier years and more than half of my private practice, I have been quick to give synthetic medicines and conventional therapy for which I’ve been trained and exposed to during my pediatric residency at UP-PGH because I know that the parents want immediate relief of symptoms. But for the past seven years, I decided to explore the less travelled road of medicine which is self- healing and the use of natural home remedies.
However, initially, I never wanted to teach the complementary and alternative medicine to the parents of my patients for fear that they would look upon me as the female version of “Mang Kepweng”, a famous herbularyo in the comic strip and Filipino movie. Even though lots of people wanted me to teach the natural remedies, especially the parents of my old patients, I’ve been reluctant to impart my knowledge and wisdom.
I’ve finally decided to spill the beans for common ailments in children like fever, cough and colds, especially now that a lot of kids are getting sick during the Christmas season because it gets too cold in the early morning and late at night, while it gets too hot during noon and early afternoon.
For the first of three series of articles, I will discuss how to manage fever.
Fever is one of the common complaints of kids when they get sick. If you’re a mom, you begin to worry when your child develops fever. It is important to find out the cause of the fever and treat it accordingly. The fever may be a sign of allergy to food or drug, infection, inflammation, gut problems, growth, teething and ambient temperature. It can also be a cry for help due to home conflicts, escape from punishments, loss of a loved one and pain.
You do everything in your power to bring the temperature down without realizing that the fever has a purpose. Just like the engine or motor of your car which you need to warm up so that your car will run smoothly, your body needs to produce heat so that your immune system will be activated. One component of this protection is like an army of soldiers that carry the gun which will be loaded with bullets that will kill the bacteria, virus or parasite that causes the infection.
As a parent or a child’s caregiver, you must be confident in assessing your child’s situation whenever he or she has a fever and this comes with practice.
Too much anxiety may further aggravate your child’s condition and it will not help you both. Even a single episode of fever can create havoc in your daily routine especially if your child refuses to drink a medicine like an antipyretic. It becomes a struggle for both of you because you have to pinch your child’s nose so your child can open her mouth as you pour the medicine.
Sometimes, it becomes a race around the house while you carry a teaspoonful of liquid medicine in one hand and a candy or chocolate in another as you cajole your child to drink the medicine and afterwards she can get her reward. You may also resort to calling the whole army of family members. The grandmother would wrap a blanket around your child while the dad would hold your child immobile on the bed as you flush the medicine inside your child’s throat. You can avoid this conflict if you do these simple steps to manage a fever:
1. Keep the room in order and the lights low to aid in the healing process.
2. Keep the child adequately warm and comfortably dressed in light clothing.
3. Give cool compresses but do not apply if the feet are cold.
4. Dry your child after washing and cover her well to prevent chills.
5. Provide a light blanket if the child shivers.
6. Give oral fluids frequently so that the child is not dehydrated.
7. Permit normal play.
1. Avoid cold liquids because it disturbs the polarity.
2. Do not give too much protein because it causes build-up of urea.
3. Avoid electronic stimulation or limit exposure to gadgets and other electronic devices to hasten healing.
4. Discourage excessive activity.
It is part of the maternal instinct to grab an antipyretic like paracetamol or ibuprofen and give it to your child to afford quick relief of fever. Instead of these synthetic drugs, one of the home remedies that you can use to reduce fever is a cool leg compress.
Prepare the following materials:
1. Big bath towel where your child will lie on.
2. 2-3 liters of cool water in a basin with ½ slice of lemon or 2 tbsp of calamansi extract (The temperature of the water should be lower than the body temperature so tap water can be used. Avoid ice water because it can cause chills.
3. 2 cloths (an inner cloth like silk, linen or cotton which should cover the child’s leg just below the knee down to the ankle and wrapped around the leg about 1 & ½ times) and an outer cloth like wool, silk or cotton which is thicker and bigger than thinner cloth)
Here are the steps to follow:
1. Prepare 4 inner cloths at one time.
2. Roll the cloth and dip thoroughly in the cold water with lemon or calamansi extract.
3. Squeeze cloth until it no longer drips.
4. Wrap the cloth around the leg from the ankle to just below the knee.
5. Secure the cloth in place with an outer wool, silk or cotton cloth.
6. Replace the used cloth after 5-10 minutes with fresh ones immediately while the leg is still wet.
7. Repeat 3 times and wait for half an hour before continuing.
During treatment, make sure that you cover the child with a light blanket or sheet and stop if your child’s feet are cold!
Have a Blessed Christmas and A Prosperous New Year!
The natural home remedy discussed in this article is not meant to treat or cure but are alternative guides to alleviate the symptoms of common ailments in children. Should your child’s symptoms persist, consult your friendly neighborhood pediatrician or family physician.