By Dra. Josephine Holgado
I’ve seen how an illness affects not just the child but the whole family as well. I did all that I can to provide the best possible care through the conventional therapy for which I’ve been trained and exposed to during my residency training at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital in Taft Avenue, Manila. But for the past decade, I’ve decided to explore the less travelled road of medicine, the art and science of self-healing and use of natural remedies. However, I’ve been reluctant to share my knowledge for fear that the parents of my patients will look upon me as a female version of Mang Kepweng, who is famous herbularyo in the comic strips, television and movie in the Philippines. But I’ve seen how synthetic medicines do more harm than good to my patients that I’ve decided to spill the beans for the use of natural home remedies for symptoms of common ailments in children. Let’s take for example fever. It is part of the maternal instinct to grab an antipyretic like paracetamol, acetaminophen or ibuprofen and give it to your child to bring the fever down fast. However, sometimes it becomes a struggle just to give the medicine to your child. What if I tell you that there is a better way? First, you have to understand the true purpose of fever. Look at fever as a starter of a car which needs to heat up so that your car can run smoothly. The fever heats up your body to activate your immune system, the stuff inside your body that produces the ammunitions called antibodies that will kill the bacteria, virus or parasite.
Another way to look at fever is to imagine that a virus is like an alien ship which starts to shoot its laser gun towards your body, which is the earth. A radar in your body sends a signal to the brain to produce the material that will activate the force shield, which is the fever, that will protect your body against further invasion. If you give the drug to lower the fever, you are suppressing the child’s inherent ability to heal herself from the infection. It may also prolong the illness or can worsen her condition the next time that she is exposed to the same illness because she was not able to develop the ability to fight it the first time. In my next blog, I will tell you how to manage fever, not control fever through the use of a natural home remedy that will make your child comfortable and make you less stressed out as you watch your child recover from the illness.