Well, we are just getting over the first sickness of the season. Startin early this year. I’ve got to admit, I am nervous about the winter. With my oldest starting preschool, I know we are going to be exposed to so many new illnesses. And, inevitably, some of them will take hold. As parents, all we can do is be there for our kids when they are sick and help to support their developing immune systems. I believe that one of the best ways to do that is by allowing fevers to happen.
When your kids are sick, it is common to feel anxiety about fevers. It has been ingrained in us that the fever is the intruder, the sickness, and that we should lower it ASAP. I would like to introduce a different way of thinking about fevers. Fevers are friends! The fever is not the illness, but rather the body’s reaction to the illness. The fever is one of the body’s natural defenses against illness. It is a positive sign, a sign that the immune system is strong and on the front lines fighting the infection. The fever will increase the antibodies and white blood cells in the body that will help to fight the infection. In addition, it stops the bacteria or virus from growing because most cannot replicate at high temperatures. Lowering the fever, with fever reducing drugs like Tylenol, can actually hinder the recovery process and prolong the illness.
The most important concerns during a fever should be fluids and rest. There is always a risk of dehydration during a fever, so offering fluids frequently is important. As long as your child is drinking fluids and getting rest, the body can work its magic. If you feel that the fever may be a symptom of a more serious illness, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare practitioner for guidance. Let your intuition be your guide.
Sometimes kids can get pretty uncomfortable with a high fever and it can make it hard to rest. Rest is so crucial for healing. If they need something to provide some temporary relief so they can rest, there are some gentle, traditional herbal remedies. Just try not to think about it as battling the fever. The fever is not the enemy. Think about it as making your child more comfy so they can get some much needed rest.
Some herbs that can gently lower fevers include Elder Flower and Lemon Balm. They do not drastically lower the fever. Usually it is just enough to provide some rest and relief but still allow the body to do it’s work. Lemon balm is also a nervine that can help your child to settle and sleep more soundly. I also love Chamomile anytime my kids are sick. It is such a calming herb that helps to relieve any tightness in the body and encourage rest and relaxation. You can also use the same herbs to make an herbal bath.
Fever Relief Tea
1 part Lemon Balm
1 part Elder Flower
1 part Chamomile
Brewing Instructions: Mix 1 tbsp of each herb together in a pint jar. Pour boiling water over herbs and steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten if necessary. Give small, frequent sips as needed.
The next time your little one has a fever. Take some calm, deep breaths and try to rethink your approach. The fever is not the enemy. Cheer the fever on! Think of all the wonderful things it is doing to help fight off the infection in your child’s body and speed the recovery process. You will be amazed at the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, therefore any information provided on the little herbal is not meant to be medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner and do your own due diligence.