When Your Family Gets Sick
Kids get sick. So do husbands. And (gasp!) even Mommy can wind up with the crud after wearing down as caregiver.
In an ideal family of robust health, of course, people rarely get sick, and when they do it’s short-lived. Unfortunately, I don’t live in that family, and I’d guess you don’t, either. That’s why real moms in the real trenches of raising real children need to know what to do when viruses and infections invade the home. Combatting the invasion requires both prevention and treatment.
A Pound of Prevention
Probably the most important component in keeping sickness at bay is a healthful, clean diet. Nutritious food prepared and served with love and care go a long way in family wellness. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables (organic if you can!), naturally-raised animal proteins, eggs and dairy products, varied whole grains in proper balance, healthy fats, pure and natural sweeteners, and lots and lots of filtered water.
Other health-promoting practices in our family are exercise, rest, sunshine, and a happy, safe environment. Family harmony, lots of laughter, and parents who love each other and their children all contribute to low stress and peace.
What about supplements? There are many that can play a helpful and vital role in family health. Our immune systems are always under attack from external and internal factors. Environment, pollutants, stress, and diet all affect our health and immune function, and most of us need a boost to offset factors out of our control.
• SuperMom—for the “one who can’t afford to get sick”—provides vital nutrients and gives great energy.
• SuperDad to help the crucial man keep up his work and care for the family.
• SuperKids to keep the ones healthy who otherwise are usually the first to “go down.”
We’ve all heard about probiotics, but what are they, and why do we need them? Probiotics are beneficial bacteria our bodies need. The lower gastro-intestinal tract is full of these good bacteria to help our bodies fight off unwanted viruses, pathogens, bacteria, and infections. But the external factors—stress, poor diet, antibiotic treatments, et al—take a toll on good bacteria, and it needs to be replaced. Tummy Tune Up and Ultimate Defense are Beeyoutiful products that carry billions of strong bacteria to restore the needed balance.
Remember when we were kids, running around in the fresh air and sunshine all day? I sure do! But both adults and children these days seem to have a much more “indoor lifestyle” of school, work, and other activities—which means we all get less of the sun’s beneficial rays that are converted to Vitamin D in our bodies. When we do go out, we’re encouraged to slather on potent sunscreens, which can do more harm than good. Yet, research shows that Vitamin D3 is a crucial factor in immune function. Beeyoutiful carries both a soft-gel and liquid form of this important vitamin, making up for the natural D we should be getting from the sun.
A Few Ounces of Cure
Those are the things to do to stay healthy. But, of course, we do get sick at our house. With six children, it’s just bound to happen.
Until this summer, none of us had been to a doctor to treat an illness in eight years (not that we’re opposed to medical doctors, it’s just that we had not been sick enough to warrant a trip to the clinic). But all eight of us got horribly ill from a food-borne pathogen and endured a full seven days of misery.
Colds and upper-respiratory viruses get specific remedies around here. Even before symptoms start, when we know we’ve been exposed to something, out comes the Berry Well. Elderberry is a great immune-booster, and the bonus is that the kids love the taste! We also dose with garlic (Beeyoutiful’s Odorless, thank you!) and extra Vitamin C (love Rosehip C!) if we know we’ve been exposed to something nasty. If we know an illness is bacterial, we take Ultra Immune, which is full of infection-fighting ingredients like garlic, elderberry, and olive leaf extract.
When symptoms start, Vitamin C and garlic continue to help. I also make sure my children drink plenty of cool water and hot liquids, especially if they have sore throats. I limit fruit juices, preferring to stick with plain old water and herbal teas. We try to follow a “clean” diet during illness by limiting sugar and dairy, which can create extra mucus in the system. For the not-faint-of-heart, cayenne pepper taken in capsules can really clear out head and chest congestion.
When they’re sick, my children often ask, “Mom, can I have a healing bath?” which is what they call a homemade remedy of bath salts and essential oils. One winter, I worked out a recipe and made a big batch to keep on hand. Then I ended up putting some in glass jars and giving them as hostess and Christmas gifts. I call it “Long Winter’s Bath,.” It’s a simple combination of:
• 2 cups of Epsom salts
• ¼ cup of sea salt
• 2 tablespoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon olive or sweet almond oil
• 5-10 drops each of peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender oils.
Mix it up in a big bowl, breaking up any clumps (plastic gloves are helpful—then you can use your hands and rub the oils through the mixture), put it in glass jars, and add ½ to 1 cup per bath. It’s wonderfully soothing, smells great, and encourages my children that special love and care has been taken to shoo away the crud.
We’re also excited about the essential oils Beeyoutiful has added to their product line. And thankfully, Beeyoutiful makes its own excellent Eucalyptus Bath Salts, so the prep work is done for us!
Winter Breeze goes on the chests and necks of coughers and sore throat sufferers around here. In addition to the healing ingredients, the loving rubs from mom or dad can really help “make it all better.” It always reminds me of when I was a little girl and my mom did the same for me, albeit with a product nowhere near as natural and beneficial as Winter Breeze.
I’m a big fan of hot drinks, as mentioned before, and two of our family favorites are simple to make at home. Hot Lemonade is what we call hot water, plenty of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and a generous spoonful of raw honey. Sip as much as you like, and enjoy the deeply good feeling! Hot Ginger-Cinnamon is our other drink—a pan of water simmering on the stove with a few whole cinnamon sticks and some chunks of fresh, peeled ginger. We keep it going all day, adding more water, ginger, or cinnamon as needed.
NO ONE likes tummy troubles. When my children complain of a belly ache, or worse yet, actually throw up, I’d like to head for the hills. But Mom has to care for the poor tots, so I hold my breath, clean things up, and get busy treating. Ideally, letting a gastro-intestinal illness run its course is the best plan, but treatment is often needed, and prevention can reduce the pass-around misery—especially in a big family!
If I have any inkling that we’ve been exposed to a stomach virus, or if one child is ill, we all immediately start taking Berry Well and Tummy Tune Up. I break open the TTU capsules and sprinkle it on a chunk of banana, or just stir it into the spoonful of Berry Well. Then it’s down the hatch for the youngest set. Take it a few times per day as prevention, or as often as every two hours when symptoms are present.
We all go on a militant hand-washing campaign, and sick ones go on the “BRAT” diet when the appetite returns: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Sipping liquids, usually water or herbal tea, is all that’s allowed in the beverage department. A natural ginger brew can settle tummies and taste like a bit of a treat.
Peppermint oil is my tummy friend. I’ve used it in water (just a drop or two) many times for stomach complaints such as nausea, indigestion, or even just an unsettled feeling. Children may readily sip on peppermint water as well. Recently, my seven year-old daughter became nauseated after twirling on the neighbor’s swing for way too long. I immediately took two drops of peppermint oil with a drop of olive oil and rubbed it into the palm of one hand. I set her in a chair, told her to keep her hand about six inches from her face, close her eyes, and breathe through her nose normally. In a few minutes, she perked up and was asking for a snack. Try it on a family member that suffers from car-sickness, too!
Fevers can be treated naturally, using peppermint oil, either in a tepid bath or applied topically to the forehead and back of the neck. Lemon balm tea has been helpful in our house for fever and headaches. Besides that, rest, rest, rest, and water, water, water are the most vital fever aids in a mother’s care kit. Most of the time, though, we do not treat fevers under 103 but let them do their work of fighting viruses and bacteria in the body. However, this is one mother that will tell you when a fever interferes with a child’s sleep, or too many nights of mom’s and dad’s sleep, it may be time to use an over-the-counter fever reducer medicine. I only give it in half-doses, and only when we all really need the relief. Sometimes a feverish child simply needs to rest, and if bringing the temperature down will allow good sleep, I certainly do not feel wrong in treating that way. To know when, trust the mommy-wisdom that God gives us!
Stocking your “medicine chest” with supplements and essential oils from Beeyoutiful will likely be all your home needs to survive and thrive through the common illnesses of family life. In combination with healthy eating and lifestyle, you can shift your thinking from when your family gets sick to if.
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