My daughter has had a cold this week . . a very typical cold for a 3-year old with runny nose, tired, cranky and some fever. She doesn’t get sick often, but when she does it’s almost always when we’ve been hitting it hard, on-the-go, and she’s worn down. Completely normal. Since she came down with the cold, I’ve been recommended left and right to give her medicine for the cough, for the runny nose, for the fever, so that “at least she feels better and can eat something”. I understand they’re coming from a place of love and also (sadly) coming from a habit of what’s now considered normal, to give medicine at the slightest sign of sickness. I’m not a doctor, but in my head it just didn’t seem like a horrible thing for her to have a cold. Of course, I don’t like seeing her miserable, but her immune system was working, ideally getting stronger I figured, by fighting off the infection herself rather than having medicine do it for her, which in turns suppresses the immune system and can lead to problems down the road. Several times I felt like the bad mom, not giving her something to relieve her symptoms. “She’s just so uncomfortable, Tara”, or “she ought to eat something”. I’m not a doctor, but here’s my thoughts. A cough, a runny nose, a fever . . . those are all ways the body is trying to heal itself. And guess what I’ve learned? Given half a chance, it WILL heal itself! Even her lack of appetite and lethargy to me was a sign that the body was using its energy for healing, not digesting or playing. Of course, all these symptoms should be watched and I’m aware of that (a high fever for too long, or unexplained fever reoccurring, etc), but considering our days leading up to it, it made sense to me that she might have caught a cold. As well, her symptoms fell into the normal “cold” category. And she was drinking water consistently, which seemed to me the most important. Anyway, I eventually broke down and ran out late at night to get a cough syrup. I found myself thankful the next morning to find out she had spit out the cough syrup on the sheets. Yay! It hadn’t settled right with me. What’s in those syrups anyway? Why are they that color and what gives them that “strawberry” flavor? A day later, after some gentle pushing from a family member, I broke out the cold medicine because she was running a fever and had been drowsy all day. Again, my instinct told me to still wait it out. I just couldn’t seem to make myself take the seal off the bottle and give it to her. I saw her miserable on the couch, yes. But I also saw a strong little body trying to fight it off herself. Instead of medicine, I whispered reassuring words to her that she was strong, that I was proud of her, that she was going to feel better soon. I gave her a gentle massage and lots of kisses and sat with her. She woke up the next morning without a fever, with smiles and better energy, and an appetite to go with it! I was so glad I believed in her and thankful that I went with my instinct. Mother nature has it figured out. Our amazing bodies are capable of so much. It reaffirmed my belief in our body’s strength and in that we were all give a natural apothecary within us.
That being said, since I’m not a doctor and people many times like to hear it from the mouth of a doctor, check out this article . . . http://www.drfranklipman.com/why-you-usually-shouldn’t-treat-a-fever/ and I hope it will give you confidence in your children’s healing capabilities as well as your own, and in your instinct as a parent.
The photo is of my little one, the day after the fever, enjoying some cartoons and vegan coconut milk ice cream!