Wednesday, July 04, 2012
mothers know best
My plans of ice-skating, catching up with kinder friends, visiting my nan in the country have all been thwarted by a very nasty, hard hitting dose of winter ills and chills. Pow. With little warning, River, Sol and I have spent the past four days with fever, chills, hacking coughs, head and body aches. Somehow Pete has escaped the bug and remained well to deal with the mountain of washing that always accompanies sickness and to make us soup and tea.
River and I are steadily climbing our way towards wellness on soup, tea and vitamin C (plus an excellent herbal cough relief concoction by Greenridge). When I placed (pictured) bowl of soup in front of River at 8am yesterday his response was "Chicken noodle soup! For breakfast?!" Yes, today that is breakfast.
Our little buddy Sol's temperature had been hovering around 39.5 for two days and by the third morning even though his temperature had dropped he was still wanting to sleep a lot and was whimpering, I didn't feel at all comfortable with this so I took him off to the doctor who confirmed he has a chest infection. Boo hoo. Poor little man.
As much as I am a food-as-medicine, natural remedy kinda gal and prefer not to give my children antibiotics at the first sign of a sniffle, I do value a diagnosis from a medical doctor for my peace of mind and I am thankful that pharmaceutical medicine exists for times when we need it most. Unfortunately, it is the 'for times when we need it most' part that is lost in the power of advertising and on those driving pharmaceutical company profit lines.
Like all mothers I find it difficult to see my children unwell and want to make them comfortable and have them in good health again asap. And if I can do that using rest, natural remedies and TLC all the better. If my boys are really unwell and showing no sign of improving, I take them to the doctor. After many years of learning about food as medicine and natural remedies, I trust my judgement and when in doubt I call on like minded friends and family to compare notes and have my trusted natural therapies practitioners I consult too. There is still a lot more learning for me to do and more growing in confidence with caring for my sick children. Making decisions about how to care for your child when they are unwell is one of the many things that there is no preparation for when you become a parent.
Trusting your instinct is of course the most important thing to do. When River was 3 and woke in the night with a cough I had never heard from him before my instinct was to immediately ring an ambulance. And I was so glad I did. He had a severe bout of croup, he had never had croup before, and was taken to hospital in the ambulance with Pete where he had to have oxygen and steroid medication and stay under observation. When I arrived at the hospital later the nurse said never to feel like I was over-reacting, it was always better to seek help than wait and see. This particularly applies to anything to do with breathing!
So, back to Sol and his chest infection. I went to the chemist with a prescription for antibiotics and asked for some children's ibuprofen (brand here is Nurofen). Sol is susceptible to ear infections and in the past when he has had an ear infection if I give him paracetamol he vomits. I talked this over with the doctor and he suggested I try children's ibuprofen if his temperature rose again and he was in pain. An interesting discussion followed with the pharmacist who does not recommend Nurofen for children (she does though stock it) due to the fact is too harsh on their tummies and she has seen an increased incidence Nurofen induced asthma in children, which she said "no one is talking about". Well we are now. The marketing for paracetamol and ibuprofen aimed at treating children is completely irresponsible in my opinion (and that of the pharmacist's), it plays totally on the vulnerability of parent's of sick children. The truth about fever is that it is a natural response to fighting infection and is not in and of itself dangerous, and therefore in the vast majority of cases does not need treating with said products.
If you want to read up on fever in children this fact sheet from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne provides a good summary of what to look for and what to do or not do, and for a more in-depth article go to this pdf file of Kindred magazine and scroll down to page 20 where you will find 'Fever - your child's best friend'.
If you're still reading I hope it was a helpful post, it turned out to be a long one but there are so many things to navigate out there when it comes to health and wellbeing I always think it is worthwhile sharing experience and comparing notes. Here's to good health and good advice when it comes to health care.