Children often get sick. Antibiotics and painkillers are a way out. However, they must be used only when home remedies are not enough. Few illnesses can be treated with natural home medicines that work efficiently and are safe. Intake of a healthy balanced diet can help avoid these infections in kids.
We are exposed to germs, bacteria and viruses. A child is more susceptible to diseases as the immune system is still under development.
Abdominal pain, constipation, cough, diarrhoea, ear problems, fever, flu, nausea and vomiting, pink eye, sore throats, Gastroenteritis, UTI are a few common childhood illnesses.
Here are a few natural remedies and dietary tips for common illnesses in children:
The common cold is a mild viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Children experience this infection frequently. The common cold is actually helpful in strengthening the developing immune system which later helps in fighting off the stronger and more aggressive infections.
Duration: Colds last for five to 10 days.
Symptoms: Runny nose, sore throat, lethargy and headaches.
Natural remedies and diet to be followed for common cold:
- Vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea are child-friendly medications that support the immune system in managing the duration and severity of symptoms. Elderflower tea with honey helps children with a runny nose and sore throat.
- Garlic has immunity boosting, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. Application of half-crushed clove of garlic mixer with coconut oil must be applied on the child’s feet at night and covered immediately with socks. Garlic socks are helpful for babies below 2 years.
- Foods such as homemade fresh chicken soup, herbal teas, and hot lemon water with ginger, cinnamon and honey possess antiviral and antibiotic properties. These foods help in minimizing common colds in children.
- Coconut oil has lauric acid which helps to boost the immune system in children. Consumption of coconut oil mixed with honey and cinnamon has extra benefits.
Fever is the body’s natural response to any infections. In response to any infections, body temperature in children increases. The immune system increases the production of disease-fighting white blood cells, inducing faster and more aggressive action as a defence mechanism.
Studies show that bringing down a fever can prolong the illness and weakens children’s vitality for the next illness.
Best natural remedies and foods for a fever
- Offer children fluids such filtered water, coconut water and herbal teas which help in cooling the body. It also prevents dehydration and helps in flushing out of harmful toxins.
- Maintain a stable temperature and do not expose children to changing weather until the fever has subsided.
- Placing a wet cloth on the child’s forehead at regular intervals helps in reducing temperature.
- Post-fever offers children light, easy to digest meals like soups, casseroles with vegetables, porridge, stewed fruit and homemade bone broth.
Influenza or flu is a complicated case of the common cold in young children. It is contagious.
Symptoms: Aches and pains, sore throat, stuffy nose, vomiting, diarrhoea, tiredness, headaches, nausea, congestion, cough and high temperatures.
Risk factors: Children below five years are at high risk for developing flu-related complications. They need to get vaccinated for the flu each year as a part of routine immunizations.
Best natural remedies and foods for influenza
- Offer children tea with fresh ginger, lemon and honey at the first sign of flu.
- Children should rest more than necessary. They need fresh air.
- Offer liquid foods like soups, casseroles and include lots of garlic, onion, spring onion, leeks and ginger which are light and easy to digest.
- Offer homemade fruit juice, water, homemade bone broth and probiotics to help the child’s overall immunity. These foods will improve gut health in children
Gastroenteritis is a situation when the body tries to remove germs through vomiting and diarrhoea. It is common in young children.
Causes: Viruses, bacteria, parasites or food poisoning
Symptoms: In young children; Nausea, stomach cramps, tiredness, muscular aching and a swollen abdomen. In babies, toddlers or preschoolers; Serious and life-threatening symptoms due to risk of dehydration. Therefore, it is advised to visit your child specialist at the earliest.
Best natural remedies and foods for gastroenteritis in young children
- Offer more liquid foods to children to keep them hydrated. Coconut water is the best natural medicine that helps gastroenteritis as it contains lauric acid (also found in mother’s milk) and natural electrolytes.
- Apple, plain rice crackers, dry toast or boiled rice and no dairy for at least a week are the best foods to offer children after gastroenteritis symptoms are gone. Dairy-free yoghurt
- Probiotics are essential to help to rebuild proper gut flora levels which impacts immunity, digestion, sleep and behaviour. The best probiotic food is dairy-free yoghurt such as soy or almond and coconut-based yoghurt.
Constipation is the most common problem in young children. Constipation can usually be cured through home treatment by making a few changes in diet.
Best natural remedies and foods for constipation
- Offer children suffering from constipation need more fluids and regular exercise to overcome the situation.
- Whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal, bran flake cereals, legumes, such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, chickpeas, fruits, such as berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, pears, vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, collard greens, nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and pecans are few foods that help children beat constipation.
- Offer water, fruit, vegetable juices and clear soups, to help the fibre work better in the child’s gut.
- Avoid foods with little to no fibre, such as chips, fast foods, meat, prepared foods (some frozen meals and snack foods) and processed foods (hot dogs or some microwavable dinners).
Sore throat is caused by viruses and bacteria that attack the upper respiratory tract coupled with congestion in the chest, swollen glands, a runny nose, and coughing. These symptoms last from seven to ten days. Children suffering from sore throats should consume warm liquids.
Best natural remedies and foods for Sore Throats
- Help children gargle with lukewarm saltwater at periodic intervals.
- Hot beverages such as Chamomile tea, lemon tea and Peppermint tea mixed with honey help ease sore throat in children.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common in young children. They can be administered by home remedies giving them instant relief. Babies may vomit due to overfeeding or milk or formula intolerance.
Best natural remedies and foods for Nausea and Vomiting
- Natural remedies that help in controlling nausea and vomiting in children are ginger tea and peppermint tea.
- The best foods to offer children are white bread or toast, plain chicken, rice, applesauce, soups, bananas, and lots of water to stay hydrated.
*Nausea, when associated with frequent episodes of vomiting, chest pain, or comes with dark stools or dark vomit, is a serious condition. If nausea persists for more than a couple days, or if the symptoms are worsening, it could be a sign of serious complication. The child may need to see a paediatrician immediately.
Children get rid of foreign material or mucus via coughing. A dry cough may be a sign of allergies while a cough with mucus may be a sign of bronchitis. Depending on the severity of cough, the child may need to see a paediatrician.
Abdominal pain is caused by changes in eating or bowel habits. It is frequently observed in children. The pain usually subsides within less than three hours if not accompanied by other symptoms. Improvement in eating habits can help in avoiding such issues.
If children experience severe or localized pain in one specific area, it can be a symptom of a more serious condition. The child may need to see a paediatrician for a prescription.
Ear pain is a common symptom of a bacterial infection for children younger than seven years old. Ear infections happen along with cold or cough and need immediate attention from the child specialist.
Ear pain can be a result of injury, loud noise or pressure change. The child may need to see a paediatrician for a prescription.
Pinkeye is a highly contagious illness in children. It lasts from seven to ten days.
Symptoms: Eye redness, swollen eyelids, more tearing than usual, itching, drainage from the eye and mild light sensitivity.
Causes: Allergies, infections, dry eyes and certain chemicals
With proper hygiene, it can be avoided.
Children can’t avoid illness completely. Minor infections are essential for immunity development. Running to hospitals for small infections is not always a wise choice. Home remedies can be the best medicine at times.