A few nights ago my 4-year-old daughter woke up vomiting and hot with fever. Buh-mer. There goes my good night’s sleep and tomorrow’s to do list (which will now be replaced with heaps of laundry).
Poor little thing. She looked at me and said, “This is awful.” Right on, sister. This IS awful.
She felt pretty hot when I touched her head, but I didn’t panic. Back in the day, I would’ve rushed for the Tylenol. But now I understand that fever is a wondrous response of the immune system – a good sign that it is working well. The body is essentially trying to “cook out” whatever pathogen is in the body. Yes, Tylenol will artificially bring down a fever but it will also put a huge burden on the liver AND stymie the production of glutathione. Glutathione is an important antioxidant made inside the body which helps fight free radicals, enhance the immune system, and aid detoxfication – all important mechanisms we need to stay healthy. (Sidenote: Moms are often advised to give Tylenol preemptively before vaccinations. Again, this diminishes the very antioxidant meant to protect us and help us to detoxify.)
Back to mommy duty. I tidied up her sheets, had her drink some water, kissed her hot forehead and told her to rest. Clean-up duty came a few more times in the night. (How did I ever make it through the infant years??? Getting up so often?? It’s a blurry miracle.)
Before Blair woke up, I googled what essential oils might be good for fever. I’ve had the starter kit from Young Living since last Christmas, but, honestly, just hadn’t taken the time to really get into the oils. The last few times my kids have had a fever, I’ve just let them ride it out. I know, mean old mom. Obviously, I would never let a fever get to be a dangerous temperature, but I chose to let them suffer a little instead of suppressing their bodies’ natural response. But when I googled essential oils and fever, I read that peppermint oil could be very effective. And it would also be helpful for tummy issues – bonus.
I diluted the peppermint with coconut oil and rubbed it on the bottoms of her feet, on the back of her neck, across her forehead, and then swiped the leftover across her belly. Within 30 minutes, the fever was gone. Seriously. It might have been sooner, but I wasn’t checking. I just noticed that about 30 minutes later, that burning skin was gone. The fever came and went throughout the day, but every time I applied the peppermint/coconut oil combo, it was gone within 30 minutes. And totally gone by about 5:00 that day.
On top of that, I did a few other things:
When she woke up that morning, I enticed her with some toast – which is a total treat in our house. The gluten-free toast was really just a vehicle for me to slather coconut oil and manuka honey – both of which are antimicrobial and immune boosters.
As she nibbled on that, I had her sip down this vitamin drink. Our family has been experimenting with it, and so far so good. We don’t have orange juice in the mornings (too much sugar!), but my kids feel like they’re pulling something over me when they get to drink this orangey vitamin drink. One of my boys doesn’t like the orange flavor, but I mix the chocolate flavored packet with almond milk and he thinks he’s pulling one over on me by getting to drink “chocolate milk.” The influx of this high quality vitamin and mineral supplement helps boost immune function. And because the body pulls calcium out of the bones when fever is present, restoring the body with vitamins and minerals can help ease some of the achiness and exhaustion that comes with illness.
After breakfast, I put her in an epsom salt bath – which is wonderfully detoxifying. It’s one of the best ways to absorb magnesium, a mineral in which most of us are deficient. I made it as hot as she could stand it, and made her stay in at least 20 minutes for it to be most effective.
It was about 8:30 am at this time (shouldn’t it at least be noon by now??), and girlfriend was feeling pretty good!!! She was back to her chatty self and seemingly well enough for me to keep my appointment with the child psychologist regarding some ADHD things we got going on up in here (that’s another post for another day – promise.). She went with me and talked the secretary’s ear off. So I decided she was well enough for me to do my weekly grocery shopping trip (which involves me driving an hour to and from the nearest “big” town to go to the store). We even did Target and went out for lunch. She had a grand ‘ol time, calling it our “Girls’ Day” like we used to have before she started pre-K. Sad face. I’m still coming to terms with my last baby being in school.
She never threw up again and, even though the fever came and went, she seemed her normal self. The secretary had told us that the stomach bug was going around and that she had been down with it for several days. So I was thrilled that we had wrapped this up in less than 24.
Just to recap:
- peppermint essential oil (diluted with coconut oil) on bottoms of feet, back of neck, forehead, and belly
- coconut oil and manuka honey
- this vitamin drink
- epsom salt bath
Have you had any luck with essential oils and/or other natural treatments? I’d love to learn more!