My son came home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house at 2:45 am recently. They said he was crying and coughing and that neither could stop. Since she has asthma every time she gets sick with a virus (a cold, in this case), my parents had gone through the various inhaler treatments that day, following their morning announcement that they had a “sore throat,” always a bad sign. input. our house. The parent of a child with virus-induced asthma knows that the simple cold will not be boring at all.
As the mother of an asthmatic child, I do whatever it takes to keep viruses at bay. It’s not that easy here in the Midwest when we spend a lot of time together indoors for half the year.
Here are some of the techniques I use now to overcome a cold.
1. Take a warm bath in the morning and at night until you feel better.
2. Blow your nose until it is clean.
3. Take acetaminophen / ibuprofen without (much) complaining.
4. Sit under a towel with a steaming bowl of water and eucalyptus essential oils for a few minutes during the day with a damp cloth pressed to the side of the face. (More on this below)
5. Let me put some oil on the tip of the nose / upper lip. (Again, below)
The warm bath is relaxing, helps distract you from feeling sick, and relieves congestion. The nose blowing is obvious; Get that crap out of there, for God’s sake! The constant flow of pain / fever reducer helps your body focus on healing, not controlling a sore throat / congestion in the face / head area. Yes, I am in favor of letting the body do its job of defending itself against those pesky viruses on its own, but allowing a child to cry / suffer with fever / congestion / pain doesn’t seem like a smart way to handle things. I know that fever is the body’s natural defense and that it is good for us. Save it for the grown-ups, I say. What culture has there ever been that didn’t do what it could to ease pain? I don’t know of any except (maybe) the Shakers, and, well, most of them don’t exist anymore. Will a child grow up to be a better person and have a stronger constitution if he refuses to do so? Maybe. For my part, I give my son pain reliever and I take it myself when I need it. Kids especially need to “be tough” in my opinion, but that can be encouraged when it comes to a scratch, a bloody knee / elbow, or a gunshot in the doctor’s office.
As for the eucalyptus oil, I don’t use it too much, just a couple drops in the glass container (okay, it’s a rectangular Pyrex-type container) after the 1 or 2 inches of water has been heated in the microwave. I have my son lying on the bed on his stomach with a pillow between him and the water, or if it is daytime, he sits at the table with it. I cover it with a towel and set the stove timer for about 3 minutes. The towel is the size of a standard bath, so a lot of air still gets in. Once this is done, we blow our noses and then I apply whatever oil we have on hand, usually scented with a few drops of lavender as well. Lavender is calming and somewhat accelerates healing, and is especially effective when the skin is damp from steam. Doing this helps my child avoid getting a red and swollen nose from all the vigorous blowing / wiping with old tissues or the (tasteful) toilet paper roll that is a constant companion in our house when a cold strikes. Oh, I forgot to mention that if my son complains that one area of his face hurts, such as one side or the other from a stuffy nose, I also ask him to hold a moistened, microwave-heated washcloth over the area while he is under the towel. He doesn’t know, but I add a little olive (or other) oil to the fabric, along with a little lavender to make it smell nice. Again, my focus is on moving the healing process forward.
As for our environment, I do a few things in my attempts to stop the spread of the disease. I say tries, as we tend to share here. As soon as my son wakes up, I open his bedroom windows to let in fresh air. I put a new pillowcase on her child-sized pillow so she has something neat to lie on later, and because pillowcases often double as Kleenex, too, when no one is looking. I clean common door handles / light switches and always have a separate hand towel for my son. However, I know that she often forgets to use her own, which is why she pulls out a new one every day.
Chicken soup, of course, is a must, as is a cup of tea in the morning and evening. In our son’s case, I encourage him to drink it without complaint (this is ANOTHER thing to do after all!) By spooning it into the honey, local of course, and pouring / stirring the tea. She is 6 years old, and that may seem a bit dangerous, but we are talking about a small pitcher of water with, at best, ½ inch of water. We ran out of honey when this newest virus appeared. Once the weekend was over, my son and I drove a few miles to the honey lady’s house and collected 3 pounds. – only $ 9. I see it as a little adventure for us (him), and as a way to encourage the old honey to keep doing what he does.
I’d say we spend half an hour in the morning and then at night on the tasks mentioned above. I take the time to do this because we go through a cold in about 3 days when I follow these steps. A mild cough may persist, but I usually stop giving any type of pain reliever etc at the end of day 2, and can stop excessive bath / steam treatments at the end of day 3.
I hope the tips above help you get your best cold and control your asthma.