Its 3:47am and we are all up. Iza is having a really hard time getting through the night tonight with her ongoing cough. Many kinds of coughs get worse at night, especially when the air is colder. Iza has had a drippy nose for the last two days and at night when she lays down likely the mucus from the nose and sinuses is draining down her throat and triggering her cough to worsen during sleep.
But coughs are in some ways a good and important sign that a kids body is helping to rid themselves of the cold on their own and they should not be stopped with medicine. It is important for the kid to allow their body to rid themselves (i.e. cough out) the bad stuff.
Proactive care: Always our preference, but as life flows we sometimes lose sight of the vital aspects of health with our busy days and get off track. If you are up for trying to maintain some level of daily preventative care, here are some of our recommendations:
• Sleep for 6-8 uninterrupted hours. Your body will tell you what it needs and it might not be the same everyday.
• Walk for at least 30 minutes a day and get your heart rate up high enough to perspire.
• Build a balanced schedule and don’t overdo it.
• Keep stress to a minimum.
• Juice every morning… lots of greens, little fruits.
• Drink tons of water. Limit all other beverages.
Iza is truly a terrible sick person and she gets that from me. For any parent who has a child who is similar to them, it is definitely hard to watch them go through something you can really relate to. I work extra hard to make sure she is comfortable – almost to a fault sometimes (like permission to have unlimited iPad and bed time) – and I follow a very prescribed formula that can be carried forward quickly to ensure a healthy recovery.
Reactive Care: My little girl has sadly been quite sick over the last year being in Guatemala. Much of the reason is weather induced as our local climate has very extreme temperatures – we go from hot / dry 80ºF during the day sometimes to a cold / wet 40º F at night. It is like a split, temperate climate where it is a combo of dessert and jungle. Really very strange. Luckily she hasn’t gotten anything other than just a common cold and cough, however.
- Bath: Here in Guatemala the local remedy for a common cough / cold via Katy and Claudia would be to bath Iza in a bath of eucalyptus leaves, bugambilia flowers and rosa de Jamaica dried leaves. They would make the water really hot and let all the plants steep in the tub for 20 minutes or so until the temp came down to a manageable temperature. Then they would put Iza in and softly sponge bathe her while she breathed in the aroma of the water concoction. It was pretty unique to watch this local ritual and while it didn’t necessarily cure her, it definitely helped with opening up her air passages.
- Tea: Another trick we have used is a little honey, ginger and lemon mixed with warm water. Iza seems to really like this concoction and it isn’t difficult to get her to sip it out of a cup since it is a little sweet. We use a tea spoon and pretend we are having a tea party.
- Chest Rub: After the bath it is always a good thing to have a little oil rub down. You can use essential oils or just a coconut butter. This helps to loosen up the mucus before we clear out the nose. Another thing we have done is added a very tiny amount of hot sauce and peppermint to the coconut oil and that makes it like icy hot. Super strange, and should be a very small dosage, but it works!
- Clear Out the Nose: If you have one like my daughter, you will struggle to get her to “blow” out the crap on her own. We have this amazing suction thing called the Nose Frida. We also use a humidifier and add aromatherapy to it. Below is an echinacea that can be ingested or used as aromatherapy.
- Diet Adjustment: Staying hydrated is the single most important aspect of any cold, but beyond that increasing healthy probiotics and introducing more raw foods will help your child to recover faster. With Iza she is not a fan of green leafy veggies so we give her a healthy dose of probiotics. This helps to maintain a healthy digestion and keep her vitamin K levels up helping to get rid of her cold quicker.
When to Call the Doctor (according to Kidshealth.org)
Most childhood coughs are nothing to be worried about. However, call the doctor if your child:
- has trouble breathing or is working hard to breathe
- is breathing faster than usual
- has a blue or dusky color to the lips, face, or tongue
- has a high fever (especially if your child is coughing but does NOT have a runny or stuffy nose)
- has any fever and is younger than 3 months old
- is an infant (3 months old or younger) who has been coughing for more than a few hours
- makes a “whooping” sound when breathing in after coughing
- is coughing up blood
- has stridor (a noisy or musical sound) when breathing in
- has wheezing when breathing out (unless your doctor already gave you an asthma action plan)
- is weak, cranky, or irritable
- is dehydrated; signs include dizziness, drowsiness, a dry or sticky mouth, sunken eyes, crying with little or no tears, or
- peeing less often (or having fewer wet diapers)