Time for the next three steps in the medicine cabinet! It’s been a few weeks since we talked about the last one, so if you haven’t read it, go read part 1 now.
Here are steps 4, 5 and 6:
4) Purchase rice-filled heating pads and use them
5) Clear out all old medications (expired, unused)
6) Reduce use of fever reducers
Why those steps? Let me explain:
When you’re in pain (muscle aches, cramps, etc.) you don’t need to automatically pop an aspirin or other pain reliever. They have many side effects associated with them, as we’ve already discussed. So instead, purchase or make rice-filled heating pads (to make: fill an old sock 1/2 way with rice and sew it shut) and use them instead. Heat can help pain a lot and has no side effects. Simply heat the pad in the microwave for 60 – 90 seconds and apply, re-heating as necessary. Since the socks have no heat source and will only get cooler, they’re also safe for babies and children. Some moms use them to warm baby’s bed in the winter. When pain strikes, try this first, before you try any other medication. It may just help you.
The next step is something EVERYONE should do, regardless of your medical beliefs. Take a look through your medicine cabinet(s) and look for any medication that is out of date, that you no longer use (including prescriptions), duplicates, etc. Get rid of everything you can’t or shouldn’t use. Dispose of it properly — most recommend flushing it down the toilet. There’s no reason to have possibly unsafe medication cluttering your medicine cabinet — you could grab it and take it in the middle of the night if you don’t feel well and don’t think to check the label. This goes for any vitamins or supplements, too. Just get rid of anything you won’t or can’t use anymore.
When you’re sick, you may get a fever. Kids tend to get fevers often when they’re sick. But a fever is not a BAD thing. A fever is the body’s response to an infection. The higher temperature makes the body inhospitable to the illness and kills it. When you artificially lower the fever, you can prolong the illness because you’re not letting the body do its job to fight the infection. So when you get a fever (or your children do), don’t automatically take some Tylenol or another fever reducer. Simply wait it out. You can sip warm tea or a cool drink — whatever makes you feel better. Take a warm bath with lavender essential oil and/or some epsom salts (they draw toxins out of the body). Sleep as much as possible. Kids often sleep fine through fevers (I’ve NEVER medicated my kids’ fevers, not even once, not even at 104). A “high” fever isn’t what most people think — it’s not 101 or 102. A truly high fever is 106 or 107. A person’s temperature must be close to 107 before brain damage is possible, so you don’t need to worry as much as you think. Also, the febrile seizures that are possible in children with fevers are NOT dangerous; they are the body’s reaction the higher temperature and don’t cause any damage. You don’t need to medicate a fever on the off chance your child may have one, because even if s/he does, it won’t hurt him/her. In general, an illness will go away faster if you leave the fever alone. If you feel you MUST use a fever reducer, use the smallest dose, as infrequently as possible (i.e. if the person is comfortable, DON’T give another dose just because it’s “time”), and DON’T mix different types of medication. Let your body fight the infection itself!
What are your baby steps in the medicine cabinet? How are you doing on these?
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