Medicine Cabinet Essentials
With the kids back in school and reengaging in social activities, you’ll want to be prepared to handle the common health issues that can arise. Consider these cabinet must have’s to help you and your family manage colds, lice, tummy troubles and more.
As we get into cold and flu season, keeping our immune system in top-notch shape is paramount. In addition to eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, consider supplements of vitamins C and D and echinacea. Vitamin C won’t cure a cold, but it does support healthy immune function and it can help recovery. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is also important for immune function and is often lacking in the fall and winter months with the shorter, darker days. A deficiency of vitamin D hampers immune response and may increase risk of viral infections. Studies have found that a particular type of Echinacea purpurea can help prevent colds and flu and the need for antibiotics. It’s safe for kids 2 and above and can be taken daily for prevention.
Have remedies on hand to handle cough, congestion and other cold symptoms. Be aware that many adult products are not safe for children even in lower dosages. Products containing decongestant drugs are not recommended for young kids as they can cause headache, upset stomach, racing heart and insomnia. A safer option is to use a nasal spray with iota carrageenan, which helps relieve congestion and runny nose and also acts to trap and disable viruses. To calm a cough offer up some dark honey. It soothes the throat and has been found to be comparable to DM as a cough treatment…and kids like the taste.
With kids participating in social activities both indoor and outdoor it’s just a matter of time before head lice makes its way around the class room. Recent studies suggest lice are becoming resistant to commonly used pesticide treatments. It’s important to inspect your child’s scalp daily and if you see any lice or eggs, notify the school and treat right away. There are non-pesticide lice treatments that safely and effectively kill both the lice and eggs. Forget the home remedies like mayonnaise, tea tree oil and vaseline; there’s no evidence they work and some can cause scalp irritation.
Bumps and bruises
Now that gym class and sports are back on, you’ll want to be ready to handle minor injuries. Keep a reusable cold pack in the freezer to calm inflammation from falls and bumps. Tensor wraps can be used to provide compression and support for minor sprains. Arnica can help relieve muscle aches and pain and heal bruises.
Constipation is quite common in kids, and often due to lack of dietary fibre and/or activity. Encourage kids to eat high-fibre breakfast foods such as oatmeal, cereal, prunes and apricots. Probiotic drinks and supplements can help support digestion and aid both constipation and diarrhea. For motion sickness or nausea keep some ginger tablets handy. Ginger works great and does not cause drowsiness like the over-the-counter drugs.