Kids are starting to bring home more than homework now that they’re back in school. They also bring home plenty of germs. The common cold is a leading cause of missed days from school. Parents should brace themselves for cuts, bites, scrapes and other maladies. You may also want to change how you prepare for cold and cough season.
It's time to prepare for kids’ school-time sniffles and scrapes by cleaning out and organizing their medicine cabinets. Having remedies handy, exactly when you need them, will help relieve the stress of caring for a sick child.
Start by doing the following:
- Choose a cool, dry storage place. Bathroom cabinets are okay as long as they don’t get warm and steamy during baths and showers. Many products degrade when exposed to humidity and warm temperatures.
- Check expiration dates. Toss any expired products. Many pharmacies offer safe medication disposal.
- Safely secure all medications and supplements if there are young children in the house. Lock these products in a high cabinet.
- Carefully review all labels. Now is a good time to remind yourself of any precautions. Many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs have warnings regarding their use in those who have serious medical conditions such as heart, kidney or liver disease.
-Understand dosing instructions. Some products for children are dosed by weight or age. Others are not safe or recommended for children.
Here’s what parents might want to include, and avoid, in a medicine cabinet makeover:
- For bruises and muscle strains: Arnica, available in tablets or gel, is a homeopathic remedy that can be used for treating minor bruises and muscle strains. It can reduce pain and swelling and speed healing. Keep a flexible cold pack handy to manage pain and swelling from an acute minor injury such as a strain or sprain. Ibuprofen can help treat aches and pains.
- For the common cold: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 million school days are lost annually in the United States because of the common cold. This year, you may want to stock up on black elderberry. It contains flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have a remarkable ability to stimulate the body’s immune system. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, black elderberries have more than twice the concentration of anthocyanins than is found in any other fruit. But unfortunately, you won’t find black elderberries at the grocery store. What you will find is a marvelous extract of black elderberry, sold over the counter as Sambucol Gummies. They are great for kids because they contain no artificial flavors or colors. They are also gluten, nut, soy, dairy and egg free.
- For bug bites: Hydrocortisone creams help with the itching, swelling and redness. But surprisingly they can cause kids’ skin to itch, burn, dry out and change color. A natural alternative is an ointment that contains tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It helps take the sting and itch out of bug bites, and it’s good for minor cuts and irritations.
- For sore throats: Buckwheat honey is great for managing a sore throat. It contains antioxidants and nutrients that help speed healing. It also lubricates and soothes a sore throat. Buckwheat honey can be given to children age one year and over and is available in most health food stores. Throat sprays with Echinacea, sage and peppermint can also help.
- For eczema/skin rash: Oatmeal baths can help relieve dry, itchy skin. Add 2 cups of ground colloidal oatmeal (not breakfast oatmeal) to a tub of warm water (hot water can further dry out and irritate skin). Then apply a moisturizer with soothing and hydrating ingredients such as vitamin E, aloe and lavender.
- For nausea, upset stomach: Studies show that the very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols found in ginger can help relieve motion sickness, dizziness, nausea and gas, and soothe the intestinal tract. You can find supplemental ginger in chewables and gummies in pharmacies and health food stores.
With these products readily available, you may be able to resolve many of your child’s typical health issues quickly and easily.
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