Natural First Aid For Kids
Natural Solutions For The Top 10 Childhood Complaints
• Info That Can Help Your Child Heal Faster
• Combining Conventional And Ancient Wisdom
• Low Cost Remedies To Have On Hand
Look Inside And Find Remedies For Everything
From Bites On…
Topic: Children, First Aid
In medical school, physicians are taught only one model for medical care: Wait for people to get sick, and then give them medicine or operate on them.
We doctors are taught to ignore a great deal of wisdom about sickness and health that has developed over thousands of years and that is used by billions of people throughout the world.
– Jay N. Gordon, MD
Childhood is an exciting time when everything is new.
From a child’s birth on, parents are faced with a maze of decision-making. Many of these decisions involve health care – and not just nutrition. Kids get sick. Everybody knows that.
But, what about those little problems? “Pesky complaints” one mother calls them. What to do about stubbed toes, splinters, and blisters? How about insect bites, bruises, styes, motion sickness, or even warts. (Kids think warts are especially yucky.)
Many of these complaints disappear completely with adulthood or happen so rarely that when they do, we may remember that the last time they happened to us we were the kid.
In this issue of Nutrition News, we provide a concise natural first aid manual, listing these inevitable upsets and their remedies.
Those Pesky Complaints: Bite, Human or Animal
In this section, you will find the complaints listed alphabetically.
Bite, Human or Animal: If the bite breaks the skin, seek prompt medical attention. Before heading to emergency, disinfect the area by flushing with warm water, followed by soaping, rinsing, and then rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. When an animal bite is involved, the animal needs to be tested for rabies. If this isn’t possible, rabies treatment is necessary. Bites from rabid animals can be fatal.
Follow an immune enhancing diet. Use homeopathic Arnica 30x or 9c for tissue damage or bruising; Hypericum 12x or 6c (St. John’s wort) for pain following trauma; Ledum 12x or 6c if there is bruising surrounding the bite.
Those Pesky Complaints:Bite or Sting
Bite or Sting: Usually, bites and stings are only an annoyance. However, one must be aware of poisonous bugs. These include brown recluse spiders and black widows, deer tick bites (which can result in Lyme disease), or a severe reaction to a bee sting. In all these cases, medical attention is necessary.
With stings, gently remove stingers by scraping with a fingernail or the back of a knife. Pulling can squeeze more venom into the skin. Tweezers must be used to remove ticks or the head will remain in the skin. Once removed, wash, rinse, and disinfect the site with rubbing alcohol.
Sooth your child’s skin by putting aloe vera gel on the bites. If itching and irritation continue, apply a homeopathic cream or gel formulated especially for insect bites and stings. These remedies are effective and harmless.
Sometimes mosquito and flea bites can be prevented by giving your child liquid vitamin B (1 tsp 2x/d).
Insects avoid the taste. Zand, et al, report that a Swiss product called Bite Blocker, made with a soy oil base, has tested 97% effective against mosquitoes.
It is the safest insect repellent on the market, and has been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine to be as effective as deet. (Widely available.)
Those Pesky Complaints: Blister
Blister: The Mayo Clinic advises, “… do everything possible to keep [the blister] intact.” The skin provides a barrier to bacteria, decreasing the risk of infection. Cover small blisters with a bandage, and large ones with a gauze pad to absorb moisture and allow air to the wound.
Only puncture the blister if it’s painful, prevents walking or the use of a hand. To puncture, wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water. Clean it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Sterilize a needle with fire or alcohol. Puncture by creating several small holes near the edge. Leave the skin in place, and let the fluid drain. Apply an antibiotic cream and cover. After a few days, cut away all the dead skin, using tweezers and scissors sterilized with rubbing alcohol. Reapply cream and a fresh bandage.
If you have diabetes, call your doctor before you treat yourself. Also call if there are signs of infection around the blister – pus, redness, increasing pain or warm skin.
Those Pesky Complaints: Bruise
Bruise: “Black and blue” marks occur when an injury to a blood vessel causes blood to leak into the surrounding area. The mark disappears when the blood is reabsorbed.
The yellow/greenish/brown at the end of healing occurs from residual iron in the tissue after the blood is reabsorbed. (Red blood cells carry an iron molecule, which makes them red.)
Putting an ice pack on the area immediately helps with pain and healing. Apply the pack for 5-10 minutes, then remove for 15-20 minutes. Cycle at least three times after the bruise occurs. Then continue with the treatment several times per day for the next two days.
Offer your child purple grape juice and/or blueberries every day. The bioflavonoids strengthen the capillaries and the antioxidants assist healing.
Both vitamin C with bioflavonoids and bromelain (pineapple enzyme) help heal bruising. Remember, vitamin C is imperative to building collagen, the body’s glue; This is its importance in blood vessel integrity.
Arnica, Arnica, Arnica! Soft tissue injury is the classic symptom for the use of this ubiquitous homeopathic. It helps with both healing and pain.
Use 30x or 9c as soon as possible. Then give a dose 3-4 times during the first 24 hours. If the skin isn’t broken, Arnica tincture, oil, or gel can be applied directly to the bruise. This remedy is a godsend!
Those Pesky Complaints: Burn
Burn: There are several kinds of burn threats: dry heat (fire or sun); wet heat (steam or hot liquids); chemicals: and electricity.
Well into their teens, children may still have thin tender skin. Burns are measured by degrees from first to fourth. Severity is the main determinant for medical care.1
With first and second degree burns (including sunburn), minimize damage by cooling the burn as rapidly as possible with cool gently running water (not ice water). If the burn occurs through clothing, cool without removing the child’s clothes. Remove once the burn has cooled, when stinging and pain have lessened. This process can take 10 minutes or more. Do not stop too soon.
Lots of liquids and a diet high in protein are required here, as well as green, orange, and yellow veggies. In short, all the general guidelines need to be followed. Of course, aloe vera can be applied to ease pain. Once “stinging” has stopped, calendula gel or cream is applied to prevent infection. A comforting 30 minute regimen is included in Smart Medicine, using aloe and Urtica urens 12x or 6c. Arnica will lift pain.
Those Pesky Complaints: Burn
1 Third and fourth degree burns are always a medical emergency, as are burns on the face, palms, soles of the feet or on or near a joint.
Important emergency instructions and follow-up care are included in Smart Medicine…. This kind of detailed, urgent information needs to be posted in your house, just in case.
The definition of burn degrees is on our BLOG under “Siri Says”. A shopping list of general supplements and other recommended substances, such as aloe gel and homeopathic remedies is also posted there.)
Those Pesky Complaints: Cuts & Scrapes
Car Sickness: Under Motion Sickness below.
Cuts & Scrapes: Aren’t these the markers of childhood? Most of the time, we wash the area, pat on anti-infectional agent, such as calendula gel or topical tea tree oil, and cover the owee with a colorful bandage. That’s easy. When should you be worried? Zand’s rule of thumb is “If you have any doubt about your ability to care [for the injury], consult your doctor.”
Regardless of whether you need to take your child for emergency care, give him Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. This is a combination of flower essences prepared homeopathically. It is very soothing and helps tremendously to stabilize a “freak out”. (Terrific following temper tantrums.)
If there is a lot of bleeding, stop it by applying pressure, using sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Ice will also stop bleeding because cold constricts the blood vessels. If the tongue is involved, give the child an ice cube or fruit juice popsicle to suck. (Just a mere teaspoon of sugar impacts the immune system negatively for up to five hours.)
Clean the wound immediately and keep it clean during healing. If the cause is a dirty or rusty object (classically a rusty nail) or if foreign material is embedded in the wound, go to the doctor immediately. Likewise, see the doctor for injuries to the lips (to prevent future disfigurement). The doctor visit may also be the time to update your child’s tetanus shot.
When other treatments are not available, raw honey or plain yogurt can be used. They can both be applied directly to the wound. Honey is a natural antiseptic, and yogurt prevents infection and helps to speed healing.
Those Pesky Complaints: Motion Sickness
Motion Sickness: “Are we there yet?” is the plaint of the motion sick child. The problem is caused by over stimulation in the inner ear (responsible for our sense of balance and equilibrium). Just stopping the motion helps, but sometimes it can take several hours for complete recovery.
This problem is easier to prevent than to cure. If you’re going on a trip by car, boat, or plane, initiate treatment before leaving.
Ginger tea, homeopathy, and acupressure are the greatest help. Warm ginger tea (made from fresh ginger or ginger tincture) with some honey helps before the trip and continues to comfort during.
If just the smell of food is sickening or the child is nauseous: Cocculus 12x/6c. Oppositely, less nausea after eating, try Petroleum, same dose. Lastly, if motion causes her to pale and vomit, Tabacum. Give your child a dose one hour before leaving, another when you get aboard the vehicle, and a third one hour into the trip.
Don’t forget distraction. Sing with her; let her choose the radio station; exchange telling stories. And never release your child from a car seat or seat belt. As Zand says, “Better sick than sorry.”
Those Pesky Complaints: Nosebleed
Nosebleed: There are lots of tiny blood vessels in the nose, and many things can result in a nosebleed, including just dry weather. Here’s the way to stop it:
1) Sit your child upright and tilt his head forward.
2) Put your thumb and forefinger on the sides of the bridge of the nose. Apply firm pressure, but don’t cause discomfort. This slows bleeding.
3) Keep your fingers in place for 10 minutes as a clot forms.
4) Check. If bleeding remains, continue for another 10 minutes.
5) After 20 minutes, if there is still steady bleeding, call your doctor.
Rather than pressure, you can place an ice pack across the bridge of the nose, following the above timing. Or, wet a small piece of cotton ball with white vinegar and put it into the nose (such that you can remove it easily). The vinegar has a cauterizing effect on the blood vessels and stops the bleeding.
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids helps build capillary strength, as does grape seed extract. Both can be used for prevention and revved up for treatment. Recurring nosebleeds call for vitamin K1. Give 15 mcg, 1-2x daily for a month. The homeopathic Ferrum phos. (6x, 12x, or 6c) is given every 10 minutes for 3-4 doses.
In dry weather, saline nasal spray followed by aloe or calendula gel is good as is a light coating of almond oil in the nostrils.
Those Pesky Complaints: Ringworm
Ringworm: Not a worm but a fungus, tinea likes the scalp, skin, and nails. It is the same fungus that causes “jock itch” and athlete’s foot. It is called “ringworm” because it heals from the inside of a round, red, itchy spot, appearing as a ring.
Although ringworm generally clears up in a few weeks, it is highly contagious and easily spreads to others as well as to other areas of the infected body. Generally, it is only necessary to contact your doctor if a secondary infection occurs.
Tea tree oil is a powerful antifungal and exceptionally effective against ringworm. Mix 8-10 drops in a pint of distilled or spring water and apply to the affected area 3x/d until the rash disappears. Also, for 3 days, give your child homeopathic Sulphur 30x or 9c. Do this 3x/d. Give the remedy 1 hour before or after the tea tree oil. Pungent odors, like that of tea tree oil, can interfere with any homeopathic remedy.
Keep the skin dry and clean as the fungus likes a warm, moist situation.
Those Pesky Complaints: Splinters
Splinters: Remove splinters right away. When left in the skin they can become infected. Also, soaking the affected area causes splinters to swell. Wash the area quickly.
If one end of the splinter is sticking out of the skin, grasp it with tweezers and gently pull it out. Wash again and bandage if needed. When the splinter is deep in the skin, enlarge the entry wound, using a sterilized needle, tweezers, or nail scissors. A magnifying glass can help you see better.
For a splinter under a fingernail, cut a small V-shaped notch in the nail above the splinter. Remove just enough nail to allow you to reach the splinter with tweezers. Wash again after removing, then apply an antibiotic cream and a bandage.
In difficult cases, call for a professional. This is true for infection, serious damage from the splinter, the splinter is in or near the eye, or you can’t remove it. Small splinters in areas that don’t pose a danger will fall out on their own.
Those Pesky Complaints: Stubbed Toe
Stubbed toe: Nearly everyone knows this one. It really hurts, especially right after it happens, but usually isn’t serious. However, the toe could be broken, in which case, a doctor visit is called for.3
Clean the toe under running water, being sure to remove any debris. Dry carefully and if the skin is broken, apply an antibiotic cream.
Then, apply ice wrapped in a washcloth for 15-30 minutes. If there’s a flap of skin hanging from the injury, don’t remove it. It will dry out as the wound heals and can be removed then.
Those Pesky Complaints: Stubbed Toe
3 If you can’t stand with your weight on your injured foot for more than a minute or two, your toe could be broken. An abnormal amount of swelling, too much pain, and/or a fever could also signal a break.
Those Pesky Complaints: Stye
Stye: Another common “pesky” complaint, a stye is an infection of an oil-secreting gland at the edge of the eyelid. It is bacterial, usually caused by Staphylococcus (“staph”). As the stye matures, it fills with pus and eventually bursts.
Meanwhile, don’t squeeze it, and don’t let the child mess with it. It should improve within a couple of days. A friend whose child frequently suffers from styes recommends that the best treatment (and the MD treatment of choice) is the application of warm (but not uncomfortable) compresses for 10 minutes, 4-6 times daily.
Because it is specific for the eyes, a daily dose of vitamin A is called for. C and zinc should also be used.
Frequent styes indicate a need to build the immune system. Sterile, dilute eyebright extract as drops helps to relieve swelling and redness. Aconite 30x or 9c is effective at the first sign that a stye is developing. Following that, other homeopathics are effective but must be matched to specific symptoms.
Those Pesky Complaints: Warts
Warts: These harmless and annoying growths are caused by viruses. They occur most often on the hands and feet, and are particularly embarrassing to children.
Small, flat, and flesh-colored, they tend to occur in clusters. They have a tendency to recur and move around. Although childhood warts usually disappear within 2 years, you have to remember just how long that is for a child.
As with all healing situations, keep your child away from sugar and white flour, both of which foster bacterial and viral growth. Vitamin A for the skin is good, plus green, yellow, and orange veggies. Surprisingly, banana peel is so great for destroying warts that many dermatologists recommend it. Place a tiny amount of peel against the wart and hold it in place with silk tape. Change it 1-2x/d.
This can be combined with homeopathic. For the first 4 days, give Thuja 30x or 9c, 2x/d. For days 5-9, discontinue the Thuja, and give Nitricumacidum 12x or 6c, 2x/d…….
Nutrition Deficit Disorder
This useful term was coined by Bill Sears, MD, “America’s pediatrician” (www.askdrsears.com). Sears is alarmed that so many children have “adult” diseases.
Not only diabetes, obesity, and OCD, but also arthritis and bipolar disorder. He notes that this phenomenon has occurred within the last decade.
Inactivity and poor nutrition are at cause here. Eating only sweet, salty, greasy, and soft food results in what Sears calls NDD: Nutrition Deficit Disorder.
He states that the main nutrient deficiency in American kids is a lack of omega-3 fatty acids (the fish oils). These fats nourish the brain and the eyes. Important to all of us, they are especially important to the young.
Both flavored fish oils and fruit chewies are available at natural product stores. Add flavored oils to smoothies, starting with about 1/4 teaspoon.
Flax seeds and oil are nutritious, but only about 10 percent of the oil is converted to omega-3. You gotta “Go Fish!”
With few exceptions, our advice comes from the very thorough Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, 2nd Edition (2003) by Janet Zand, ND, Robert Roundtree, MD, and Rachel Walton, RN.
These three health experts recommend several modalities to treat childhood health problems effectively. They include conventional and alternative approaches as well as diet and nutritional supplement recommendations.2
Although we discuss pesky complaints here, the heart of the book is an A-to-Z reference of over 100 childhood ailments from acne to whooping cough.
Practical advice on when to take your child to the doctor and exact emergency treatments are also included.
In addition, there are discussions on all the modalities, chapters on pregnancy and newborn care and home safety, and a section containing various therapies, such as behavior mod for weight control. One of the appendices is age-appropriate doses of vitamins and herbs.
Savvy parents have a copy of Smart Medicine….as a reference. It is also a perfect gift for both already parents and expectant parents. (Think baby showers. I have purchased four copies, including a used one for my reference library.)
2 Alternatives included are herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupressure procedures.