This would have to be one of my most common questions in practice. My child has a cold/fever/bug… is there something we can take to get over it?
Inspired by my own recent head cold, I took note of everything I did to support my body through it. I’m currently breastfeeding, which means I couldn’t take a lot of herbs or medication even if I wanted to. And honestly, I don’t think you need to anyway!
Before we talk about how to get over a virus, let’s cover some really important information first.
It is absolutely normal for your child to catch bugs.
In fact, it is beneficial for them to catch things! Children who catch 6 or more mild infections in the first few years of life are less likely to have allergies and immune issues once they hit school age. Infections prime the immune system, a process called antigenic stimulation, and helps the child’s system learn dangerous from safe exposures. It is the job of the immune system to learn this so it can kill bugs effectively, but not mount responses against foods (ie allergies).
By now, most of us have heard about the hygiene hypothesis. If you keep your environment too clean, you’re more likely to have allergies, lowered resistance to infection and more. Research has shown that children raised on farms, in mud, and allowed to get dirty tend to have healthier immune systems than children raised in hygienic bubbles.
Fevers help your body fight infection.
I know a lot of parents are worried about fevers. When it comes to fevers, it is important to treat the child, not the fever (unless it gets super high!). A fever isn’t necessarily bad. It raises the body temperature to the exact temperature that inhibits viral replication. So it stops the infection from progressing, and allows the immune system to come in and clean up.
The other benefit of a fever is that it helps the body clear itself of other damaged or abnormal cells. So it is kind of like a little whole body clean up!
If your child has a high fever, and you are concerned, please consult your health provider. However if they have a mild fever and are otherwise fine, help them ride it out and recover from the virus.
How to beat a virus quickly
The average time for a virus to run it’s course in a healthy body is 3-4 days. Though I think the past few years, the viruses are much worse and seem to take a lot longer (do you agree?). As a rule of thumb, a common cold will be gone in a few days. A stronger more virulent virus may take 7-10 days.
Make sure you’re eating nutritious foods! Cooking is the last thing you want to do when you’re sick, I get it. But it’s so easy to forget how much nutrition is in our food! Hence the saying “food is medicine”.
We are a keto/paleo household, so for me a nutritious meal is a slow cooked, bone broth meal. Nourishing for the gut, easy to digest, full of vegetables for some vitamins and minerals.
Some of my favourite recipes are on the blog:
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, I’d still suggest you stick to cooked foods as they are easier to digest. A yummy soup with vegetable stock!
Remove some foods
- I have a very sensitive system, so under any moments of stress I choose to remove nightshades from my diet. My adrenals get exhausted very very quickly and nightshades are an adrenal stimulant. I find I recover much faster from periods of stress when I steer clear of nightshades.
- If you eat dairy, it would be a good time to reduce your dairy consumption. Dairy can sometimes contribute to mucous production and is also inflammatory. It may prolong your recovery time.
Rest is so restorative! I get that when us mothers are sick we have to keep on going. But get as much rest as you can. Let the mama guilt go and sit on the couch for a day.
If it’s your child who is sick, let them sleep as much as they like. If they’re little, they’ll probably want to sleep in the comfort of your arms. Let them – it helps regulate their temperature, provides them comfort, and helps them feel safe.
Hydrated bodies work better! We are made of 70% water. Our enzymes, cells and processes all work much better well fully hydrated. I sometimes find drinking a lot of water difficult, even on the best of days.
While I was sick, I used an immunity blend of tea. It tastes yummy and it helps my immune system kill the bug! I drank about 4 cups of this tea a day while I was in the acute phase of the virus. Maternitea Immunitea is stocked on my online store in Wild & Free Boxes. I am not a huge tea drinker but every single one of the Maternitea range I have tried has done exactly what it said it would (and has tasted so good too!).
If you’re going to get a supplement, I am absolutely loving the Bio-fermented Olive Leaf Extract by Henry Blooms. You can get it online or from any Chemist Warehouse! It’s safe for kids over 3. It has a warning for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, as do most natural supplements. However with Remy being 9 months old I was comfortable using one dose each day. It is basically probiotics and olive leaf extract in one! For those of you with older children, my 3 year old loved the taste of it so I’d recommend it for them too.
We have all heard that vitamin C, zinc, probiotics etc help infections. By all means, if you have them on hand, take them too. However I don’t believe they’re necessarily essential to help your body recover. I also don’t think they work as well as the olive leaf extract.
Now, maybe this virus I had was going to last 24 hours anyway. We will never know the natural history. But I woke up in the morning with a sore throat, blocked nose and blocked sinuses. After all of the above over the course of a day, the following day I woke up completely clear of cold symptoms. I don’t usually respond that quickly but made a bigger effort to take care of myself, rather than push through.
Do you have a favourite home remedy for getting over a viral infection?