By Judy Coldicott ADH RCHom
First comes the fever, maybe a slight cough and a runny nose and before long your child is starting to wriggle, scratch and feel miserable.
A trip to your local doctor may confirm measles or chickenpox and the most commonly prescribed recipe is to settle down at home for a few days with your child and a bottle of Calamine Lotion, some Panadol and plenty of books, puzzles and DVDs.It is an anxious time for a parent managing the exasperating, itching stage of these eruptive diseases. As the eruption creeps over the skin, your child becomes increasingly restless and grizzly and most of us feel powerless to help.
A homeopathic approach to childhood illnesses is not only empowering for you, the parent, but utilises chemical free preparations to help ease the emotional stress your child is under, lessen the severity of the symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease. There are some good websites that give photos of the skin eruptions and details of the disease, contagious periods and typical symptoms can be helpful to track your child’s progress.
Although this information is helpful in terms of knowing what to expect, you still have an itchy, dissatisfied child, or worse still, children, to care for. As mentioned in previous issues, if you can start building a supply of homeopathic remedies up at home, you will be armed with a tool that lessens the suffering of your child and also enables you to get your sleep during an outbreak. Most remedies can be used for a multitude of ailments, so the kit you build up will be useful for many situations. You will recognise some of the suggested remedies from previous articles. Remedies mentioned here are equally useful for either measles or chickenpox. Select the remedy that most closely matches your child’s symptoms and use as directed until you see an improvement, then stop.
- Sudden rise in temperature with red congested face & pounding pulse, often with a throbbing headache
- Restlessness & delirium with bright staring eyes. Patient is thirst-less or thirsty for lemon drinks
- Rapid, violent onset with hot, red, swollen glands which are sensitive to touch
- Burning pain in throat with shooting pains to the ears, pain worse from drinking
- The onset of fever and chilliness is more gradual. Patient feels heavy & tired – child lies motionless
- Thirstlessness, watery, acrid discharge & headache above the nape of the neck. The face has a dusky pink flush to it
- Harsh, croupy, dry cough
- Eyes are droopy – patient often has difficulty keeping eyes open they feel so heavy
- Intense itching with great restlessness, worse at night and while at rest. Scratching aggravates. Great remedy during the 'itchy' phases, especially with chicken pox
- Difficulty going to and staying asleep due to the itching, thrashing about and/or aching
- Vesicles are large and itchy with clear or pus-filled fluid
- Patient may desire cold drinks, especially milk and is better for warmth – applications, showers, hotties etc
- Physical & emotional irritability – they cry if washed, touched or even looked at
- Shooting pains occur when pressure is placed on the eruptions
- Eruptions are scaly, pustular, burning & itching worse at night
- Useful when rash appears late & the chest is especially affected
- Dry, painful cough, chest discomfort, patient usually irritable
- Soreness of body & limbs causes patient to lie still
- Pale face, red eyes, frontal headaches, dry mouth & thirst for cold drinks
- Symptoms worse motion & warmth & better cold things and being still
- May be indicated if eruptions are large and become infected
- The child is very sensitive to temperature changes and feels worse at night.
- Perspiration and drooling during sleep, swollen lymph nodes, and offensive breath are strong indications for Mercurius
- If itching is so severe that the person finds it impossible to keep from scratching – or if eruptions have a nagging, burning pain – this remedy may bring relief
- The symptoms (and the person) become worse from warmth and aggravated after bathing
- Both heat and chills are felt during fever. The person may feel drowsy in the afternoon and restless and hot at night
- One of the most useful children's remedies, especially when there are lingering complaints after acute illness.
- Most useful in later stages of an illness, especially where there is a 'failure to resolve' situation and symptoms linger on
- Nasal discharges are thick & yellow; profuse tears from eyes
- Child is restless & peevish or weepy and whiny – seeks comfort. Clings to the mother, hates to be alone
- Doesn't have much energy or inclination to play, especially independently
- Desires cool air, worse from heat, thirst-less, appetite changeable or diminished
- Often earaches accompany and eye problems may linger
- Dry mouth & thickly-coated tongue; symptoms worse at night & lying down, may have a tickly cough
- This is great to dab on the rash or add to bathwater to soothe the itching and help to prevent infection.
- There are a number of natural creams available for itching and rashes – these have safe ingredients and are always good to have on hand – see your local health shop or pharmacy for availability and advice on these.
Be prepared – get yourself a small range of remedies so that you can act quickly if needed and ease the angst for your whole family.