As a first time mother I started off my parenting career on track with conventional medicine, armed with a bottle of Calpol, to solve every medical dilemma. Confronting my baby's eczema and frequent bouts of tonsillitis led me to discover alternative medicine, homeopathy in particular, and I gradually came to find other ways of dealing with teething pain and mild fevers.
Let me make it clear that I am writing from my own experience as a mother, I am not a qualified health professional, so before trying any of my suggestions consult your homeopath or doctor to make sure they are appropriate for your child and your particular needs .
In alternative medicine, fever is seen as a healthy sign that the body's immune system is doing its job. By raising the body temperature for a period the bacteria or virus causing the illness can be weakened and killed off by the body's own defence system. Suppressing fevers routinely by giving Calpol or other paracetamol, is therefore reducing the body's capacity to fight off the illness by itself. It's hard as a parent to see your child ill with fever – you want to dole out some quick fix medicine so they'll be better immediately. Often though by giving paracetamol for a mild fever you can be prolonging the illness, as the body has to fight harder against the bacteria or virus causing it and can then succumb to secondary infections.
There are alternative remedies that you can reach for instead of the Calpol bottle when your child is sick. Tissue Salts are biochemic remedies containing trace minerals in minute quantities that our bodies need for balanced health. Ferrum Phos No.4 is excellent for supporting the immune system through fever. Two of the small lactose pills dissolved under the tongue every half hour bring some relief. I experienced this myself when in bed with a fever. On taking two pills I felt the heat draining from my brow. I had to keep repeating the dose every half hour but it also helped psychologically to feel that I was taking something to help myself. There is also a very effective homeopathic preparation in drop form called Infludo by Weleda, which is a combination of remedies to help flu like symptoms.
My second and third babies got through their teething stages with the help of Chamomilla, another useful homeopathic remedy. It comes in the form of tiny lactose pills that can be put to dissolve on the baby's tongue. They soothe the discomfort and ease the pain.
If you are interested in alternative medicine and homeopathy, find yourself a good homeopath to help you understand how it works and support you through your child's illnesses. Invest in a guide to basic homeopathic remedies for home use.
It has made all the difference to me. My son never had a repeat of the tonsillitis once we stopped treating it with antibiotics and moved on to homeopathic remedies. The children still get their share of colds and flu but I have more confidence in myself and them to fight off these ailments with the true essentials: warmth, rest, love and a few remedies to support the immune system at work. I will never completely get rid of that lurking maternal anxiety wanting a quick fix whenever a child is sick, but at least I can dole out the Tissue Salts, as I mop the fevered brow and supply liquids.
NB I am talking about mild fevers over just one or two days here. High fevers and prolonged illnesses should always be checked out by a doctor or homeopath and treated by them.