I’ve got to say that life in a large, sick family can be quite trying. I often think of the verse, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, know that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and entire lacking nothing.” and wonder why I’m not perfectly patient. I’ve certainly had some practice. 🙂
With 12 people in our household it can take a l-o-n-g time for a virus to run its course and while sometimes some family members don’t get sick, sometimes some of us will suffer through it twice.
Unfortunately illness is a fact of life in our fallen, sinful world. We know that everything, including illness, is ordained by the God who loves us and is ultimately for our good and His glory. For this reason we pray regularly for good health and long life for our family. We also require our children to obey their parents that they may claim the promise associated with that command.
Of course there are also some material things that we can do. In our house we figure that the best defense is a good offense and we do several things to try to prevent illness from arriving. Many of the choices that we make for other reasons have the side benefit of decreasing illness.
- Because we homeschool and are members of a family integrated church, our kids aren’t often in large groups of age-segregated kids.
- We avoid processed food and don’t eat a lot of sugar.
- We eat mostly whole foods and lots of fruits and vegetables.
- We try to make sure everyone gets enough sleep. Naps and early bedtimes reign in our house.
- During cold and flu season we often take Olive Leaf Extract before we head out into public.
When someone succumbs to an illness we take measures to prevent it’s spread. I’m not claiming that these measures are completely effective, but every little bit helps, right?
Except in extreme circumstances we do not attempt to isolate the sick child. That tactic simply doesn’t work at our house. Inevitably after a day of reminding everyone to stay out of the sick room, reminding the sick child to please pkeep the door closed and comforting the sick and now lonely child, one of the little ones will sneak into the sick room and DRINK OUT OF THE SICK CHILD’S CUP! Isolation doesn’t work very well for us.
We try to keep things extra clean. We use antibacterial spray (usually vinegar) on light switches, door knobs and other things the sick children have come in contact with. We run the dishwasher on the extra hot cycle and we run toothbrushes through the dishwasher everyday.
Everyone receives immune boosters (like olive leaf or echinacea), fresh air and lots of exercise. We also use air and water filters.
We believe that God created our bodies to fight illness in the most efficient way possible, so when someone succumbs to an illness our goal is to support their body as it fights it off and comfort them as they get through it.
- We avoid antibiotics as much as possible. I’m not a doctor, so don’t just listen to me, do your research and talk to your doctor, but there are a lot of things for which doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics that can safely be allowed to run their course (this article lists pros and cons of using antibiotics for ear infections) or treated by more natural means. Antibiotic use is not risk free and trust me, the complications can be much worse than the illness that they are being used to treat.
- We don’t proactively give fever reducers or other medicines, but we will use them to keep children (and adults) more comfortable, especially if they are unable to sleep.
- We use chicken broth, lemon and honey, ginger ale and other comfort and healing foods that are appropriate to the illness.
- We use a crib mattress on the floor for small children who are vomiting. They can easily sleep next to mom and dad’s bed and it’s much easier to wash a small crib sheet as opposed to all the bedding on a twin sized bed.
- We use natural antivirals (like garlic).
- Sick kids get some special privileges. They get to spend the day listening to stories on CD, watching an occasional DVD and listening to lots of read alouds. They also get lots of extra snuggling.
Be sure to visit the other moms of many to read how they wage war on germs.
What tips do you have for preventing and treating illness? I’m always open for suggestions.
Mark your calendars because on November 4th the 4 Moms will share ideas for home made Christmas gifts and crafts and we’ll ask you to link up your best ideas.