Sunday, January 8, 2012

My First Aid Box

Greetings people!

A handymom not only needs tools but good ones! I can't imagine not having some essential items with me at all times so I thought I would write up a list of what to have at hand for dealing with some of the more common ailments and first aid. Some of these can be found in your local grocery store but for others, you may need to order online or go to specialty stores (for where to buy, have a look at the related tab on my home page). Most are suitable for babies but I have indicated if not.

Aloe Vera (topical only)

Aloe is one of nature's little wonders. Cut a little piece of the flesh from inside a leaf and apply to acne, wounds, insect bites and burns and you'll find instant relief. Be careful around small children as it is very bitter and although there are certain camps that advocate eating it, I wouldn't give it to a child unless indicated by a holistic professional. 


Homeopathic Arnica is great for bumps and bruises. The easiest way to use it is to massage a little on the affected area as soon as you can. The quicker you can get to it, the less chance a bump or bruise will even form. You can also administer it in pill form and this works well for excessive muscle strain or even for preventing pain at the dentist. Many women also use it to help with post childbirth trauma and some even take it prior to labour to help with pain.

Bach Flower Kids' Rescue Remedy (avoid giving to babies but works great for children over 1)

These safe, non toxic essences are made from flowers and address emotional issues by gently restoring the body's equilibrium. There are a total of 38 different essences but the one to have at hand is the "Rescue Remedy" which is a combination of 5 of the essences and can be used in times of stress or in emergencies. Great for calming down an anxious child (& mom!).

Calendula Ointment

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!" Calendula is nothing short of a miracle - homeopathic Calendula i.e. (For more on homeopathy, see my links section on the home page). This ointment has been my saving grace for diaper rashes (for some reason the ointment works better for me, not the gel or cream) and for cuts/scrapes and even eczema. Calendula is known for its soothing properties and for reducing inflammation. (Note for new moms: I used Calendula ointment for my stitches postpartum with Z and I healed much quicker than I did with R.) 

Essential Oils

Always dilute in oil before rubbing on a child's skin (Almond is a good one). You can also put a drop or two in a humidifier.

Lavender - promotes sleep, relaxant

Roman Chamomile (beware if you're allergic to ragweed) - good for colic if rubbed on tummy. Very effective when combined with Lavender. Can also help with teething babies that are irritable - rub on their chests and tummies and can also rub gently into affected jaw

Eucalyptus Radiata (better not to use with a newborn baby. Can use after 6 months and even then very diluted) - very effective for colds and coughs. Promotes easy breathing, especially for colds with the sniffles

Echinacea - (not recommended for children under 1. If younger and you are breast feeding, you can take it yourself and it will be passed to your child)

Echinacea is a great herb to have at hand. You can buy it in tablet form or in liquid. Although some literature says there's no real difference, I am a firm believer in the tincture and you can get the orange flavoured kind (alcohol free) which my children love. You can mix it in some water or juice if you find it a little strong but I usually just drop it directly into their mouths :-) Why add more dishes to wash than you need to??!!

During a cold or any other illness in fact, giving regular doses of echinacea (I usually do a dose every hour for the first couple of days) speeds up the recovery time and if you catch it early enough, can even prevent a full blown attack. The key *and I can't stress this enough* is to dose frequently and according to weight. It's usually a drop per pound but check the label as different companies may have other recommendations.

For preventative use, dose a few times a day and follow the "1 week on 1 week off" rule as it loses its potency if administered for too long in one go.

Fennel seeds

Fennel is a great carminative (i.e. helps to expel trapped wind) and can be used for colic. Best way to dose a young 'un is by boiling a tablespoon of seeds in a few cups of water and letting it steep into a tea for a few minutes. Add to a bottle or give a few drops with a spoon. For mothers like me who wanted to exclusively bf for a given time, take the fennel tea yourself throughout the day and the benefits should pass through you. Gripe water which is big across the pond in the UK usually contains fennel but, in my opinion, giving it without the added preservatives is more effective. (Note for bf moms, drinking fennel tea can also promote milk supply).

Garlic Mullein Oil

This oil does wonders for ear infections. The garlic component fights the infection (it is a natural antibiotic) and mullein is a flower that has soothing properties and helps with the inflammation and pain. Warm the bottle by sitting it in hot water for a few minutes and then put a few drops into the affected ear every few hours for the first few days. You can plug the ear with a cotton ball for maximum benefit. I fought off a bad case Z when she was 2 with this and Echinacea and managed to avoid giving her antibiotics. Also, interestingly, she never got one after that.


Grapefruit Seed Extract is a natural antibiotic and helps fight infections in a similar fashion to Echinacea. The key again is to give often and for a few days at least. It is extremely bitter so please don't ever give it undiluted! I usually mix it in some juice (the sweeter ones are better, try mango and orange for e.g.) and give a 'shot' every few hours. 

Vitamin C

I had always heard that Vitamin C was a good preventative remedy and was also effective in warding off infections if taken in high doses. I got firsthand experience of this when I saw how giving it to Z in the early stages of her cold managed to prevent it from getting out of hand and from going to her chest (which unfortunately is the case with her every time she gets a cold. Sigh.). Sounding like a broken record I know, but you  do need to give it often for it to truly do its thing and since this vitamin is water-soluble, it is not toxic even in very high amounts. I usually give the kids a tablespoon of the liquid variety (see my Where to Buy section) every hour until I see a noticeable difference. 

Get in touch if you have any questions!



No comments:

Post a Comment