When it comes to illnesses and health problems of our children, the protective side of every mommy wakes up, making us doubt everything and everyone, even the pediatrician! Many of us resort to home remedies and self-medication during such phases. A lot of us do it because we don't subscribe to allopathy; we want to keep our kids away from 'chemicals' as far as possible. While it is true that we should not make pill-popping a habit, it is not always a good idea to play doctor-doctor -i t can be downright dangerous!
Dangerous Home Remedies That You Should NOT Try On Your Baby
Applying Alcohol for Teething and Fever
Even adults are recommended to stay away from alcohol, and yet some parents actually use alcohol to ease teething pain in their children! The logic is – it eases the pain in the tender gums. Alcohol sponge baths are also recommended as a common remedy for fever, since the evaporation of the alcohol from skin surface brings about rapid cooling and reduces body temperature. But these are both harmful practices.
Alcohol in teething babies can lead to intoxication. Alcohol may even enter the babies lungs in the form of vapours (during a sponge-bath) – not a good idea at all. It can land your baby straight in the hospital due to seizure, or even coma.
Instead – Resort to the good old home remedy of keeping cold water strips on the baby's body for fever. For teething, you can give the baby teething rings and toys.
Hot Oil for Ear Wax
Let's admit it – we are all guilty of having tried various methods to remove excess ear wax at some point in time including car keys, pens, pencils...you get the drift, yes? When it comes to our kids though, we resort to the dear old cotton bud, or hot oil to get rid of ear-wax and even to treat ear infections.
But did you know that ear-wax is not supposed to be removed at all, in the first place? Yes. Ear-wax is the bodies natural lubrication that prevents your the inners of your ear from drying up. Ear-wax also has antibacterial properties.
Instead – Make sure you simply wipe the ears clean and dry after each bath, and do not worry about the ear-wax! Let it be. In case of an ear-infection, do not self-medicate. Take your child to the doctor immediately.
Inducing Vomiting for accidental consumption of Paraffin
What could a baby possibly put in his mouth that might have paraffin? The most common thing is – crayons. Next in line comes candles, several beauty products (petroleum jelly for example), kerosene (which many households may have as a cleaning agent for stains), etc. Usually paraffin is not fatal if swallowed in very small quantities. However, it is still one of the most common substances that lands many children in the hospital each year as an unintentional poisoning case.
The first instinct of a mother whose child has swallowed paraffin is to make the child vomit. The intention is to get the paraffin out of the child's system as quickly as possible. However, causing a child to vomit may in fact take the paraffin into the child's lungs, where it can cause greater damage.
Instead – Ask your child to drink copious amounts of water. This will rid the body of paraffin in a less damaging way (through urination). If condition does not improve, take your child to the hospital immediately.
Applying H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) for Scrapes
Babies will play, crawl and move around and they will fall and scrape their limbs. However the last thing you should use to clean or treat a scrape or any superficial wound, is H2O2, or hydrogen peroxide. The bubbling that you witness when you pour H2O2 on a wound might look satisfying to you; you might think those are the germs dying. But in reality, those are living cells of your body dying away! Why would you want to do that?
Instead – Clean the wound under running tap water. Dab it with a clean dry cloth. Apply pressure to arrest bleeding. You may even use a good antiseptic. If the wound looks particularly nasty, take your child to a doctor to get a good dressing for the wound.
Kerosene for Head Lice
The logic behind this home remedy is – the kerosene causes the head lice to suffocate and die. However, the skin of your scalp is much more sensitive than the skin on the rest of the body, because it remains covered and protected by your hair. This is why it should never be exposed to substances like kerosene. Also, eggs of headlice still remain viable even after a kerosene wash. So not only is this remedy dangerous, its also inefficient! What's the point?
Instead – Buy a head-lice comb. Wash your baby's hair at least thrice a week (at least till the infection clears out). Consult a pediatrician about effective head-lice medicines – oils, solutions, shampoos. Topical application of such substances is very effective and is a good and safe way to get rid of head lice.
Use your baby's urine for eye Infections and Eye Stye
Old wive's tales will tell you to use your baby's urine to treat an eye infection. Not only is that gross, but also harmful. Try and imagine this for a second – you are actually using the body's waste product to treat an infection. Why would you ever think that is a good idea?
Additionally, just like with acne, you might be tempted to burst an eye stye your child may have. This again is a bad idea for obvious reasons: the tool you use to burst the stye can in fact give you sepsis or an eye infection. It may further worsen the situation. On the other hand, bursting may cause the infection to spread to a wider surface.
Instead – Make sure you wash your baby's's eyes with clean water several times a day to prevent an eye stye. Visit a doctor to know about medication which can subside the stye. Usually eye styes subside on their own in a couple of days. If not, eye drops can help you deal with the situation in a safe way.
Tooth-paste for Baby Acne
Acne is common in teens and expected as a part of puberty, but canmean something serious if your baby has it. WHile toothpaste is a common remedy used by teens it isn't effective and will cause more harm than good on your baby's skin. Quite a few people even resort to controlled bursting of the pimple.However, doing so can actually make the situation worse byscarring the spot permanently.
Instead – Keep your babby's face clean with a mild soap and dry it gently. Do not try to get rid of acne by any external means. Typically, baby acne will resolve on its own. If it persists, contact your paediatrician who may prescribe a medicated cream or ointment specially for your baby's sensitive skin.
Some tips to remember while trying out home remedies:
If you are still determined on trying home remedies for your child, we have the following tips for you.
It is okay to treat following at home (in the initial stages):
Common cold in the initial stages can be treated at home. Other common illnesses include sore throat, congestion of the synus, coughing, and a runny nose. Most traditional Indian home remedies for cold work well. However, this should only be done if the cold is in its initial stages. If its bad, visit a doctor.
Never treat following at home:
If your baby is 3-months of age (or younger) and is running a temperature more than 100 Fahrenheit, do not opt for home remedies. Signs of choking or breathing difficulties, vomitting, diarrhoea, also call for immediate intervention of the doctor.
Keep in mind the dosage:
The most common mistake parents commit while resorting to self-medication and home remedies is not monitoring the amount of medicine they are administering to their child. The dosage for any medicine is always decided according to age and weight of an individual – adult or child. It is best to consult a pediatrician to find out the correct dosage for your child. If the pediatrician is not available, then try consulting a general physician.
It is understandable that you may be a bit anxious about your child's health. However, taking matters into your own hands is not always the best approach. Always seek expert guidance and advise. Better safe than sorry!