General Guide to Managing Illness

child sleepingI’ve found that with various common illnesses that have come our way (thankfully not too often), there are usually some things I can do that are beneficial for healing, regardless of what the illness is: be it the common cold, stomach bugs or food poisoning, chicken pox, and others.

First things first: I realize that there are other factors involved in managing illness than what I have here.  I can only pass on what I have found works for us as a family.  You will have to work out what works around your individual factors, such as any medications being taken, food intolerance’s and special diets, what your health professional has recommended, and so forth.

Below are only the things we have done that have been effective.  I’m sure there are many others.  I hope you find some ideas here to pick and choose from, according to the particular situation you might have, and please feel free to share things that have helped you.

Food and Nutritional Support

Generally, light food that is easily digested is the best way to go (particularly in the beginning), as your child’s body needs to put its efforts into fighting off the illness and not digesting heavy foods.  Watch and listen to your child though, as their appetite might come back sooner than you expect and take the opportunity to fill them with plenty of nourishing foods.

I find the best things to feed us during times of illness are:

  • Broth (and soups made from homemade broth)
  • Fresh fruit (seasonal is best)
  • Vegetable juices (with carrot, leafy greens, apple, beetroot and a little ginger)
  • Smoothies made from fresh juice, kefir and homemade yoghurt with added boosters such as spirulina (but avoid adding dairy as it is mucous-forming and can aggravate)
  • Banana/berry ice-cream – banana through your champion juicer (or pineapple is good too)
  • Stewed apple
  • Simply prepared vegetables
  • Pureed vegetables added into hummus
  • Eggs
  • Fish (preferably fresh if you can get it)
  • And it goes without saying, avoid sugar of all kinds (a little honey should be OK), avoid highly processed foods, and you might want to consider going easier on red meat. I find chicken is a better option for us.
  • You may also want to consider how you prepare these foods, and try to gently cook meats and vegetables to reduce oxidative stress on the body. (eg. Don’t fry at high temperatures, or cook with olive oil).


Health Boosters

  • Ginger – calming on stomach and digestion. It can help with nausea, with clearing sinuses, and has anti-inflammatory properties.  Have it as a tea, added to a bath to help with achy muscles, finely grated in a rice dish, or a little in your veggie juice or lemon and honey drink.
  • Turmeric– an anti-oxidant and is anti-inflammatory.  Turmeric has been known to assist with a number of ailments including arthritis, poor digestion, gas and bloating, candida, heart health, and many others.  Go on, google it and see what you find. 🙂
  • Garlic – we all know it by now. Garlic has an incredible property called allicin, which is a natural antibiotic and can fight infection and bacteria.  Phillip Day has written a superb book on it.  Garlic is rich in antioxidants, and is used in heart health, and to boost the immune system.  Rather than wait until you or your loved one is sick, take through the winter months as a preventative measure against winter nasties.



  • Echinacea – this is our favourite immune booster and we usually use the one that Kiwi Herbs makes (read about their products with Echinacea here) In the US, Gaia Herbs is a company whose product range I would trust.
  • Vitamin C is the single most important supplement I would recommend.  If taken to bowel tolerance, it will bind itself and neutralise the circulating toxins, and then carry them from the body.  Vitamin C is not converted in the body like other Vitamins, but has to be taken in the diet or by supplementing.In times of intense illness, the body will run out of Vitamin C stores and for optimal recovery so you will need to supplement.  If your body, or that of your child’s, runs out of Vitamin C, you body will struggle to perform the necessary functions to get fully well.  I’ll put a couple of links at the bottom of this post so you can look into this more.We prefer a Vitamin C ‘complete’ product, which has all three ascorbates with bioflavenoids (there are a number of these around).  There is also another product called Lypo-sphere (which uses sodium ascorbate) that we’ve used which is excellent.  It comes in sachets and is like a gel that you can sneak inside the sides of your child’s mouth from the end of your finger if they won’t take it off a spoon.

    Vitamin C is a huge topic that I’ll post more on in future.

  • Probiotics
    Second to the most important supplement to take, I add in a quality probiotic to my children’s daily regimen.  I would prefer them to take this every day, but since money is tight, we rely on natural probiotics when there is no sickness around, including kefir, fermented vegetables (such as sauerkraut), and homemade yoghurt (made from raw milk, not the powdered kind from the supermarket shelf).


Other Therapies

  • Relaxing bath with a few drops of essential oil. (We like DoTerra oils – here’s a super lady that’s a consultant for these beautiful oils.
  • Gentle massage with natural oils and balms. (We like Tui balms).
  • Burning aromatherapy oils (eg. Eucalyptus for stuffy noses).  If using an oil burner isn’t safe in your environment, you can put a few drops on some gauze or tissues and place out of reach of young ones (you could tape to the wall up high). The smell will still fill the room.
  • Vitamin D – get your daily dose of sunshine.
  • Water – there’s some great info on this website. Water is often the most over-looked remedy when it comes to preventing illness and assisting with healing.  I try and drink 2-3 litres a day when I’m not breastfeeding, and more when I am.  Try and drink half of your body weight in ounces.

glass of water

Emotional and Spiritual

  • Prayer pray and lean on the Holy Spirit to provide help and strength.  Pray over your children and let them hear words of faith and life over them.
  • Music – I find that having worship music on constantly helps everyone.  It sets an atmosphere in your home of peace.
  • Baby-wearing – you may like to keep you baby close to you for their comfort, but make sure you watch their temperature.
  • Speak hope – when the children have had a rough patch where there’s been pain and discomfort, I’ve found speaking words in their ear gently will speak to their soul.  ‘It’s going to be OK’, ‘You’re going to be better soon’. ‘We’ll get through this together’.  ‘I’m here.’
  • Love with tenderness and grace, and even if you’re low on sleep, try and extend grace to their sibling squabbles and frustrations as they learn to manage their emotions through their illness.  Don’t expect too much, and remember that once it’s all over, you all will have grown through it.


Looking After Yourself

Mum’s needs often go unmet when illness is running its course through the children, but it’s important you remember to tend to your needs.

Consider taking the following (important if you are breastfeeding and your child is sick):

  • Fermented cod liver oil
  • Vitamin C with bioflavenoids
  • Probiotic
  • If your budget can manage a comprehensive multivitamin, add this in too.

And don’t say no to the offer for a healthy meal dropped off from a friend. 🙂  Every little bit helps.

Helpful Websites

Here are some sites to refer to when working out a plan for managing specific illnesses.

  • Dr Joseph Mercola – general information on health
  • Natural News – general information on health
  • Food Matters – short articles on a variety of health topics (search under News)
  • Beyond Vaccination – has brilliant information and resources for parents to manage childhood diseases (to go the Forum).
  • Vitamin C (and tons of other brilliant health information) –  Dr Andrew Saul

Here’s another post I’ve written that you might be interested in: Home Remedies

{Read my Health Disclaimer}.

11 thoughts on “General Guide to Managing Illness

  1. kartwheels

    There are some great things here, thank you for posting these healthy things. We also use elderberry for an immune booster 🙂
    I will be following along and checking back in to see what you have to say! Have a great day, Karen

      1. kartwheels

        We currently buy “Nature’s Way Sambucus” online from Vitacost as it has the elderberry and a bit of raspberry and tastes delish. I plan to make my own syrup this year because elderberries grow in the wild in Sequoia- yum- and then there will have to be elderberry jam as well!

  2. tendersaplingmama

    What a wonderful list – thanks! Often, it’s easy to forget a time-tested remedy when in the midst of sick babes and sleep deprivation. This list will be a helpful reminder of many of our favorites and some things we haven’t tried.


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