Healthy Child, Happy Child

Few quotes are more appropriate to parenting than this one.

“Worrying is like a ROCKING CHAIR, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere” – Unknown

Healthy Child Happy Child

And if there is one thing parents worry about most, it is the health of their children. I am no exception. The anxiety of ensuring that I was doing the right thing was almost palpable at home. Added to that, all the stories we heard about the negative effects of junk food – read chocolates, chips, fizzy drinks, crazy bakery products.

Now, my son suffered from severe wheezing until he was about eight years old. This is a common ailment in the city we live in. Every other day, we’d be running to the doctor and return home, armed with a prescription for inhalers, antibiotics and syrups.

Getting him to swallow that syrup was a major challenge. So I had a brilliant idea (or so I thought). I got a large syringe and used it (without the needle of course) to squirt the syrup right into his mouth. The next thing I knew – he would instantly squirt it back on me, value adding the contents of his tummy to it.

I’d transcend to the next step to worry about whether I should give him another dose (how!?!) because he’d puked it all out. The funny thing through all this was – he’d be so cheerful. Like it was play time. Definitely not child’s play for me though.

Have you noticed, how, unlike adults, children are in amazingly good spirits the minute they begin to feel better?

We had to find a solution, and it was not syrup

We decided to request the doctor to substitute syrup for tablets. A rather surprised doc would oblige, marveling over how unusual this was. What did he know? He didn’t have to actually drink the syrups! I wonder whether he has ever had to gulp down 30 ml of yucky tasting flavored bitter liquid whose aftertaste never seems to leave the tongue, ever!

So! When the time came to take the medicine, our man would want the tablet crushed and mixed with honey and spooned into his mouth. I would secretly have a good laugh because this looked like we were now making the syrup at home. But no way was I going to mention it to him, because in his mind, it was honey mixed with a powder!

Then there were the inhalers. How does one get a 4-year old to inhale properly? Especially when he loved to hold it in his mouth with one hand and move the other shoulder and arm as though he was dancing the bhangra saying “ahu-wahun u-ahu-ahu-wahun“? That usually cracked us both up and we would end up dissolving in laughter. Whether the medicine dose dissolved into his respiratory tract we did not know.

On the days he actually tried to inhale, his cough would get progressively worse and there’s nothing more painful that watching a little child going through bouts of cough, each lasting 15-20 minutes at a time. Tiring for the child. Miserable for the parents. At some point, he would be drowsy and sleep off, only to be woken up with another bout of cough. Tough times. It broke my heart to see a constantly happy fella suffer like this.

How we tackled it

We switched to homeopathy. Medicine times turned to much pleasanter times. But more importantly, we ensured a healthy diet with zero outside food, breathing exercises to strengthen the lungs, physical activity and avoided the triggers of the coughing – candy, lollypops and any powdery stuff that irritated the airways. Children love lollypops and our kid was no different. Add to that the birthdays of various kids that brought in all kinds of chocolates. So hard to resist. It took a lot of patience and perseverance, and constant reminders. Somehow, we emerged successful in overcoming that wheezing.

The outcome is – today, he understands the importance of health. It is no fun indulging for temporary pleasure and suffering at leisure, at our cost. And the best part? It is much more fun when the family is united in making healthy choices.

If the Almighty would grant me one wish, I’d ask that children under five years of age be free from ailments and grow up healthy, and then, give them the gift of a healthy immune system to step forth in life. Not much to ask, is it?

Vidya Sury is a happy work-at-home Mom who relishes the joy of parenting and growing up with her son. She is a freelance writer, business blogger and social media enthusiast and loves DIY, Coffee, Music, Photography, Family, Friends and Life.  She believes that Happiness is a DIY Project. She blogs at www.vidyasury.com and tweets as @vidyasury.

  • Good work, Vidya. I can understand what you went through. My elder son also suffered from allergies, still does. But, they have gotten better with age. Yes, we suffered a lot during his early years. And, I gave up on syrups as well. Even these days, haldi milk, ginger honey, steaming etc. are the preferred options. I guess, we need to really medicate the kids only in extreme situations. Their immunity builds if we allow their systems to fight out the disease.

    • You are right, Rachna. We’re big believers in home remedies because the side effects are more like side benefits. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes mandatory to go to the doc. Ironically, today I had to take him to the doc because of a persistent dry cough. You know how Bangalore is! Sigh. And guess what? He has been prescribed inhalers for three weeks. Nights are worst as the cough can rob sleep.

      Thank you for commenting. 🙂

      • Hugs to both of you! It is terrible to see your kid suffer. With wheezing, one can’t help avoid inhalers. One doctor even said that you need to move out of Bangalore :(. I suffer from allergies too but luckily not this bad.

        • Rachna, we almost moved out from this city a few years ago….then a turn of events put a stopper on that plan. What drove us nuts was – we would take a two day trip somewhere and Vidur’s cough would disappear. The minute we returned, it would start. It seemed to ease off – but Nov-Dec-Jan is always a tough time regardless of how careful we are. Sigh! Thank you – hugs back!

  • A brilliant way to go – Homeopathy !!! I would totally agree with your choice of that medicines. Even when my daughter was constantly being infected with cold and cough, the regular antibiotics didnt work at all. A 3 month homeopathy course did the wonder for her and she got better !!!

    • Yes, stressing on healthier options to the child is indeed the most important thing a parent can do !!!

      • Uma, you are right. Antibiotics only address the problem temporarily, while homeopathy is known to address the cause. For the long run, of course, a healthy lifestyle is best. At least it helps one handle any health issues that crop up more easily! We follow some amazingly effective home remedies for most things. A far tastier way to tackle bitter issues. 🙂

  • I understand. A lot of perseverance is needed. I often say this. I am very lucky in that manner..touch wood. with both my kids. They don’t have any allergies so far of any kind. Even the place we live has high pollen and allergic prone. I know some friends’ kids who suffer from food allergies and here in the U.S, at least 4 or 5 kids in a class have different kinds of allergies.. 🙁 It is hard on them, but you know the kids get so used to it..they themselves ask before eating any new food. Does this have nuts? Does this have eggs? etc..I really appreciate them.

    • Oh, Latha, my heart really goes out to kids with allergies, and who have to be conscious all the time. We used to have a couple of kids in our apartment complex, who had juvenile diabetes. It would be so heart-breaking to see them attend birthday parties, just munching on a couple of marie biscuits while the others freaked out on cake and chips and other goodies.

      Somehow, building immunity has become so much more of a challenge these days than it used to be before.

      God bless your children and may they always be healthy!

      • You are right. Building immune system is a big challenge. That’s why many times, I let them stay dirty. Play wherever they want etc.. I let them eat what they want. Because at home, I don’t buy junk at all. So, the only time they get to eat is at birthday parties..at that time, parents complain on how much soda the kids are drinking, but I don’t because that is the only time they get to drink it…. 😛 I think I am digressing.. Thank you so much Vidya. Hope Vidur copes up with everything and grows into a strong man.

        • Not digressing at all, Latha. I don’t believe in that sort of control either. First of all, it is embarrassing to be on their backs…and like you, I buy no junk so for the once in a while indulgence – I leave it to him to judge.

          Currently, some renovations are going on nearby and we’re kind of swamped in dust, in spite of all the dust sheets. That’s the main reason for the intermittent cough, the doctor says. Many people in the area are suffering from this. Funny thing is, it affects every one – but each individual copes differently.

          It is also the pollen season here – and those prone to wheezing are susceptible. 🙂 Thank you for your lovely wish. Vidur will cope – he’s sensible about the healthy choices.

  • My sister suffered from wheezing and my parents were so worried for her. Her asthma attacks were so worse that she had to be rushed to hospital in the middle of night quite a few times!! This continued for few years until we moved out of that city… Parents need lots of patience and perseverance to deal with it. It’s so nice that ur family finds humour in midst of all this.. Take care..

    • Oh, I can imagine, Divya. The attacks are so unexpected it is crazy! I am glad she’s better now! We almost moved out of the city a few years ago….then did not do it. 🙂 Thank you for chiming in!

  • Vidya,

    I was so happy to see this positive conclusion to an uncomfortable, heart-wrenching. Isn’t it horrible that kids have to cope with illness like this? And asthma is on the increase in children. I’m so delighted you found solutions. It took a lot of determination and discipline to implement them, which shows your love, care, and character. I’m sure this post will help many others struggling with the same dilemma. I’ve had bouts of asthma-like symptoms (much better now) so I truly appreciate your advice here.

    • Dear Sandra, Thanks so much for coming by! Lifestyle changes really are the most effective, because we have no control over the environment. Where we live, Nov/Dec/Jan is the peak season for pollen in the air and those prone to allergic coughs really suffer. Asthma is common here. But by taking good care of ourselves, we can continue to enjoy good quality of life. 🙂 Only, sometimes, the lifestyle changes are not so easy!

      Many hugs!