The “Do Nothing” Approach to Illness – Your Ticket to Wellness?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 2, 2012

You’ve likely heard of unschooling, a homeschooling philosophy where no formal curriculum is typically used and children learn based on what they are motivated to seek out and master on their own as well as natural life experiences.

While I don’t homeschool myself and so cannot attest to the validity of this educational philosophy, I would like to suggest that open-minded parents consider a similar approach to childhood illness and even illness in themselves.   When a child seems to be coming down with a cold or flu, how about this for a novel idea:

DO NOTHING.

I myself have followed the Do Nothing approach to illness for nearly 13 years.  At first I did it without even realizing exactly what I was doing and then about 9 years ago formally put it into practice after attending a talk by Dr. Tom Cowan MD about how illness is actually beneficial to the body and is a way for valuable detoxification to occur so that an improved level of vitality and maturity can be experienced by the child once the illness is over.   This talk was a light bulb moment for me as I suddenly realized that my Father, a retired Family Physician, had followed the exact same philosophy while I was growing up.

Old school medicine is to let the illness run its course, focus on rest and nourishment only, and intervene only if it becomes evident that the patient cannot handle the situation on his/her own.

My Dad’s rule of thumb was to wait 2 weeks before doing anything therapeutically to facilitate the conclusion of the illness.   The result?  He rarely if ever needed to intervene at all as my brothers and sisters and I got well just fine on our own within that span of time.

Even when I got salmonella at a fast food chicken joint when I was 13, Dad did nothing.  It was a struggle, but I recovered fine within about 10 days.  No trip to the hospital, no saline drip, no antibiotics.  I realize this might seem extreme to some people, but my Dad had his reasons and he obviously made the correct  judgment that I was strong enough to handle it on my own.

Ditto when I had strep throat the summer I turned 15.  No antibiotics were prescribed and I recovered completely.  Most interesting is that I have never gotten strep again despite repeated and close contact exposures.  My children seem immune also and have never gotten strep.  Did recovery on my own impart immunity from further strep infections that I possibly passed along to my kids? Anecdotal for sure but possibly so.

Too many parents in my view are far too quick to treat a child’s illness, either by running to the doctor for a prescription or by running to the healthfood store to obtain a natural or herbal based remedy.

Trying to stop a cold in its tracks when it is first coming on and hasn’t quite taken hold yet is not a wise approach either in my view.

Now, I don’t want to come off as anti-treatment here.  If a child is acutely ill and is obviously not handling an illness sufficiently well on his or her own, then by all means seek out assistance from the healing professional of your choice.

As for me, though, my first course of action is Do Nothing.

Echinacea to boost immunity during cold/flu season?

No way.

Elderberry syrup to ward off a cold that you feel is coming on?

Pass.

A “preventative” dose of antibiotics because strep is making the rounds at school?

Absolutely not!

Garlic drops or pills for a cough?

No thanks.

Ibuprofen or Tylenol to bring down a high fever?

Why?  A child with a high fever will get well so amazingly fast if you let the fever do its job and having the child sip diluted fruit juice to provide sufficient blood sugar to fuel that cranked up metabolism will head off the risk of febrile seizures.

I don’t attempt to squelch symptoms and I don’t want to give my children’s immune system a crutch. Letting the body go through the natural progression of meeting a pathogenic challenge head-on and resolving it with no outside interference is something that I have observed to improve and elevate a child’s wellness to a whole new level.

I don’t think it’s coincidence that since I have adopted this approach, none of my children has required any sort of medication, antibiotics or otherwise.  They get well quickly with no relapse or secondary infection.

We’re going on 13 years now with no antibiotics – ever – for my children.

I think that’s a pretty decent track record!

Again, this article is not intended to suggest that antibiotics and medications are always bad.  On the contrary, they can be life saving in certain instances and I am all for using them at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

However, a healthy child who is simply achy and feverish from a virus is not a candidate for meds in my opinion!

Ok, I Want to Do Nothing, But I Need to Do Something!

If the Do Nothing approach strikes a chord with you, congratulations!  I think you will be pleasantly surprised and amply rewarded by implementing this approach like I have with children who rarely get sick and when they do, recover quickly with no assistance nor complications.

If you are an action oriented person, however, here are some Do Nothing suggestions that will help your child along the path to a quick recovery without in any way hampering or short circuiting the natural healing and detoxification process that is taking place:

  • Rest, rest, rest.   Our culture is way too busy and overscheduled.  Sometimes illness is just a way for the body to say “slow down and take it easy”.  Honor that message and encourage your children to just rest with no stimulation of any kind except perhaps a good book.
  • Broth and soups.  Nourishment is important during illness to provide the body with the ammunition necessary to win the battle and come out on top.   There is no food better during illness than soup made with nourishing, mineral rich, and easy to digest bone broths.  If you don’t know how to make homemade soup, you need to learn.  Soups from the store are no comparison and will likely hinder the healing process instead of helping it as they have little to no nourishment and vitality zapping MSG in large amounts.
  • Chiropractic adjustment.  Some folks find that even a minor misalignment of the spine can make illness worse.  Getting a gentle adjustment to the spine can free up blockages and facilitate healing in a beneficial way.
  • Homeopathy.   I used homeopathy when my children had whooping cough (pertussis) 6 years ago.  Homeopathy works with the body, not against it and does not stifle any of the natural healing mechanisms.   A homeopathic remedy can prove useful in certain cases of illness particularly if it is a chronic condition that doesn’t seem to resolve on its own permanently.
  • Cleansing baths.   Jumping in a warm tub of epsom salts to get the elimination routes flowing via the skin and the colon can be extremely helpful.  This is the only thing I will do if I feel “a cold coming” on as it assists the detoxification that brought the cold on in the first place.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

 

Comments (264)

  1. “Do nothing” really makes sense to me and it’s what I’ve done for myself for most of my adult life (although I did take birth control pills for a while before I was educated about it, we won’t talk about that :), and I was talked into several rounds of previcid to treat GERD which I am still healing my digestive track from). The more I learn the more I see the wisdom of letting the body handle illness.

    I’m wondering if you can give me any advice for ‘doing nothing’ with small children? I have a 2 1/2 year old who, fortunately, is rarely sick. He was on antibiotics once for an ear infection last year. I was always told that if something is an infection rather than a virus it needs an antibiotic to knock it out and prevent it from doing further damage. What is your opinion on that? Is that more mainstream medical advice that isn’t exactly true? And with a toddler who can’t fully articulate what is hurting or how badly it’s hurting, how do you determine when they need medical intervention? Any resources you could point me to would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • Ear infections are mostly viral. Even my pedi said he wouldn’t prescribe antibiotics for them unless my son was in pain for at least two weeks, which would indicate that that particular time, it was an infection. Let them run their course.

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      • When I was little (I’m 42 now) and I the very occasional ear ache, my parents always gave me medicine. I remember that my ears hurt so bad that I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain. I am so into the no medicine approach, but I can’t even imagine how horrible it would have been to have not gotten medicine. I really didn’t get a lot of ear aches, so I wasn’t on tons of antibiotics. But still. Anyway, I just felt the urge to share my story.

        I remember having strep as a kid and I got antibiotics. I think the worst thing my parents did for me was giving me allergy medicine. Occasionally I’ll take a benedryl at night if I can’t breath, but that is very, very occasionally. I’ve only, as an adult, taken antibiotics when I’ve gotten bladder infections. These were not slight. I was peeing blood and in a lot of pain. I have my limits!

        On another note, I’ve seen an acupuncturist when I’ve been on the verge of getting sick (I actually think I was getting the H1N1 Virus because my office mate had it). That knocked the sickness out, but I’m wondering if you, Sarah, would think that was too invasive. Maybe? What do you think?

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    • I generally believe in the do-nothing approach as well, but sometimes your immune system just can’t handle it. My daughter had an ear infection for a couple of months one time when we didn’t have health insurance, and it actually damaged her hearing (her hearing recovered after we got insurance and could take her to the doctor). I’ll get coughs for months, and it doesn’t go away until I go in and take steroids for it. Other than that, I generally believe in staying away from the doctor as much as possible.
      Brooke Lorren\’s last post: HMS Victory Canvas Print

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  2. The vast majority of childhood illnesses are viral, which can’t be cured by antibiotics. A trip to the doctor for a cold or moderate flu is a waste of money.

    I try to emphasize a good diet and handwashing before eating and after returning home from public places . Even after showering and handwashing, people have a enough germs to elicit an immune response and strengthen the immmune system without getting visibly ill.
    My kids can go years without getting any visible illness.

    Our children have been exposed to strep several times and not gotten it: however, in our neighborhood, several people have gotten heart valve damage from untreated strep, so I would treat it if we had it.

    Also, a person who has a sudden fever with a headache and stiff neck should be checked for meningitis.

    Reply
    • My niece had a strep growth on her heart that ruptured and went to her brain, causing a stroke. She barely survived and is now only semi-functional. This happened when she was in her mud-twenties. Although I highly believe in the do nothing approach, you really need to know what you’re doing, which can be hard for the general population to discern. Being a nurse, I feel that I have a good grasp of when something truly needs to be treated or when it should run its course. My kids usually have to just “tough it out”, which fortunately, isn’t often, since they’re rarely sick. And when they are, it’s bone broth bone broth bone broth and extra vitamin D.

      Reply
      • Best thing you can do for a stroke is start using magnesium oil NOW. But magnesium is also a well-known and well-used article in most ER’s, too. Doctor’s just try really hard to keep it a secret. There are some good books and videos about the use of magnesium and magnesium oil online. Dr. Carolyn Dean has some helpful information, as does Dr. Mark Sircus. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and is wonderful for the heart (as it is a muscle). Everyone is low on it but few even know it until it’s too late. It helps to fight the overcalcification of arteries, too.

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  3. I raised my two sons with no insurance and no vaccinations and they were rarely sick. My oldest saw a medical doctor twice in his life–once because he stuck a q-tip in his ear and broke it off and didn’t tell me when he was about 4, and once when he stepped on a nail and I wanted the doctor to open the puncture wound to irrigate it and give him a tetanus-only shot (before I realized what tetanus really was and that he didn’t need it in this case). This son had an appendicitis attack when he was 11 because he refused to eat his vegies–he only wanted meat. We cured that with an enema, and he really eats his vegies now. He turned 22 yesterday. My youngest (now 19) has never seen an M.D. They have strong immune systems and are very healthy. The only antibiotic we have ever used is colloidal silver which we make ourselves. It has cured our dog of tumors also. Sarah, this was a wonderful article and I agree with you wholeheartedly. We have immune systems–let’s let them do their work. Learn to look at that fever as your body working properly–not illness; the same with sneezes and coughs. And, that’s all I have to say about that :-).

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  4. Unfortunately, in our school district, kids are only allowed 10 days of excused absences from school per year and any illness has to be verified with a doctor’s note, or the child is considered truant. Parents do everything to reduce symptoms so their child can attend school and avoid having to pay the doctor every time their child gets sick.

    Reply
      • Isn’t that policy annoying? My daughter missed 5 days once and I received THREE letters from the district telling me of the importance of daily attendance for “my child’s benefit.” Yeah, sure. Its for THEIR benefit: If my kid is not there then they don’t get paid by the state!

        Reply
      • Oh, please — Communist Russia — again. You guys have no idea what it was living that time. You are using stereotypes without checking the source — life style, food , using/manufacturing microwaves (another one highly wrong information all over English-speaking web). People from different cultures and countries are reading it, do you think they please to see so often such terrible comparisons. Why you didn’t compare it with Communist China for a change or I’m sure we can find some other countries to point a finger.
        I’m sorry for this post, but it’s my country and I love it, it’s like Mother we always love her, even if she sometimes have problems

        Reply
        • You’re right. Russia was different.
          The government was honest and blatantly told soviet citizens they could not be exposed to outside influence. The US government, on the other hand, brain washes and manipulates it’s people to believe they are being generously granted the best of everything the world has to offer.
          Love your COUNTRY AND IT’S PEOPLE, not the government destroying it.

          And by the way, the people from different cultures reading this are not discovering anything new because they are not being manipulated by the FDA and other government agencies like Americans are.

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  5. I’ve unintentionally followed this health philosophy for awhile now as one I don’t trust “modern” medicine (excepting emergencies) and two I don’t have health insurance. Illness is the body’s way of dealing with toxins and building defenses.

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  6. hhmm. I was coughed on, in my face, for 3 hours by a ill child with a clueless and careless mother last month. I took 2 rounds of my very effective supplement two hours apart, with an extra Vitamin D each time then sucked on a Zicam, another before bed and another first thing in the morning and a final one the next night before bed. No cold ! lol

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  7. Betty – I would love to know what you would recommend for my just turned 17 year old son, who will not eat his veggies. I seriously worry about his health now but more over a lifetime if he continues. I have done everything I can think of including not buying his favorite foods and not cutting him in on any goodies or snacks.

    Reply
    • Maybe he feels bad after eating them. What kind of vegetables do you usually make? Do you cook them or eat them raw? Raw vegetables can be very hard to digest for some people. Cabbage and like vegetables can make you gassy. But it is a good idea to stop buying all processed food anyway. Meat is important for a growing man. Does he eat meat? My son loves meat especially organ meat and eats very little vegetables. I am totally fine with it.

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  8. Unfortunately, I was raised by a single mother on welfare. We were just starting to be covered for all kinds of medical stuff. As soon as I or my siblings had any syptom she rushed us off for our antibiotic, and to boot it was usually only a virus. Back then they gave out lots of antibiotics no matter what the symptoms were.
    So now I am dealing with alot of gut problems, as well as getting bronchitis every winter. I almost did not pull thru last winter with the very severe bronchitis. For the first time in my life I ended up on codeine and inhalters for two weeks. Whats neat is that I just had a 10 day bout of bronchitis and I am fully over it, no meds. I started the traditional foods back in June. We shall see. Lots of bone broths for me and my family.

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  9. Yay!! My favourite approach to illness!! This ‘method’ was passed on to me by my very own mom, a dedicated ignorer of normal-childhood illnesses. Rest, appropriate nutrition and love were her tools of choice. Sometimes, she even threw in some empathy. ;) I used to joke that, although my dad was actually a fairly high-up employee of a multi-national pharmaceutical drug company, we’d have to have limb fall off for my mom to take us to the doctor or give us a drug of any kind. I am very grateful to both my parents that they did not panic or overtreat illness. They both seemed to have excellent assessment skills, were not afraid of normal-childhood illnesses and were also not so anti-medical that they would never take us in for help if they sensed we needed support.

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  10. I’m very thankful to have found your blog!! I’ve benefitted from many of your tips and recipes! So, thank you!
    I did have a few questions regarding this post. I totally agree with everything you said. Makes total sense. However, I have two children, 5 and 2… both of whom have had febrile seizures. My 5 year old has had 2 pretty severe (with ambulance rides) and my 2 year old has had one mild one…
    As much as I would love to “ride it out” and let the fever run its course, I flashback to the seizures…
    You mentioned sipping diluted fruit juice… have you had experience with any of your kids with this being a successful deterrent to that freaky spike in temperature (in a child who has previously had a seizure)? I only ask, not to be facetious at all!!! But to see if it has worked on children who have previously had seizures (And have family history of them… me, my sisters, my mom, and grandmother…etc).

    We’ve started cleaning up our eating about 6 months ago and have noticed so much improvement and my kids have rarely been sick, which is a huge answer to prayer! But the febrile seizure thing is still in the back of my mind…

    Just wondering. Thank you! And thank you again for a great and helpful blog! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • My daughter had a febrile seizure as a child, and it was indeed very scary. We were talked into taking her to the ER by a nurse friend, but by the time we got there she was fine, and speedily recovered shortly thereafter from the illness. I have heard that if you keep the child well hydrated with diluted juice, bone broth, herb tea, lemonade, water, etc this will prevent dehydration, which is the real risk. You can also put olive oil on the bottoms of the feet and cover with socks to keep moisture in the body. The reason for the seizure is the rapid rise in temperature, not necessarily the temperature itself. Febrile seizures are usually not dangerous and will cease when the body has found its level of homeostasis. Also, homeopathic belladonna 30c is an excellent remedy for very high, fevers that come on rapidly in a child (104 and above), especially if there is redness anywhere. You can buy this at a health food store, and it would be a good idea to have it on hand as a precaution. Now that you’ve improved the diet, you can continue to expect fewer illnesses. Good luck!

      My 4 children are all in their 20s and never had antibiotics or any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vaccinations, during their childhood. I used a combination of “do-nothing,” chiropractic, herbal, and homeopathic remedies, depending on the situation. I also cooked mostly from scratch and refused to buy junk foods or sodas. None of them ever developed allergies or any serious illness and I am convinced that they are stronger adults because of this approach.

      Reply
      • thank you for the article. my issue with my kiddos isn’t random seizure episodes, they are febrile, and that is why I just wonder about bringing the fever down… :)

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        • Several of my friends have suggested to me to not push water during fevers, but to use an electrolyte drink or fruit juice to keep that electrolyte balance up. So I think febrile seizures possibly stem from similar circumstances.

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  11. I LOVE this post, and this has also been my philosophy in 14 years of caring for my 6 (now 7 including my stepdaughter) kids. When my kids are sick I might brew them hot tea with honey to soothe their throats, but other than that I do nothing… no special herbs or supplements or anything. And it works. My kids are rarely sick, have no chronic issues (asthma etc) and are well in 48 hours, tops.

    I have something to compare it to. My stepdaughter, who lives with me and my husband full time, gets the full workup every time she gets a sniffle if she’s at her mother’s. (My husband has primary custody.) I have seen how this approach prolongs and complicates simple illnesses. For example, once she had a small wart on her finger. Her mother freaked out and took her to the Dermatologist who froze it off and gave her medication to deal with the pain (it was painless on her finger). Then the now wartless finger got infected so she got antibiotics which gave her stomach pain… I could name many more examples. It’s totally ridiculous.

    When she gets a sore throat or whatever she has to spend the weekend in the ER then comes home from her mom’s with a list of instructions for us like “bathe her head with water and vinegar hourly including through the night”. What a sick kid needs most is rest, and she wakes her up to bathe her hourly? Ridiculous. (This is a 13 year old!) She also gives her herbs and Tylenol (inconsistent!?) at the same time.

    I honestly believe that giving a sick child too much attention can cause a psychological tendency to exaggerate or invent illness. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
    Carrie\’s last post: 21 Day Discipline Kickoff

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  12. How about coping with asthma in this way? If I’m not mistaken, I recall having read the do-nothing approach, or at least a gentler, non-conventional approach, can work for asthma.

    I know that doing the GAPS diet can resolve asthma, but what I’m wondering about is avoiding the mainstream meds during an attack.

    Reply
    • I have had asthma for almost 40 years and personally I would love nothing better than to avoid mainstream meds when having an attack but unfortunately mine gets too intense to avoid them most times. I have treid just about every natural remedy under the sun as a substitute with litte luck. I have been on GAPS for a year and after having been on it for 3 weeks I was able to get off all medication. After being on it for about 5 months it came back mildly. For some reason in the last few weeks since our weather has changed my asthma is flaring up strongly again and I can not tell what is causing it. For awhile taking Camu Camu would clear it out without meds but mine gets so intense that I can not do the “do nothing” approach. I also have a history of medication use as this was what my mom chose for me as a young child not knowing anything else. It’s been a struggle to get off it but GAPS has brought improvements as has herbs and acupuncture. I would say listen to your own body. If you can move through it without meds all the more power to you but you need to get to the root cause of the asthma to eliminate it completley.

      Reply
      • Thank you, Tracey. I’m struck that after such a longstanding health condition, you were able to get off the meds in just 3 weeks doing GAPS. The fluctuations since then makes sense to me as something in existence for that long will take time to completely resolve. Maybe the flare-up is another layer of healing.

        I’d like to know more about the Camu Camu, herbs and other helpful things you’ve tried.

        My question is not for myself but for a friend. If you’d care to share any more about your experiences and progress, please do so! I’ll check this for future comments.

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        • Hi Beth. Well I have found my asthma trigger! I was reacting to dairy even though I was doing GAPS friendly dairy. I did not recognize it as after being off dairy for quite awhile, it took me awhile to start reacting to it and so it slowly crept up on me. It was hard to recognize as I would not get flare ups right after consuming it but on a hunch I took it out and 3 days later I was clear again and have been ever since. I am not on GAPS anymore 100% but still apply a lot of the GAPS principles. I am asthma free again and feeling great. I have also started a protocol of daily Sodium Bentonite clay to help detox my organs, gut and colon along with BioKult probiotics. I read about the Bentonite clay on a website called Unique Healing. I do not agree with her philosophy on diet but her info on how the clay works makes a lot of sense.

          Reply
          • BTW I do not need the Camu Camu anymore and things that used to trigger me like animals do not anymore! And I do plan to eat dairy again when my gut is healed!!!

      • Just a suggestion. Have you had your hvac system cleaned and sanitzed? With winter weather we are typically inside more, in a closed environment. There are more toxins and pathogens in the air. I have my ventilation cleaned and sanitized at least every other year and run an air purifier where I sleep. There are many models. Mine is a Vornado AQS 500. They are about $110.00 and use filters which are about $35.00 for a 4 pack at QVC. They use 2 at a time and need to be replaced about once a year. I do mine on New Years. There are also some that have ion generators. I have a lot of sinus problems, more in the winter. Have had mild asthmatic symptoms (mostly wheezing) on rare occassions. I was on medication only while I was remodeling my former house with drywall dust in the air for several months. Also, if you have pets do not let them go in your bedroom, ever. My mother and grandfather as well as several nieces and nephews have had bad cases. My mother smoked for many years. None of my siblings have asthma that I know of.

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    • Hi, Beth. I’d caution against the “do nothing” policy during an attack. While it can be helpful to change diet and use herbs and/or supplements to prevent an attack and even to resolve underlying asthma, respiratory distress during an attack can be devastating – it can lead to cardiac arrest and signifciant brain injury and/or death. I work in pediatric healthcare, and I promise that this is not an exaggeration. While it doesn’t happen all the time, it is not unheard of. I’ve seen six of these sorts of cases (2 deaths and 4 devastating hypoxic injuries) in 2.5yrs. They cases have been awful for everyone.

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about using diet and homeopathy/natural remedies/supplements to prevent and or recover asthma, but these are NOT the way to go in an exacerbation.

      Reply
      • Please look up the Buteyko method for treating asthma. No drugs, just breathing exercises. There are practioners all around the United States. What helped me was eating enzyme rich food, the elimination diet…..but above all getting out of the wrong environment. For instance, the type of fiberboard you get from Ikea is a real trigger for me and many others. I was at Office Max once ordering 5 giant metal two door cabinets. I said to the salesperson, “I bet you’re wondering why I’m ordering so many at once” and I began to tell him my asthma story. He stop me, “People with asthma and allergies are coming in ALL THE TIME ordering those!”

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  13. While I like most aspects of this article, I feel like it is extreme. When it comes to herbs and whole, nourishing foods that have healing properties, I think viewing their use as some sort of medicinal intervention that interferes with the body’s healing process is silly. Instead, supplementig the the diet with, for example, the homemade elderberry syrup I’m making today, logically would helps the body on its road to recovery. I believe God made certain herbs and plants for our use in this way, and I’m very thankful!

    Reply
    • This is EXACTLY what I was going to post. I make organic elderberry syrup and we supplement (for lack of a better word) with it because it of the helpful properties. It’s a food! I feel strongly that it HELPS the immune system do the job it’s already doing and feel that we were given it for a reason as well. Our immune system is ALWAYS being introduced to things it defends against on a daily basis in our toxic world. I don’t need to let things reach an all-out illness to keep my immune system at its strongest. Antibodies are built from exposure alone because if you’re healthy, it just handles it and most time we aren’t even aware! While we do nothing at all for most things and we never need a doctor, (so I entirely agree with 98% of the article), we certainly want to help ourselves as well. Our ‘illness record’ is almost identical to Sarah’s family but we attain this through the best possible food sources and we see herbs and certain organic berries as additional immune support. I also have extended family that cannot afford to miss work so they use food as their ‘medicine’ to stay healthy so they can provide for their families.

      I know the article is not a one size fits all but it is a bit on the extreme side. If we didn’t want to use things like garlic and elderberry so the immune system could deal with it entirely on it’s own, then why are concerned about even eating healthy/nontoxic in the first place? And lastly, I just want to keep feeling good and I know my family does too, so if we head something off or shorten the misery of an illness through food/herbs, why the heck not? Its synergistic, right?

      Since our illness record is very close to what Sarah says her family enjoys, I think it shows we can all go about this in slightly different ways and get a similar result. So garlic, ginger, elderberry it is for us! And we feel super! Besides that, some of these healing foods work against other more serious conditions and diseases.

      Reply
    • I completely agree with you. I too use elderberry syrup for our family. I honestly don’t see harm in using it.

      And to the other commenter who said to drink raw milk for asthma. I have asthma, and I know so many asthmatics that are allergic to dairy and their asthma is triggered by dairy. Raw or not. I did try it with catastrophic results. I broke out in hives, had breathing problems, ended up in the ER and ended up with a GI bleed that went on for a month because of the raw milk. I tried raw milk because of people who kept telling me that despite of my milk allergy, I am going to be “fine” with raw milk because it’s different.

      Reply
  14. Love this post and it is the opposite of how I was raised! My very well meaning and loving mother was a nurse and her brother was a pediatrician. Back in the 70′s and 80′s for sure I was given an antibiotic for every little illness. I would get sick as I have an IgA deficiency and as a child you are sucker because of this. However, does that necessitate an antibiotic when my only symptoms were flu and fever? I was diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease when I was TWELVE people!! I have over seven other known autoimmune diseases which I believe stem from my gut being imbalanced my entire life. Now both my boys were preemies and were given vaccines and antibiotics without my consent when they were in the NICU. It’s a long tragic story that is now thankfully coming to through a long road of recovery for us all with the whole foods diet and soon the GAPS. Thank you

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  15. I’m a “do nothing” girl.. never thought it was a formal thing! As a nurse practitioner, I have often got strange looks from friends and colleagues! Funny thing.. my 7yo is very RARELY sick- I can count on one hand the number of times she has been sick. And then it was about 24hrs of fever or being sluggish. Never a GI symptom. A few snot noses- but no chest infection.

    I honestly think food is everything. A bug here and there is not only natural but NECESSARY! Why would I want to not let her body learn to heal itself? She is young and strong, and needs to build an immune system NOW so she doesn’t get whacked out by the flu or some other such normal thing when she is 95.

    Of course nobody wants their child to suffer and be sick and miserable. I say- comfort measures and good food. Have compassion, baby them. But also do not make a “big deal” over being sick. Kids get sick, its part of life! ITS A GOOD THING!

    I think if more parents- and we all love our kids and want the best for them.. had more education they could relax a little bit and so could the kids.

    But thanks Sarah! I can now officially say the next time someone is saying “why don’t you take her to the doctor?”- that I’m a “do nothing” parent- NOT THAT I AM LAZY AND UNCARING. Which has been implied on more then one occasion. People who know me will ‘add’ it to my list of ‘weird’ parenting ideals! Extended breastfeeding, co sleeping, baby carrying, real food, raw milk, strange dental care, fish oil etc etc etc.. and she does NOTHING when her kid gets sick- which is very rare and (knock on wood) never lasts. HMMMMMMMM…….
    ;)

    Reply
  16. Your but about using homeopathy for pertussis is something I’m interested in hearing more about! Could you write about what you did or send an email to me??? I have not vaccinated my 15 mo old and I always love to hear tales of homeopathic remedies that have worked. Thank you.

    And I thought I was taking the “do nothing” approach bc that’s what I’ve done my whole adult life (as a child I was prescribed a rx for even a cough and I would HATE taking it and eventually refuse against my mom trying to follow drs orders.

    I have got tiny colds by hylands bc I thought I was helping him recover but next time I won’t give anything. I agree that illness is great for our bodies and immune system.

    Reply
  17. I also forgot to mention that we unschool and that it has been a wonderful experience to see my children blossom before my eyes. I actually don’t usually use that term when talking to others because there are so many misconceptions out there that it is just not worth my time debating virtual strangers on the choices we have made for our family!

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  18. While I completely agree that we as Americans have become a highly antibiotic driven society and that am I believer in often letting illnesses run their course, such as colds, stomach bugs, etc, there are some illnesses and infections that can be cause even more damage to the body by not having them promptly treated. Some big ones I see as I work in healthcare are strep (which can lead to valvular damage in the heart), pertussis (if allowed to progress) in an infant can fatal, rheumatic fever can lead to heart disease and several bacterial infections such as MRSA and VRE would be very dangerous to allow to run their course as they can only be eradicated with antibiotics and without prompt treatment, could quickly lead to sepsis and death. I’m sure there are more but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. It just totally depends on what kinda of illness you’re dealing with.

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  19. Hi Sarah,

    I found this so interesting and have, most of the time, followed this method when anyone in my family is sick. Bone broths have proved especially helpful. And of course sticking with our usual routine of cod liver oil and butter oil. And the good news is that we rarely get sick.

    But I have one question for you. I realize you are not a doctor, but possibly you have some ideas. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. I will eventually have to be put on daily oral chemo so as to avoid a stroke or worse (I am told). I have a very nice doc who has been very patient with me and my do nothing approach but there will come a time that do nothing could risk death. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks so much. I really appreciate all the great work you do!

    Mary

    Reply
    • In the case of cancer do you have to do something. However there are alternative treatments for cancer that you will want to research. Read the book “God’s Way to Ultimate Health”. Or watch the movie “The Beautiful Truth” with the Gerson Therapy. There is also research about Young Living Oils fighting cancer. The information is out there on the internet and don’t just sit there and rely on your doctor to provide all the info.

      Reply
      • Mary,
        I agree with Eileen that you do have to do something and that you should not rely on your doctor to tell you everything or be the sole source of your health information. But be careful on what you trust. It’s fairly evident from posts on this board that there are many out there just trying to sell you a cure and a hope (see Nikole@…)

        I have had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with people who have relied on “miracle” or “natural” cures only to see them die from diseases that could have been handled with the appropriate medical therapy. Working in a hospice you see it all. I’m sure some things work. But please be careful.

        Reply
    • Also check out the Cancer Battle Plan Book she cured herself of bone cancer and check into Ann Wigmores work she cured many cancer patients w/out chemo.

      Reply
  20. Great post and I’ll have to say it is not anecdotal! We have a similar approach, and I know many who do. It does really work :) We are raised to think that it is counter intuitive, we must do something the moment our kids are well. But it’s true, when you let the body just deal with it – it has a great immune strengthening outcome! Thankfully there are meds for true emergencies, when it is a matter of life and death.
    Anastasia @ eco-babyz\’s last post: Litiquette Soft Sole Baby Shoes Review and Giveaway

    Reply
  21. I’m in agreement with your words, as usual. I’ve been a swimming instructor for over 8 years and I teach little kids… I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been sneezed on, coughted upone and touched by sick children and yet in those 8 years I’ve only been sick once! I’ve never had a flu shoot, don’t take anitbiotics nor does my family. My son is 12 and daughter 15. We rarley go to the doctor and have found the wait it out works well for people with healthy immune systems.

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  22. I’ve never believed in running to the doctor for colds and flu, either. But strep is another story. It usually comes on a lot quicker than a cold, with a high fever and headache. Untreated, strep throat can quickly lead to a more severe illness such as rheumatic fever (a serious heart condition) or acute nephritis (which can damage your kidneys), which can both be fatal. Along with that, there is also new evidence that is pointing to it being related to OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). They are calling this PANDAS. So be careful, people.

    Reply
    • My very good friend, who is also very natural in every way, feeds her family very nourishing, clean food, including broths, CLO, etc, just got a PANDAS diagnosis on her 4 yrs son who recently had strep. I’m not exactly sure how they treated the Strep but my bet is that they addressed it minimally. The advice in this article is great for a lot of people, but is VERY ill advised for some. We personally take what we can use from any and all health info and decide to leave some advice behind, but I hate to think there are people out there who would follow all of what they read, even from from excellent sources, such as this blog and it turn out very wrong for them. I think this article was great and is very close to how we live, but should have more cautions in it, myself.

      Reply
    • Dr. Mendelsohn in his book How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor says that in 30+ years of practice as a pediatrician he only saw 2 (I think) cases of this. He said the only time RHD or nephritis occurs is if the person has had problems in these areas previously, or if there is a family history of such. Other than those times, he felt that antibiotics were more harmful than beneficial for strep (in the long run).

      My daughter had strep a month ago and we treated it successfully with herbs, garlic, oregano essential oil, several homemade concoctions, and homeopathy, along with homemade chicken stock.

      Reply
  23. Just speculating (I’m more or less on the same page as you): I wonder how much of your family’s immunity is related primarily to the doing-nothing in response to illness and how much is preventive due to a healthy diet. When we first began treating my older daughter (then just turning 4YO) for systemic candida with the Body Ecology Diet, none of us got sick for the 2 months we followed it strictly despite having a child in preschool, aka human petri dish. I’ve always attributed it to diet first and foremost.

    We’re now eating mostly Paleo (almost the same diet) and are still some of the healthiest people we know, either not getting sick at all or never getting past the initial fighting-it-off stages. I do find that my youngest in particular has an “immune crash” with sugar: 2 years ago we made Christmas cookies and I let them have the broken ones; 2 weeks later she had pneumonia. :-( (That ended up needing an antibiotic IV after she got more and more scary-listless.)
    Deb\’s last post: Non-Academic Skills: Can We Teach Those?

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  24. I think this is great advice, but also needs to be thought through if this is realistic for your family. I feel that in todays world with everyone’s compromised immune systems many of us won’t be able to get over these illnesses and could in fact turn into secondary problems which are more severe if medical intervention is not taken.

    Since we have changed our diets and lifestyle the last 3 years we have not been nearly as sick (no sinus infections, no flu, no strep, no ear infections – previously someone would get these every year). If we do get sick (cold or allergy issues) we bounce back very quickly and with no medications needed. However I feel it is because our immune systems are not depressed with processed foods, chemicals, sugar, etc. It knows what to do because we support it with fermented foods, broths, organic produce, pasured meat & eggs. The only medical intervention we have needed has been for broken bones and sprained wrists. Still we have not turned to conventional medication and instead use Young Living essential oils as our pain relievers. They work by building up your body and not tearing it down.

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  25. I think I just did this with my daughter’s first cold. She was about 3.5 months old and got a very mild cold. I gave her some homeopathic tabs, and we used a humidifier, that was it. No tylenol for her fever, no cough medicine.
    I am 44 years old and had been plagued with ear infections and strep and tonsillitis my entire life. I had my first three children when Iwas in my early 20s and treated them just like my mother treated me. Antibiotics, antibiotics, antibiotics. And of course they got all their shots.
    I have been working for the past 6 years to heal myself of a lifetime of antibiotic use, and made many, many health changes, and finally had my tonsils removed last year. I reasoned that though my tonsils might be able to heal themselves, I might not have enough lifespan left for that to happen. What followed was nothing short of a miracle. A pregnancy, after 18 years of infertility, one month after the surgery, and my body just righted itself swiftly, after the surgery. Food allergies went away, aches and pains, shortness of breath, frequent illnesses, etc…all gone.
    After the birth of my baby, I unfortunately contracted septicemia. Sorry, but I wasn’t brave enough to go through that without antibiotics. I was given very high doses of IV antibiotics and contracted a systemic yeast infection. All of this my body worked through very well, until I was prescribed, and unfortunately took diflucan (like an antibiotic for yeast). It ruined my digestion, old aches and pains have returned, my vision has gone to pot (I need cheaters now), the old fatigue and weakness are back, I stopped losing weight and grew a pot in the front. I lost my mojo.
    I am still miles healthier than I was, but I am so disappointed and I don’t know how to undo it.
    My baby, unlike my other children has not been, and will not be vaccinated. My other three children suffered from ear infections constantly. She has only had one mild cold and did not get an ear infection from it. She has a healthier, happier mama than my other children did, and she is healthier and happier too. I wish I could undo all the damage that was done to my older kids, but it’s water under the bridge. All I can do now is encourage them to support themselves nutritionally.
    What is most striking to me is how much difference good health makes in every area. I happily do things for my youngest that I begrudged my older children, because I was sick, unhealthy and tired. I don’t worry that I won’t be able to do things, so when I have to do something (like wake up at night), I don’t get agitated and upset because I worry about how it will affect the next day. Because it won’t. I’ll be fine. Because of this it is actually easier for me to express my love for her, and she responds like a person who lives in a loving environment. She sleeps well, is healthy and happy.

    Reply
    • Jill thank you for sharing your story. I just turned 42 and have been considering trying for a third child. I too have a history of being put on medications growing up and like you and am now healtheir than I’ve ever been before after years of cleaning up my diet (but still have some way to go) I have had some resistance to the idea wondering how my health and energy level will be during the pregnancy and after but also like you said I am so much of a happier better mother than I’ve ever been because of my improved health and my wish is it will carry through the pregnancy and after. You give me great hope if you can do it at 44, that this CAN be my experience at 42. Thank you for the ray of hope I was looking for!

      Reply
      • You’re welcome Tracey – the pregnancy wasn’t without its complications – I had GD, but I have always known my body has difficulty processing sugar, so it wasn’t a big surprise.
        I did surprise the nutritionist by not needing to use insulin for several weeks after it was predicted I would need it, because I did not follow their instructions to eat way more carbohydrates than I usually do. I did need to eat more carbohydrates than I was accustomed to eating in order to feel good, but I didn’t eat as much as they told me to.
        Even with all of that, I felt better during the pregnancy than I have at any time previously that I can remember during my lifetime.
        I feel like the dietary and other changes I made paved the way for the tonsillectomy. It was like my tonsils were the last thing in the way of my recovery, and when they were gone, even though I had a severe hemorrhage which required a second surgery, that afternoon I was released from the hospital and my body began to heal at a pace that I can only describe as miraculous. I had a fever that lasted 4 days that made me feel terriffic. I felt like I was in a pleasant sauna, and one month after that I became pregnant. That pregnancy was different from any of my other three, in that I felt absolutely teriffic (except for mild morning sickness). The third trimester was challenging, and I felt like I would have liked to have had a few more months to really recover and heal after a lifetime of illness and then the surgery, but in all, I felt great.

        Reply
  26. Since I read “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” by Weston Price, I have come to appreciate bone broths and other “ritual delicacies.” I also loved “The Healing Power of Illness.”

    Here are a couple links on the language that people use to relate to health and wellness:

    http://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/the-myth-of-incurable-illness/

    http://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/nlp-and-demonic-possession-by-a-diagnosis-of-depression/

    http://jrfibonacci.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/appreciating-the-language-of-an-incurable-diagnosis/

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  27. And a question: What about something like Master Tonic (soaking a mix of onions, garlic, horseradish and ginger in some ACV for a couple of weeks). Would that be considered doing “nothing” or “something”? I’m going with the theory that it’s food so it falls under the category of “appropriate nutrition”.

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  28. Not trying to be mean here: I get SO sick of these mothers whining and whining that their kids don’t get better when they use fever reducing medication! Even many conventional doctors will tell you about the importance of burning a fever. You rob the body of its number one defense against the invading pathogen, then the illness just drags on and on forever and you wonder why?
    I’ve experienced this first hand SO many times with my kids and its so true that you must LET them spike their fever! Our society also just wants them up rested and ready right away! Back to school and daycare so that they didn’t even get over the illness and are in a constant state of half- illness. One time while visiting family far away for a week long holiday visit my kids, unfortunately, got real sick. My oldest got it first and I controlled treatments, let her have her fever with rest and she was better in a few days. By the time my son got it a little behind her everyone was growing impatient that we couldn’t go out sledding and doing things. They pressured me about it and said he was too uncomfortable for me to not treat his fever. That I was being cruel etc. I finally bent to the WHOLE family’s pressure and gave Tylenol. My son was sick for the next six days! Same germ, extremely similar genetics but it just PROLONGED his illness! It hung around making him half miserable for the rest if the vacation! Yes, he was able to go to the sledding hill but was miserable in no time. My daughter had more severe symptoms for the few days she was ill and I know that’s no fun. But I feel setting up kids to get PROLONGED illnesses for longer is actually MORE cruel! He could’ve been 100% in just a few days! Trust the body! Trust results and don’t bow to pressure!

    Reply
    • Is there no fever too high to treat? I am wondering…. my kids usually get high fevers with simple colds. I usually give Tylenol or Ibuprofen…. today I let my son’s fever get to 103.5, but after it got that high, I felt that I should treat it… It’s hard for me to stow my nursing background. Ugh. Thanks for the great posts everyone.

      Reply
      • In the Mendelssohn book How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, I believe he says fevers until 104 or 105 are OK (except in newborns, or with sunstroke) as long as you can keep the child hydrated. He has a whole excellent chapter about fevers in that book.
        Heather\’s last post: Cats, dogs, & allergies. Oh my!

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  29. Reminds me of my 18th birthday, where I got diagnosed with mono (happy birthday to me!). My doc told me to go back to school, but take it very easy, and no phys. ed. that semester. Most kids of my era got put to bed for 6-8 weeks. I got over mono in four weeks and really never looked back.

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  30. I have a question about fevers. I am comfortable letting it run its course if it’s only 102 or 103, but two years ago my oldest (who was then 18 months) had a 105 fever. We took him to the emergency room. How high do you let a fever go before intervening? It was a very scary experience with my son and I can’t imagine doing nothing if we find ourselves in a similar situation again.

    Reply
    • High fevers are scary, but the height of the fever has little to do with the severity of the illness. I also highly recommend Dr Mendelssohn’s book
      I never try to lower a fever and my kids spike a nice high fever and get well quickly

      Reply
      • I read on Mercola that it isn’t as much about the temp as it is the speed of elevation. If it spikes fast, that’s a problem. If it’s a gradual raise, the body is doing it’s job. But, that’s just what I read.

        Reply
    • Larissa-
      I had an educational experience with this. My daughter one time began to get a very high fever. It was so scary as it began to get over 104. I just got determined to TRUST her body. I was determined to try a different way than in the past. I even called my doctor in the middle of the night and he said I was being “cruel” it was so hard to stick to my guns but I’m SO glad I did! I was up all night monitoring her and so afraid of “brain damage” and all I’d heard about. Deep in the sleep her fever climbed to a solid 105. It blew me away though- it only stayed there for a few hours! I also have learned since that I should’ve just LET her stay in solid sleep as much as possible instead of continuing to take her temp constantly and interrupting it! By morning she had burned off the germs and was totally better! I had to hold her down and make her rest! If one is a little worried about the brain too theres nothing like a good old cold cloth on the forehead to ease the headache and cranial temp while still allowing the body to burn off the germs like it needs to! Our ancestors knew best! Now I have a strict routine and will ALWAYS let my kids burn a good fever for at least one night. If I do this it never lasts longer. It’s a natural cycle for the body to spike a fever high in one bad night of illness then be done. Let it work! It actually takes a lot of energy for the body to get that fever up! For that one night I will never wake them, they need that UNINTERRUPTED sleep but will only come in to check fever, hydrate with bone broth or other electrolytes or diluted juice and cool forehead compress if necessary when they call out or cry out- they usually will a few times anyway so take this op to do your work, then LEAVE THEM BE. It’s hard to resist too to not keep checking but you know how it is when you’re trying to sleep of an illness and someone keeps waking you! It’s torture! That’s why hospitals only make you sicker with their constant disturbances! This always works. Trust their bodies. Since I began this my kids have never burned a fever over about 100 for more than a day and a half. It’s a natural cycle for the body to climb in temp, spike then go back down. Interrupting this with fever reducers, baths or other measures will cause up and downs that the body can’t handle and this artificially induced roller coaster is what causes febrile seizures. I’m happy to say that my daughter is now 10 yrs and radiantly healthy! In advanced learning and no brain damage to speak of. She also had that fever I spoke of, one other time got one that went up briefly to 103 for about an hour and other than that has been very healthy and almost fever free with only the occasional cold. Each year she gets sick less and less. Good luck. I know it’s hard!

      Reply
  31. To Jill C – Difflucan isn’t necessarily bad. It killed the yeast caused by the antibiotics. But you now have to start from square one with your digestive system. You might want to try the GAPS diet.

    Reply
    • All I can say is I wish I had never taken it. I was on a very good run up to that point, and I would rather have had the yeast than the problems I am now having (but which are slowly going away). I trust my body to heal from this too, but I am very frustrated. I was never, ever able to lose weight my entire life, probably due to the inflammation I had from being sick forever, I was finally losing weight and felt fantastic, and when I took the diflucan, the weight loss stopped, I got some fatigue and weakness back, and I now have terrible gas.

      Reply
  32. Um, Diflucan is a fluoride-based medication. I, personally, would not take it under any circumstances and would recommend others avoid it as well. There are better ways to treat candida.

    I was raised by a germ-phobic mother. Lots of shots, lots of pills. My sister had strep over and over (although i question how often she had it and how often the doctors assumed it was), and the family doc my mother liked treated the WHOLE FAMILY prophylactically with 2 weeks of antibiotics every time my sister got sick. I refused to continue when i was about 16, but i was treated numerous times not even being sick.

    I spent much of my adult life following the same type of treatment (depression – try every antidepressant in the book and none worked, but this “depression” cleared naturally when i began to eat in a healthy manner). For myself, i believe anything fluoride-based has done untold damage to my body. I began weaning off of all these meds about 9 years ago, and started learning about natural health. But i ended up being very, very sick 5+ years ago. I didn’t know enough to leave it alone or treat it with herbs, i ended up with Cipro. That essentially ended my productive life. It has harmed me beyond words. I continue to struggle every day.

    So, late in my life i have come to the “leave it alone” phase, because i will not willingly take a prescription ever again. I wish i had found this path years earlier. However, as far as colds/flu go, i have had only one in the past 3 years. It was a doozy, and i did nothing. It was hard! I don’t know many people who would do nothing and be as sick as i was, but i survived and am on the other side.

    I’ve not heard of other people doing nothing in the case of a broken bone, but i’m there, too. I broke a metatarsal in my foot 3-1/2 weeks ago. I did do an X-ray, but the bone was not displaced. I used a splint for a few days, but it caused more problems than without it. I have not been in pain (except early on when putting pressure on that foot). I have not taken even Tylenol for it. I do use a topical capsaicin cream. It aches a little as it is healing. I’ve done what i can to stay off of it. Everyone around me thinks i’m crazy not to have gone to an orthopedist or have it casted, but i am healing quite well, thank you!

    Reply
  33. Well… this is all well and good for some, but as for me and my family, we choose to use herbal supplementation. I’m an ICU nurse, and cannot even imagine the number of germs I am exposed to every day… and then get told about a week or so later (“by the way, that patient you had in 302 last week… TB was confirmed”) – I use the supplements as my National Guard, and I have to say (knock on wood), I have been sick maybe 3 times in the past 5 years. So Sarah may choose homeopathics, which we also avail ourselves of, but I swear by herbals.

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  34. “8-Days for Your Cure” People come to me often (practicing herbalist); and to each of them I say “WAIT 8 days!” Give yourself 8 days before scheduling any procedure. Use that time to pray, think, ask, rest from the shock of the news. I chose the number 8 because it means “new beginnings.” In music, it is the end of one scale and the start of a new octave. In the week, it is the end of the work days and the start of a fresh set. People tell me that the decisions they were inclined to make based on day one test results are entirely different than the course they take on day 8. This is sooooooo important! When you chose the course for your body, you are no longer a victim —-you are now decisive, in charge, on board, empowered! And yes, I’m talking about an issue as “serious” as cancer—-it didn’t grow overnight–8 days will only change the outcome for positive—do not rush during a time when your immune system is the lowest–remember, you’ve been shocked by the news, let your body come out of shock.

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  35. Pingback: Primalisms: Sandy, Wireless, Labels & More

  36. I agree with Do Nothing in regards to pharmaceuticals which are not necessary most of the time and just cover up symptoms and can even impede healing, but foods like elderberry and garlic that you mention, as well as astragalus, olive leaf, barberry, onions even, ginger, cayenne, turmeric….the list goes on….are far different. You are lumping herbals with antibiotics which I totally disagree with. They are on the list of nourishing foods in my book. They speed healing and build the immune system much as a real food diet does, only you can make medicines with them, or strong teas, that will deliver quick healing and even help boost the immune system for when sickness is around. There is no way we absolutely “do nothing” with those kinds of foods available to help nourish the body. They are not a crutch like drugs. They are healing foods. There is a vast difference. And although Elderberry and Echinacea that you mentioned are likely the two most common herbs these days, there are hundreds more that you may find interesting to research and get to know. The bath you mentioned, it works best with bentonite clay mixed in, for example. Not just Epsom Salts. We love herbs around here! :) Elderberry syrup is a must for flu season and there is no way we would be without it, for prevention and quick healing.

    Nickole

    Reply
  37. Love this post. In a time, when most parents run to the emergency room when kid has a low fever, this post is a must. I think we as people and parents need to learn a few basic things and take responsibility for our own health.

    I have 4 kids, my oldest is 9 y.o. None of them have ever taken antibiotics. The last time I took one of my kids to the doctor was 2 ++ years ago, and I only did that because I needed a prescription. I knew what she had and how to treat it. Of course, the doctor diagnosed her with an ear infection. Which she didn’t have one and we never treated it. She actually had the fifth disease and I needed the prescription for medication in case she had an allergic reaction so we didn’t end up in the ER.

    As an unschooler/ homeschooler… I don’t do nothing… I do basically what you suggested: rest, rinses, chiropractic visits, soups and broths and prayer (not in that order necessarily). I praise God that He has given us wisdom and grace and healed all our diseases.

    Reply
    • So fifth disease is a a fancy name for Parvovirus B19. That’s parvoVIRUS. There’s no allergic reaction anywhere. There’s nothing that’s used to treat it… except time for the virus to resolve on its own. It’s one of the most benign things that pediatricians see.

      Reply
  38. YES to fever! YES to rest! YES to lots of liquids! We always said NO to treatment! Couldn’t agree more with this article. We raised our 5 kids with this and now my sweet dils are carrying on the tradition!

    Reply
    • Indeed! This is what humans have been doing for millennia. Our bodies know how to respond and heal this way. We wouldn’t have survived as a species if this weren’t the case.

      How in the world did we get so far off track just in the last few generations, thinking that bombarding our bodies with manmade chemicals is the better alternative?

      I know, I know, it was the likes of Carnegie and Rockefeller who pushed medicine toward profiteering from the new-fangled pharmaceutical drugs which nobody knew how to use or dispense. The modern-day drug establishment took over.

      Anyway, it’s reassuring to see many people waking up and returning to the time-tested traditions.

      Reply
  39. Carrie Becker via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    We ride it out, unless i know its something that needs antibiotics, ie bronchitis… i don’t know of a natural way/ natural antibiotics. :(

    Reply
  40. Phoenix Frost Ulfhamr via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    We never went to the doctor growing up unless it was something dangerous or broken lol. People become too dependent on medication, we should be focusing more on eating healthy and doing things naturally, not taking prescriptions that damage our bodies

    Reply
  41. Phoenix Frost Ulfhamr via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    We never went to the doctor growing up unless it was something dangerous or broken lol. People become too dependent on medication, we should be focusing more on eating healthy and doing things naturally, not taking prescriptions that damage our bodies

    Reply
  42. Ruth Heckbert Moquin via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’ve always been one to try to ride it out. How do we expect our immune systems to build and gain strength if they are never exercised?

    Reply
  43. Amber Moon via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Every single time we felt we had an issue and went to seek diagnoses … it never happened. Medical “practice” is the correct term.

    Reply
  44. Leilani Luna via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    It makes me so sad when friends & relatives go/take their kids to the doctor for every little ailment, or to the hospital for a mild fever :(

    Reply
  45. Carrie Becker via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I have a child with asthma, and a weak immune system, i do rely on albuterol to keep a cold from going into his chest and becoming bronchitis, would the do nothing approach, in this case, be safe? I’m more than willing to learn new ways to keep us healthy in the bigger picture.

    Reply
  46. Misty Stokinger via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Bronchitis will get better on its own if you focus on fluids, rest and nutrition. I had chronic bronchitis for years (while treating it with antibiotics). I started focusing on nurturing my body through the illness and I haven’t had it in over 10 years.

    Reply
  47. Karen Ashburn Graham via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I took my children to the chiropractorat the first sign of ear infection, or cold! Now I know the source of a lot of those problems were the poisonous vaccines! My grandchildren haven’t gotten the vaccines, and hardley ever get sick. Of course, we are trying to cut out GMOs and processed foods!!

    Reply
  48. Karen Ashburn Graham via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I took my children to the chiropractorat the first sign of ear infection, or cold! Now I know the source of a lot of those problems were the poisonous vaccines! My grandchildren haven’t gotten the vaccines, and hardley ever get sick. Of course, we are trying to cut out GMOs and processed foods!!

    Reply
  49. Tonia Townsend via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I started out taking my kids to the doctor when it went to something serious.. But have sense learned Natural alternatives. I have a kid with Asthma too. When she starts wheezing we do breathing treatments with Pink Himalayan Salt(google Pink H. Salt inhaler), A vapor Salve I make on her chest and the bottom of her feet along with moisture in the air.. When she starts coughing we lay rags as hot as she can handled on her back and it will stop coughing in minutes.. She takes a daily dose of Vit C and ups it when she feels something coming on. Her immune system has gotten stronger the older she has gotten..
    Colloidal silver helps too! She takes a couple of teaspoon every 2 hours till she is better then 2-3 times a day till completely better. I treat it like traditional antibiotics and only take when needed. It works great for strep. I had it one time and My girls were on Antibiotics for it I didnt have any for me so thought I would try it with in 3 days I was better No fever or sore throat. I had it for a throat spray!

    Reply
  50. Soli Zat Johnson via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I rest and eat better, then if it continues I do something else. Usually that something is along the lines of a home remedy.

    Reply
  51. Michael Botros via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    typically i just treat myself through illness with food, but i got a notice that someone i was in contact with had whooping cough, and started to feel a tickle in my throat a couple days before i found out, so i rushed to the doctor to get tested and take precautionary anti-biotics just in case so i don’t pass it on… that’s usually my last resort, but i made an exception for that… i also went once because i had a really high fever and diarrhea, was given anti-biotics and turned out i drank some of the raw milk that was tainted with campylobacter earlier this year in PA.

    Reply
  52. Kimmie Gessler via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    My husband and I both rode out strep throat last year with no antibiotics. I’m curious to see if we ever get it again.

    Reply
  53. The do nothing, wait and see is our approach too! Always works!! I think when you let an already healthy body naturally fight off infections the body’s immune system gets stronger. Illness here is typically 24 hrs then a day of rest/recuperation. I know most will think its crazy but a healthy body is already equipped with everything it needs to heal…we were made perfectly!!

    Reply
  54. Tricia Loomis Oostema via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    This is our approach too! In 7 years with 3 boys we’ve only used antibiotics 1 time. My middle son has asthma and we do need to use a breathing treatment from time to time. It used to be way worse but chiropractic care has helped him tremendously. We increase our visits during times of illness.

    Reply
  55. I love colloidal silver! Works for just about everything I can think of. My son uses for his pimples too. We use the on a regular base. Then up the dose at first signs of something coming on. We are learning how to make since the last bottle my husband brought home was $77. for 500 ppm, 8oz. It is easy to make, just trying to figure out how to gage the strength. We also use oil of oregano when anything is starting at school. My family only gets sick once in a blue moon. lol Just read where one of my friends burned their arm and used Arnica for pain. Haven’t tried yet.

    Reply
  56. Love this article, was recently feeling pressure to give my 3 year old meds for fever. I stuck to it though. I do use colloidal silver in ears and its a miracle. Screaming stops in 5 minutes! Raw honey for easing coughing spells is great too and I swear it shortens the illness. I avoid antibiotics like the plague.

    Reply
  57. Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for this post! I have been blessed to have a healthy child for 2.5 years but he started preschool and would up with pneumonia not long ago. It was the first time he was really sick and I was in such a quandary. Doc gave antibiotics but I didn’t want to use them. We did use natural remedies instead and he recovered very quickly. In the future, I most likely will just ride it out. We’ve worked so hard to build his immune system from the start. Thank you for the reassurance to let it do it’s job!

    Reply
  58. Absolutely! If something won’t get better on its own I will eventually treat it but I have always had this policy for myself. I have had very, very few medicines in my lifetime and have always let colds, flu, etc run their course. I like to know herbal remedies “just in case” but don’t go to them immediately. It has definitely worked for me — I rarely get sick. I didn’t even get sick during my pregnancy (when they say a woman’s immune system is weak) even though I worked in an office where everyone else was constantly getting horribly ill.

    Reply
  59. Sarah, I love this post. I really like most of your posts. Thanks for stepping out and
    saying what is not the “normal”. Keep up the good work. Blessings.

    Reply
  60. I enjoyed this article and agree wholeheartedly. I have a question though. I have recently been introduced to essential oils and am wondering if the use of oils would be considered a “crutch” or are beneficial to the body when preventing or fighting illness?

    Reply
  61. Spook Hetherington via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    our children 12, 5, 4 , have NEVER been to a doctor, clinic, pharmacist …We use traditional Chinese Medicine.We have all had H1N1 flu and were over it from 3 to 8 days. Our kids have had measles, whooping cough…all mild and treated successfully NO FEAR

    Reply
  62. This is so fascinating! A few months ago, I felt a nasty cold coming on, so I did vitamin C therapy (which I have used very successfully several times). It worked… but the “I’m getting sick” feeling never completely went away. I kept feeling like I was getting sick for a good month afterwards! I am wondering if my body was fighting some sub-clinical infection, and if it would have been easier just to let it run its course, because I felt rotten for that whole month!

    Reply
  63. Katya Galley via Facebook November 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I’m interested to know what people do for non-illness related pain – like a broken bone or a deep wound? I totally get the whole treating illness thing (or rather NOT treating it)… but when you have a child with a broken arm and they are in real pain you can’t just tell them to grit their teeth and bare it. I came upon this problem when my 2 year old broke her arm earlier this year. She didn’t end up needing it, but I would not have hesitated in giving her standard over the counter pain relief if she did. I actually went out and bought some just incase. We were away on holidays and had 2 flights and a long stopover the next day. What are some other alternatives?

    Reply
  64. I want to not go to the Dr but right now I have an 18 month old that’s been coughing the last few days and with a fever the past 2 days and has refused to eat anything today and barely ate yesterday. All she does do is nurse. I can’t get her to drink anything either. I’m more worried about the not eating anything. Anyone else ever had that happen with their kids that won’t eat a thing?

    Reply
    • How high is the fever? Nursing is awesome during sickness so keep on doing it, as much as she wants!! She’s getting liquids, nutrients and antibodies all in one feel swoop. My kids and myself would very often not eat during sickness – I think it’s very common.
      Monitor her behavior, too. My kids would often run a fever but were playing as usual. I never worried in this case.. only when their behavior was not normal. But even in that case I rarely did anything othen than offer comfort (and nursing!).

      Reply
      • If she’s still nursing, she is drinking AND eating. You can check for hydration by pinching the skin on the back of her hand. If it stays pinched, she is dehydrated. If it springs back relatively quickly, she’s fine. There are probably some other signs too. An lots of people don’t feel like eating when they are sick. She’ll go back to it when she feels better.

        Reply
  65. Pingback: The “Do Nothing” Approach to Illness – Your Ticket to Wellness? | CookingPlanet

  66. I would love to see a post about vaccines and how NOT to be terrified when you don’t give them to your child. I have a 4 year old, mostly vaccinated girl and an 18 month old non-vaccinated son. I live in fear that my son is going to get terribly sick and contract something that could take his life. He does occasionally get sick, usually with high fevers – up to 103.5 ish and I end up getting so nervous that he has contracted something that could be fatal or damaging to him in some way. I’m still pretty new to the idea of not vaccinating and could use all of the help I can get. Again, with my nursing background (actually certified as a nurse practitioner) it’s so hard to learn to be ok with going “against the grain” etc. I truly believe that doing less has got to be best (in terms of treating illness)…. if only I could remember that each time my son gets a cold… I wish I had the confidence that you have Sarah!

    Reply
    • I’m pretty sure Sarah has done posts on vaccines on this blog…
      I’m a mom to 2 completely unvaxed boys: ages 8 and almost 3. I studied this issue for YEARS before deciding not to vax. I first only ‘delayed’ the vaccines until my older was 2 and by then I was convinced I would not vax.
      I can only say the confidence came from lots and lots of research. Both my boys have had fevers (close to 103 but not over) but the only disease besides common colds that they have had was roseola (my younger one had it). Once you do your research, you realize that the vast majority of acute diseases that vaccines supposedly prevent are not life-threatening by any means. There are some that could be but even for those the vaccines do not provide immunity. My advice to you is research, research and more research. This book helped me tremendously:
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Vaccine-Guide-Benefits-Children/dp/1556434235
      It discussed each disease and its vaccine: pros and cons. Each chapter has a nice summary so you can decide what to do. Good luck!

      Reply
  67. Unfortunately I have been slack in remembering to give my kids their Vit d dose each day. I too, have not been taking my FCLO. Last week, 2 of my kids were sick but got over it pretty quickly. No major fevers, just cough and sore throat. Now, my youngest and I are sick. I have a feeling it’s the flu. The baby will be 6 months tomorrow. It’s her I’m worried about. She’s having on and off fever and painful, deep coughing. (Me too…haven’t felt this bad in years).
    I’ll get through this fine, but it’s the baby that concerns me. She’s still so young. I hate going to the dr office. Would you take her in? My mother keeps scaring me with thoughts of pneumonia.
    Sincerely,
    Concerned Mama of 6 :-)

    Reply
  68. This is not a medical website, and nobody here can help you much with medical decisions. But here is what I would do.
    #1 I’d call the doctor’s office and discuss with them signs of breathing distress you should look for, this way they can help guide you.
    #2 I’d figure out some way to get some homeopathic treatment for the baby. Which is, technically, doing SOMETHING. But it’s a small thing that can help your baby go through the illness and benefit from it, while hopefully keeping the worst of it at bay.
    #3 If none of your children are old enough to help, call a friend and ask if they can make a meal and bring it over for your family.
    #4 Stop talking to your mother until you are better. Scaring people isn’t nice, and it can make things worse. :D

    Reply
  69. A big part of the problem here is the lack of paid sick days at work, and the difficulty with missing school for children. It is impossible for many people to take the time off to just rest and let you or your child’s body work through an illness. Reforming such policies will take a sustained, coordinated effort.

    Reply
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  71. Angela Kitty Wheeler via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I have only given broth and herbal soup to the kids with the flu and some folks have said I was a terrible mother for not taking them to the doctor… It’s kind of like”do nothing.”

    Reply
  72. Noémi Faludi Varga via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    That is how we where last week too …no dr visit in the last 3 years for my family :) Lots of chicken broth tho…

    Reply
  73. Isabella Kantek via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    yep, many times….i only take them when I KNOW there’s something more and I’m 99% of the time right. :D

    Reply
  74. Mandy Flory via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Yes often! However all 3 of my kids were sick 5-7 days at different times in a 5 week period. And the first and worse I took to the dr w 15 mouth ulcers fever btwn 101 & 103 for 5 days. I needed a school excuse lol I told them the essential oils I was using and other natural stuff, they asked me if I wanted any prescriptions and I said ” no just a school excuse ” lol :0).
    Number 3 went delusional on me w no fever and that landed me back to dr and then er but we took no meds home and they also encouraged me in my natural path :0)

    Reply
  75. Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    What I really mean by Do Nothing is allow the body to be sick and detox whatever it is trying to get rid of. Don’t squelch symptoms even with herbs etc unless it’s been a couple of weeks and you clearly need some support as rest and nourishment is not cutting it on its own. This is old school medicine.

    Reply
  76. Allison Powell via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    We tried for 2.5 weeks. When there was no improvement, I took him in. The first two visits, they told me to wait it out. The third visit (a week later), double ear infection and pneumonia. Hadn’t been able to get out of bed for weeks. So when the others came down with it, we went ahead to the dr right away. Guess doing nothing doesn’t always work.

    Reply
  77. Thea Steggall via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    My daughter had the flu this weekend, thank God it went away with just vit. d3, elderberry syrup, lots of probiotic foods and lots of liquids. Her fever was so high it scared me a little but the next morning, it broke.

    Reply
  78. Bess Naomi Hume via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Sarah, this has nothing to do with your post. However I am interested in what you have to say about the following: Did Weston A. Price die of a heart attack? I am fairly new to WAPF, but everything they say makes so much sense. I was shocked when I heard this.

    Reply
  79. Bess Naomi Hume via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Forgot to say that I really appreciate your encouragement on doing nothing when you get sick. My husband is the one who usually encourages me to stay calm and not do anything when one of my kids get sick.

    Reply
  80. Lux Louisa via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    One of my grandsons has had fever seizures since he was a baby when his temp goes too high, so my daughter has kept children’s ibuprofen on hand and that always works. [SO SCARY] He got a high fever a few weeks ago – and it was going higher – so she gave him his standard dosage of ibu.. Then his eyes started swelling shut, so they had to take a trip to the ER for help in the middle of the night.

    I am learning that he may have gut issues – he has not ever really chewed his food well, and they used to eat the S.A.D.- but they are gradually changing things out. I’ve learned that his stocky/muscle-y build may also indicate deficiencies of some type, but I can’t remember where I read that, and what it was.

    Anyway, my point is that for some people doing nothing can be dangerous, but hopefully once the parents really get on board with gut-healing and traditional foods, including ferments and cultures, it will no longer be an issue. DD makes chicken stock all the time now, and is learning to let them all eat lots of butter. [they just had their 8th child, so transitioning *seems* excpensive to them, but over time I think they'll see how much cheaper it really is.]

    Reply
  81. Much to my husband’s dismay, I usually go with the “do nothing” approach for myself and our kids.
    Lots of rest, fluids, bone broth, saline drops, humidifier, and a little elderberry.
    Okay, so that sounds like a lot of doing nothing! LOL

    Reply
  82. Lux Louisa via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Sara I have a great liquid D3 that I drip into my mouth and let sit for a few minutes. It’s quite expensive, but lasts a really long time – I was told it should last me about a year. [for one person]

    Reply
  83. Myra Wilson Noss via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Our house is divided. For 33 plus years I retreat with minimal influences. My husband and daughter go for multiple alternatives. No one gets better faster but that said, I never had an antibiotic until I was 22 years and tend to push through with a different attitude .

    Reply
  84. I do “nothing” as in no conventional medicine, lol. I supplement with Vitamin C (w/ Rose Hips), honey, master tonic, Kombucha, probiotics…I help aide the body, and make the person as comfortable as possible. But I don’t try to numb them, or lower fever (unless dangerous). If I had children, I’d probably do it different, and stick with broth.

    Reply
  85. Richard Gamble via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    This is nothing new as far as I am concerned, growing up in Australia we didn’t go crying to a doctors office to ask for some instant fix. Just ride it out you will be better off for it and the best part you will have not put unnecessary drugs into your system

    Reply
  86. Annemarie Scolari via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I give my 6 1/2 year old homemade elderberry syrup in June and December when she gets a snotty nose. I also give her lots and lots of homemade chicken broth and plenty of rest. When she or I have the flu, I swear by Oscillo. We LOVE that stuff. It doesn’t make the flu go away, it just makes the symptoms not so harsh.

    Reply
  87. Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    @Bess Sally Fallon Morell says that she is not sure exactly what he died of but a broken heart was a contributing factor as he missed his wife Florence who preceded him in death. In addition, his only son apparently died of a root canal he himself put in which was no doubt a horrible tragedy for him that brought him great stress .. on the positive side it spurred his groundbreaking research and book on the dangers of root canals. Dr. Price was also apparently a sickly child .. 78 is not bad for someone who was not all that robust in his youth.

    Reply
  88. Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    @Bess Sally Fallon Morell says that she is not sure exactly what he died of but a broken heart was a contributing factor as he missed his wife Florence who preceded him in death. In addition, his only son apparently died of a root canal he himself put in which was no doubt a horrible tragedy for him that brought him great stress .. on the positive side it spurred his groundbreaking research and book on the dangers of root canals. Dr. Price was also apparently a sickly child .. 78 is not bad for someone who was not all that robust in his youth.

    Reply
  89. Rob Dollinger via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Vitamin D3. “Dr. John Cannell, MD, founder of the Vitamin D Council, suggests high-dose vitamin D (50,000 IU) be consumed for three days at the first sign of a cold or the flu. If you have an infection, the truth is you need more vitamin D. That’s a given. In other words, vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic. It works against every type of microbe (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites).”

    Reply
  90. Pam Porter Cimino via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    What to you do to comfort little ones when their fever is making them miserable? Sometimes when it’s really high, I can put a cool wet cloth on their heads and it brings it down enough they can tolerate it. But what do you do when their whole body is aching and they want to wrap up in blankets b/c of the chills, but you know that bundling them up will make it go higher, and tears are streaming down their little cheeks b/c they just feel soooo yucky from the high fever? How do you make your babies feel better w/o dosing them up on motrin, etc.? (I’m not criticizing– I really do want suggestions).

    Reply
  91. Nadine Jaques-Dalcroze via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    people can call me a sissi but often when i dont feel great i go home from work just to sleep it off!

    Reply
  92. Pam- I try to DISTRACT my kids. I save a movie they’ve been REALLY wanting to see or buy them some new books, toys WHATEVER to avoid worse- bringing their body temp down to an optimum germ growing level when their body is striving for otherwise and isn’t ready. Even these natural zinc lollipops I’ve found work in a real emergency where their throat is sore and they need distraction. It helps so much to take their mind off! I’m going to come out with a homemade zinc lollipop recipe soon and steamed cider with spices is nice too!

    Reply
  93. Michelle Noe via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    It is always an opportunity to stop business as usual and nurture each other… I don’t do nothing… releaving discomfort with soups and teas and loving… but running to a doctor has rarely been part of the program.

    Reply
  94. Allison Powell you’re right, nothing works 100% of the time. Do Nothing is less effective if there is any autoimmune issues of any kind or the diet has only recently been improved to a Traditional Approach .. it can take several years for immunity to come back up to a normal level. But, it still works great the majority of the time. In some cases, though, yes, assistance with meds is necessary. But, running to the doctor for meds from the get go is not wise as so many times, Do Nothing works just fine.

    Reply
  95. April Earley Clark via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    We always handle an illness like this. Rest, fluids, sunshine and fresh air. We all have pretty strong immune systems and no health issues, so we are pretty fortunate in that respect.

    Reply
  96. Angela W. Rogers via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My two year old had a deep sounding cough and I immediately doubled his dose of fermented cod liver oil and gave him ester C as well. By the next morning, he was completely healthy. In the past that sort of thing would have become a full blown sickness with symptoms ranging from coughs, runny noses, sore throats, etc. and we would have all passed it around to each other.

    Reply
  97. Angela W. Rogers via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My two year old had a deep sounding cough and I immediately doubled his dose of fermented cod liver oil and gave him ester C as well. By the next morning, he was completely healthy. In the past that sort of thing would have become a full blown sickness with symptoms ranging from coughs, runny noses, sore throats, etc. and we would have all passed it around to each other.

    Reply
  98. Spook Hetherington via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Good Idea…In addition we have taken the time to study what natural remedies accelerate the process. Our kids (oldest is 13 – never been to a doctor, and all born at home)

    Reply
  99. Tisha Toone via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Let your body do “its thing” approach.. Hmmm , we don’t have time for that anymore… Sad but very true.

    Reply
  100. Maureen Durkin via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    You must be reading my mind. Friend and I were just talking just think how much healthier we would be if we didn’t see traditional docs but instead ate food from our garden, walked everyday and meditated. Just think how much happier we would be.

    Reply
  101. Tammy Reeves via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Yes, and people always ask if I have gone to the doctor. I ask them why? There is usually nothing he/she could do for a virus/cold, so why waste the time, energy, money and possibly ingesting something my body does not need?

    Reply
  102. Lori Collins Jenkins via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Yep, medicinal essential oils. We put them on everyday and have not been sick in several years. There is something to maintenance.

    Reply
  103. Bill Watson via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    If you see a doctor and take medicine for a cold, it will last for 2 weeks. If you do nothing it will linger on for 14 days…..

    Reply
  104. Shannon Rice via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    That happened to us. I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup and voila it passed fairly quickly! No doctor and no ibuprofen or Tylenol.

    Reply
  105. Susan Faulkner Disharoon via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    This has been my philosophy and practice for years. I do usually make a large pot of chicken soup, if that counts as doing something. ;)

    Reply
  106. Lezley Troxell via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I had the privilege of knowing medicine woman from one of the local reservations who worked a lot with healing plants. I called her up on the phone to ask a question, and she sounded as if she had a stuffy nose, when I asked her what she was doing for it; she said “nothing, it’s best to just eat good, and ride it out”, this, I have found most of the time, to be the best advice.

    Reply
  107. My daughter has an IgA immune deficiency, “do nothing” is not an option unless it is a mild cold. She doesn’t get sick very often because we give her the best food possible for a healthy body, but when she does get sick it’s a whopper, she will get pneumonia if we do not treat her. We load her up with herbals, honey, and probiotics once we are sure it isn’t something mild. If that fails, she has to go to the doctor. A mere bite from a nonpoisonous house spider put her in the hospital for a week with an abcess and swollen lymph when she was a year old, due to bacterial introduction. However, we do not use fever reducers until last resort, all the herbals we give are to help the body fight it, not cover it up. A fever does you good to a certain point.

    Reply
  108. Anna Steen via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    we do this A LOT!! lots of broth sometimes if it’s a big one we do immune boosters like garlic onions (I just made a mushroom soup with lots of onions and garlic and chicken broth :) yum ) or like natural antibiotics if I’m sure that’s what is needed. Things like colloidal silver or ech/goldenseal and olive leaf and ACV tea with raw honey yum!

    Reply
  109. Anna Schneider via Facebook December 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I do very minimal interventions to help ease suffering i.e. tea, garlic oil, hot water bottle, honey. But that is it. I don’t want to kick the sickness out internally, but allow my body to from within!

    Reply
  110. Brenda Martaindale McKillip Basinger via Facebook December 5, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I am honestly never sick. This month is 13 years since I have had so much as a cold. It has been 7 yrs for my hubby and almost as long for the kiddos. We eat as healthy as we can and take a good multi vitamin. But yes, when ill if you take good care of yourself and rest I am sure your body can heal much quicker :-)

    Reply
  111. Morgaine Donohue via Facebook December 5, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I think medicine has its place. And some things might be ok without medicine, but I personally wont risk it. (E.g., oral steroids for croup.)

    For the most part though, I think if it can be beaten at home, it should. The first time my son got a bad cold, his dad wanted to take him to the doctor. I made it a point to ask what he thought the doctor would do for us. And…we didnt end up going. :)

    Reply
  112. Cathy Liu via Facebook December 5, 2012 at 1:14 am

    @Pam – I let them sleep in the same bed with me, I use skin contact to calm them down. I use my skin (arms, hand, body) to bring down their temperature. They are a lot calmer when they know you are next to them. You can also use a damp clothes to wipe them from time to time to cool them down through out the night. Lots of natural high Vitamin C liquid / juice.

    Reply
  113. Luiza Zlatovic via Facebook December 5, 2012 at 2:37 am

    The same here! Just a few extra doses of cod liver oil and a few sips of homemade remedy made with garlic, onion, elderberry syrup, Manuka honey and lemon juice. We recovered in no time.

    Reply
  114. We do nothing, and none of my five kids has ever needed antibiotics besides the one time when my twins (my oldest) were babies, and I didn’t know better. IMO antibiotics have their place – like if someone is literally dying. Other than that, we stick with nourishing foods, and homeopathy. Works great for us!

    Reply
  115. Kathe Yates via Facebook December 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    We also do nothing. With proper nutrition, your body was designed to heal itself. Most meds only suppress symptoms and can actually impede the healing process.

    Reply
  116. Kathe Yates via Facebook December 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    We also do nothing. With proper nutrition, your body was designed to heal itself. Most meds only suppress symptoms and can actually impede the healing process.

    Reply
  117. I really enjoyed this post. My husband and I have been taking the “do Nothing” approach since our first child. We now have four! It has been successful for us! The best part about this for me is that my husband and I were born into this world quite sick. Myself in particular have a ton a genetic yuckies that were passed down to me. Our parents always seemed to be treating us with antibiotics for Recurring illnesses. I am proud to say that neither my husband or myself have taken antibiotics in 11 and 14 years, respectively. Our kids have never had them. Have we been sick? Yes. Did we run to the doctor? No. Although my husband and I tend to stay sick for longer than we would wish to be, our kids bounce back so quickly, just like you said. I have so many stories of one of them picking up whatever was going around, having a 24 hour up and down fever, recovering for a day or two on broth and literally bouncing back to above normal by the 3rd or 4th day. I think it is great that you are getting this information out to your readers. I am very interested in what homeopathic remedies you used for whooping cough though! We do use homeopathy from time to time. We have never had whooping cough, but always seem to know someone whose child is struggling through it. One more note. We get our kids adjusted regularly by our chiropractor, but I find taking them in while they are sick always helps. Sometimes, their symptoms get worse after their adjustments, but I have always seen this as a good thing…like the little boost that they needed to finish the fight or assist in detox.

    Reply
  118. Eldred Pickett via Facebook December 8, 2012 at 2:33 am

    I don’t think I’ve *ever* gone to the doctor because I had a cold. I never saw the sense in it. I may take Nyquil if coughing is keeping me from sleeping, but that’s about it.

    Reply
  119. Sarah, great article. I am an Orthopathic health practitioner and nutritionist. We ARE the “Let Alone” practitioners. Not only do we “do nothing,” but we do not feed during an acute illness either. Even the giving of broths is not recommended. During a minor cold, if one is hungry, broths may be acceptable; however, an othopathic practitioner would always go for fruit first and foremost if one insists on eating. Fruit is better, but fasting is best. The reason is that the body uses 65% of its energy for digestion. When ill, resting the digestive organs allows for a more rapid recovery as nearly all of one’s energy supply goes toward healing and recovery. Additionally, feeding can interfere with elimination, especially if the illness is an eliminatory sickness where much mucous is produced. Always go for a truly “do nothing” appoach which means no feeding either. Dr. Herbert Shelton was one of the greastest voices of the Orthopathic approach.

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