Dr. Erika’s Five Natural First Aid Favourites
I don’t know about you, but I see my scarred knees and elbows as a badge of honour for my childhood escapades. I was definitely the truest of tomboys! Barbies. . .bahhh! I just wanted tree houses and Tonka trunks. But with this rough and tumble existence came a few tears, for both myself and my mom. Too bad homeopathy wasn’t as common in the 80’s or I might have prettier knees today (and my mom calmer nerves)!
No mom leaves the house without a mini first-aid kit. But today, we’re seeing some new additions to the basics of Band-aids and alcohol swabs. In a world where so many things are going green, it only makes sense that this extends to our first-aid kits. With the ongoing concerns about chemicals and their impact on children, parents are looking for natural alternatives in all aspects of pediatric health.
It’s amazing how easy, inexpensive and effective a naturopathic first aid kit is to put together. The most important item in my experience is homeopathic Arnica. This remedy, available in oral and topical form, is the gold standard for any playground trauma. Its indications include sprains, strains, bruises or any pain of a bruising nature. The great thing about homeopathics is that kids love their natural sweet taste. After an injury, have the child (or adult) dissolve 2 pellets under their tongue immediately. This can be repeated every 30 minutes for pain management. Arnica in gel or cream form (often available in combination remedies such as Traumacare or Traumeel) can also help speed recovery and reduce pain, which is important for any rambunctious youngster’s lifestyle.
Unfortunately, scrapes and bleeds often accompany bumps and bruises. In this case, follow standard first aid procedures. To review, wipe away the tears, allow wound to bleed a bit to flush it, cleanse with water, apply pressure with a sterile cloth and finally apply a kiss to the forehead. However, your work doesn’t stop there. For superficial scrapes, Calendula is your new best friend. This sunny orange-yellow flower in tincture form is a great antiseptic with the added benefit of speeding tissue healing. However do not use for deep wounds, as Calendula heals the surface skin first, which increases the risk of trapping bacteria in the deeper part of the wound. For ease of use, Calendula is also available in an oil or cream form.
Traumas aren’t always of the physical nature. For the shock of injuries, my first-aid kit would not be without Rescue Remedy. This is a combination of Bach Flower Remedies specially selected for their calming effect on the nervous system. With specific indications of nervousness, trembling, anxiety, fear, panic and apprehension it is sure to calm down your little one, but don’t be afraid to take a dose and a few deep breaths yourself!
Another natural remedy with calming effects is Lavender Essential Oil. In fact, you could call Lavender a first-aid kit in a bottle. Not only does its scent trigger a relaxation response, the oil itself has anti-microbial properties. Remember to dilute before using and only use topically. Another great benefit of this herb is that is makes a great smelling insect repellent, and after bites brings down the swelling and stops little hands from scratching as it relieves the itch.
As careful as you can be, an active child’s summer is rarely without a sunburn or two. Obviously follow the rules for safe sun, but if this fails, Aloe vera is the common houseplant to reach for. The gel contained in its succulent leaves has many medicinal properties. In addition to hydrating and moisturizing the skin, it relieves the pain and itching commonly experienced after a day out in the sun. Simply cut off a leaf, slice it in half and apply the gel to the affected area. If you’re out for the day, bring a few pieces with you or look for an all-natural aloe vera gel or spray product from your local health store.
If most children are anything like I was there will definitely be some traumas along the way. However, I hope they will have prettier knees than I do, and I’m sure they will with the help of these natural additions to your first-aid kit.