None of the information in this blog may be construed as medical advice. We are not doctors. Real adults are in charge of their own medical care.
You have probably have bandaids and antibacterial salve, a thermometer and maybe a heating pad. But chances are, you don't have what you need if someone's REALLY sick.
If you cannot access professional care, you need to be able to assess and treat at home, to the best of your ability. Now's the time to learn what to have on hand and how to use it. Grab some books, read some blogs, watch some videos and start building your Dr. Mom (or Dad) bag!
This is not an exhaustive list. It does not go into explicit treatments or specific illnesses. This is meant as a tool kit to consider.
My husband and I made a decision, about 5 years ago, to buy some important tools to have in our medicine box. These are items that we knew would help us either assess if we need more professional care or if we can manage symptoms at home in the event of an illness. Since acquiring these items, each has been worth it's weight in gold. Josh recently had a major sinus and chest infection (we avoid antibiotics unless there are absolutely no other options). Thankfully, there ARE many natural, holistic options to treat a sinus infection! He was able to treat at home and avoid unnecessary drugs. We purchased the following items, piecemeal, as some are expensive. IMO, everyone should have a Pulse Oximeter and a Blood Pressure cuff in their home medical kit. These are basic tools for determining the severity of an illness and are valuable to have on hand. If you've ever been hospitalized, the first protocol is taking your vitals. How helpful would it be if you had a blood pressure monitor and pulse oximeter at home, and you had already learned your family's baseline?
No one wants to be sick, but being sick AND panicking on what to do next is even worse! “But I’m not a doctor!” Nope, neither am I, but you can learn how to use these things just like anyone else can. You don’t need a degree to read a thermometer, nor do you need a certificate to hear some wheezing or rales in the lungs. You learn by doing. And there is a ripe cornucopia of information out there on the interwebs! Here is what I recommend you have in your Dr. Mom bag:
Did you know ... you can regularly take readings and track the family's health? Its true! There are no laws against you taking charge of your health. No degree necessary. And you don't need to keep a detailed spreadsheet either, okay, Karen? But its nice to have a way to track the readings over time. You are learning the rhythms of your family's health and wellness. And it really is YOU who can steer your family's wellness ship ... so to speak. If YOU take out your medical kit and, as a family, you learn how to use the tools in it, each member will begin to understand their health in more depth. And who doesn't want that? For me, taking control meant getting a blood glucose monitor for $9 from a big box store and finding which foods raise my blood sugar and which don't. It wasn't hard to control it once I understood how it worked. Apply that to anything you need!
You are in control of your health. Thank God.
Blood Pressure Monitor - You can regularly take readings and track the family's health. In the event of an emergency, you'll have a quick and clear insight to assess the next steps necessary in care.
Pulse Oximeter - You can regularly take readings and track the family's health. If you have this information you can act on it. If you don't have this information, you may be grasping at straws. Sometimes oxygen saturation drops during an illness or injury without visible signs of distress. Getting "inside" information is invaluable. The first thing a team will do in an ER is take vitals. You should know how to, too!
Glucose Monitor and Test Stripes - You can regularly take reading and track the family's health. Blood sugar affects us all, and all day long. Even if you are not diabetic or insulin resistant it is wise to test and know your ranges. Learn which foods cause spikes for you and consider how you might manage that with changes or with adaptive herbs like Berberine.
Stethoscope - You can regularly take readings and track the family's health. Your stethoscope can also be used to assess the severity of a chest infection or listen to the heart rate during a time of illness. I had to learn that children's heart rates speed up considerably when they're sick. The first time I noticed the rate elevation when our son was sick, I took pause, checked some medical literature and managed to calm myself down. The heart WILL work harder when you're sick. But it is crucial to know what range is safe and what is not.
Otoscope - You can regularly check out the ears of your family - and its kinda fun! Your ears are such a mystery, aren't they? We can't see inside them, but others can for us! And there are so many otoscope on the market with the ability to connect to your smart phone now (crazy sauce) so you can see in your own ears! Ear health is pretty darn important, considering the proximity to all that grey matter up there. When an ear issue arrises, whether its a lodged object, infection, or punctured drum, a quick look with the otoscope can help you make the next steps in care more quickly and efficiently.
Thermometer (oral digital reads more accurately than forehead scanners) - Of course you already have one, but it is worth having two and of two different modalities. I know Ria scored some old glass/mercury thermometers recently. Those are great to have if you're able to secure them from breakage. Mercury on the loose is so impossible to clean up complete and poses incredibly high health risks if you are over- exposed. Also keep an "old fashioned" digital, oral thermometer. It isn't a bad idea to go for a head scanner, but they are noticeably less accurate.
Nebulizer - This is, hands down, the most important tool to have for lower and upper respiratory treatment. You have seen children or adults with asthma treatments strapped to their faces. The nebulizer atomizes medicines for immediate application on the mucosa via inhalation. This can be done at home with a variety of solutions. We have used the following in the nebulizer for various lower respiratory and sinus infections: aqueous vitamin C, colloidal silver, oil of oregano (not fun), and peroxide. You can get a natural antibiotic in the airs ways FAST with a nebulizer. Oral antibiotics take so much longer to act AND destroy your gut flora. Just one course of oral antibiotics basically napalms your gut for a years! Sometimes, SOMETIMES, we need those drugs. But most of the time, we can do a heck of a lot better with what is already in our homes and in nature all around us.
Neti Pot - Are you down the the NP? I love it. I also hate it. The first time I nettied, I felt like I was 9 years old, in the ocean and getting pushed under by a big wave. But the pay off of using a Neti Pot is worth a temporary discomfort. You will learn how to breath through it. Not only has it been around for thousands of years, nasal lavage is a great way to flush pathogens from the nasal passages and to keep mucosa hydrated (so the body can carry out the pathogens via mucous). That SNOT a bad idea, right!? Our 5 year old always laughs at that awful mom joke. Worth it, get one.
Peroxide - Yes, for nebulizing Peroxide! You know what it does to bacteria on the skin, so harness the same power for the lungs and sinuses.
Oil of Oregano - This stuff is potent. You've been warned. Do not apply directly to mucus membranes. Oil of Oregano has already been shown to be more effective that the majority of oral antibiotics, especially with the swelling number of antibiotic-resistant strains. It will always come diluted in an carrier oil, this is good. If it were not diluted, it would cause burns. It is HOT --- One time, I spilled some Oil of Oregano in the fridge and did not notice. It heated the plastic shelf and deformed it. This is strong medicine, friends. But it can be used wisely to fight infection and even kill mold. Bleach is no match for Oil of Oregano. If you have ever had the displeasure of hiring mold remediation specialists, they will tell you bleach will NOT cut it. Bleach will force the mold deeper into the pores of the effected material. When our bathroom was remediated in 2016, they tore it all down to the studs and physically scrubbed the studs with a solution of peroxide, thyme oil and oil of oregano. My bathroom smelled AMAZING for a while until the sheetrock went up! It is tried and true and Americans have been sleeping on this powerful herb. Can you nebulize it? Yes, but with great caution: use 1 single drop in a full nebulizer. Never apply Oil of Oregano directly on any mucous membrane - it will burn ferociously and for a long while.
Colloidal Silver - Are you already thinking about the Blue Man who made his own colloidal silver, drank too much and turned blue, from head to toe? Ok, I am, too. Obviously we don't need to be drinking silver. And I personally wouldn't recommend you make it yourself, either, though many do! Actually, you don't need to be taking it daily either. Silver is another strong antibiotic. Logically, we wouldn't take silver every day, but rather use it purely as a remedy or rescue med. Though, I suppose it'd make a great disinfecting spray, too.
Liquid or Powder, Food-derived Vitamin C - Try all the varieties, Sodium Ascorbate, Ascorbic Acid, food-derived C powder to find which helps you and which you can tolerate best. Each of these three forms can be hydrated and used in the nebulizer. They can also be taken orally, each hour, until bowel tolerance is reach in an acute illness. Consider liposomal or lipospheric C, as the medicine makes it to the gut more intact, having been encased in a lipid (fat).
Glutathione - If anyone in your house has any MTHFR mutation, you should have this on hand. Humans burn through glutathione and C when fighting an illness. Humans with MTHFR mutations have a reduced ability to generate glutathione (necessary for detox pathways). When my MTHFR hubby is down with an illness, he takes liposomal glutathione to recover more rapidly.
Elderberry - Listen, these berries are an actual gift from God. There are at least a dozen peer-reviewed and published studies on the efficacy of elderberry against influenza and other viruses. All that in a teeny, tiny berry! Grab a bag of dried berries for the longest-lasting option. You can make syrup, baked goods, fancy bevs and tea!
You can extended the shelf life by freezing up to 2 years.
Iodine, Iodide Tincture and Potassium Iodide - While these two forms are for different applications, they both serve the same glandular tissue - the thyroid. I believe Dr. Brownstein, in his book, notes 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in iodine. Unless you regularly eat seaweed or ocean fish, you're chronically low in iodine! Iodine receptors reside in your thyroid gland (Adam's apple area). Unfortunately, other (harmful) elements the halide series of the periodic table can also fit in iodine receptors. Bromine, Chlorine and Fluorine can bind to those receptors and actually prevent iodine from doing its dang job. This means every chlorinated pool you're in, you are effectively blocking the thyroid gland from optimal function. Good news, we can take it orally and even apply it topically on the gland, itself. Iodine is crucial to life.
Potassium Iodide serves a similar purpose - preventing nuclear radiation from effecting the thyroid and possibly triggering cancers.
Going FURTHER, we have built a lovely medicinal arsenal of herbs, oils and tinctures with which we’ve already had success! So, back to Josh’s MAJOR sinus and chest infection, which was about 5 years ago.
The gross yellow-grey color from his nasal passages and chest production was a clear indication things were headed south real fast. So we hit it hard with a combo of potent, but natural, “medicines”.
He began nebulizing Colloidal Silver and Oil of Oregano (alternating), both strong antimicrobials. Since the infection was in two different locations, he would alternate breathing the mist into his nose and also deep into his lungs. He doubled up on his normal supplements especially since he’s got a compound heterozygous MTHFR gene mutation. That included some extra glutathione and NAC.
We took his normal Sodium Ascorbate (vitamin C) dosage up a notch (Ok, several notches) to 5g, five times that day. You can do this based on your body weight and, NO, you’re not going to overdose on C. If anything, you’ll reach “bowel tolerance” and just have some loose poops. For real, read this brilliant collection of data on what to do and how to do it (for your body weight and illness) because anywhere from 30-60g per day during an acute illness is completely normal. Your body blows through your vitamin C stores when you’re fighting an illness. You can mix it in water, tea, juice or whatever you like to get it down - yes, its a little salty. Some people don't like SA because it is synthetic. And Ascorbic Acid of is synthetic, too. Although, in a pinch, it has helped us more than once.
Since that time we'd discovered Liposomal Vitamin C and Liposomal Glutathione for Josh when he's feeling run down.
SIDE NOTE: You can eat a few kiwi fruits, too but Sodium Ascorbate gives you the most bang for your buck (the most C in the smallest volume) and is stable in the fridge for quite a while. It is wise to have some C stored up for emergencies, whichever form you like best but I like liposomal for emergencies.
Dr. Suzanne Humphries, who I adore, has also experimented with insufflation (snorting) Vitamin C to flush the sinuses. I saw it, tried it, lived to tell the tale and then suggested it to Josh. He’s a believer, now, too! I seriously can’t say enough about Sodium Ascorbate. Its also SO CHEAP compared to most home remedies. Buy it, now. Thank me later. Look for good manufacturers and call them if you have questions on the manufacturing process! Moving forward … all the above mentioned supplements and tools are the bare minimum I want at my disposal. We have so many herbals and oils beyond this list but these items are what you need to have on hand to assess severity and monitor an illness.
LOOK into your kids’ ears and see if that fussiness is actually inflammation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what a normal ear drum looks like compared to an inflamed one. Learn their bodies, you will know immediate when something is off! For goodness sake, you KNOW what your kid feels like when they run a fever, right? So apply that brilliance of yours to the rest of their vitals. Check their ears regularly so you KNOW when they are inflamed. Just like you should routinely monitor your oxygen saturation, your blood pressure and heart rate. Know these things so you’re not 100% reliant on the medical system. You never know how long you’ll have to wait for an appointment or if you can get one at all - wouldn’t you feel better with the know-how and assessment tools in your cabinet? I know I do. Please, add comments if you have other great ideas to stick in your Dr. Mom bag!