In spite of advances in the field of medicine, millions of parents and caregivers rely on home remedies to treat minor illnesses and injuries. Most of these methods have been passed on from one generation to another. While some natural remedies are safe and reliable, others can worsen the condition of your child and lead to serious complications.
- Ear Candling
Excessive accumulation of earwax can often manifest in form of itching and discomfort. Many parents seek to treat the condition with ear candling. The process involves placing a specially-designed, cone-shaped beeswax candle in the ear of the child and lighting it up. The parent removes the cone after the wick burns down. Earwax and other impurities also come out with it.
However, a burning flame close to the ear can be dangerous for little ones. Pediatricians believe that earwax is not dangerous and should not be removed unless it is bothering the child. The best method is to clean the outer part of the ear with a tissue wrapped around the parent's finger. You may also visit your doctor's office for additional help.
- Whiskey for Teething
Teething can irritate your baby and lead to mild fever and disrupted sleep. Many old wives tales recommend whiskey for relief. You should, however, remember that any form of alcohol can be immensely dangerous for your baby. Additionally, whiskey does not have a numbing effect on your child's gums. Opt for cold teething rings instead. They are effective and safe.
- Kerosene for Head Lice
Head lice impact 6 to 12 million children between 3 and 11 years of age, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Application of kerosene or petrol on the child's scalp is a popular remedy. However, exposing a child’s tender skin to such chemicals can lead to serious skin reactions. Rely on anti-lice shampoos sold at local pharmacies.
- Toothpaste for Acne
Teenage children and their parents are often overwhelmed by acne and look for simple products that treat the condition quickly and effectively. Some unreliable online sources recommend toothpaste as a home remedy. However, the paste can irritate the skin and worsen the condition. It is prudent to opt for anti-acne ointments and face washes. Contact a dermatologist, especially if the acne worsens. A doctor can identify the actual cause and offer specific treatment.
- Butter for Burns
Many mild to moderate burns can be treated at home. However, applying butter on the injury is never a great idea. It can increase your child's risk of bacterial infections. Wash the area with cold water instead, and apply an anti-septic ointment. Keep a close watch on your child and go to the nearest emergency room if the burn or the associated pain worsens.
- Rubbing Alcohol for Fever
Rubbing alcohol is a popular home remedy for fever in young children. The liquid evaporates quickly and provides a cooling sensation. However, a recent study in the journal Pediatrics reveals that this folk remedy can lead to serious side effects. The alcohol gets absorbed quickly through skin and causes intoxication, seizures, and coma. Your child may also inhale the alcohol through the nose.
Many parents trust home remedies and believe they are safe and effective. It is, however, important to understand the processes and question their reliability, especially before using them on young children with delicate and sensitive bodies.