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In a Nutshell: Parenting Through Cold & Flu Season

by Cornelia Mazzan

Home-Remedies-lavenderWow, what a week it has been here at Fearless Parent! We launched Fearless Parent Radio on Wednesday morning, kicked off a fabulous event in Springfield, NJ on Thursday night, and still found time for all the many details of self-care, work, and family life. Stay tuned for what next week holds!


Today I’m taking a deep breath and reflecting on what I learned at our event last Thursday night. It was entitled “Parenting Through Cold and Flu Season: An Open Conversation with Four Experts.”

Event DVD available for donation or purchase
Details here

Here are my takeaways:

Louise Habakus talked about the importance of allowing the body to do what it does best, which is keeping us well. The things that we call “symptoms of illness,” such as fever or diarrhea, are signs that our bodies are busy at work, in support of health. When we intervene with medications that artificially and prematurely suppress these symptoms, we’re telling our body’s “cold fighters” to stand down and stop fighting. Louise spoke about food as our medicine and the need for elimination… make sure everyone in your house is pooping every day! Otherwise, we are re-toxifying ourselves and our immune systems will suffer. For her boys, she likes to use a fragrant, medicinal oil (such as neem, used in Ayurveda) for rashes and scrapes. It smells good and makes them feel like she’s doing something when it’s actually not too strong an intervention. She also talked about using Reiki when they aren’t feeling well, and that they really like the hands-on healing. I know my daughter likes this too.

There were several discussions about care during a fever since it’s hard to just stand by and do nothing when our kids are suffering. Many audience members admitted that they feel some fear when a temperature reaches the higher numbers on the thermometer. All the speakers echoed each other.

Mary Coyle, D.I. Hom had a great trick for helping bring down a fever naturally (no Motrin or Tylenol).

  1. Rinse a pair of cotton socks under cool water and wring them out.
  2. Place them on your child’s feet.
  3. Put a pair of dry wool socks over the top of the wet ones.
  4. Have your child leave them on for several hours or overnight (preferably while they’re sleeping.)

This will help the fever to move out of the head, down into the body and will help the lymph to drain. Mary listed several recommended homeopathic remedies, including German drainage remedies, which help drain the body of toxins and keep the elimination channels open. She also mentioned certain essential oils which can be helpful during an illness, and swears by Thieves (by Young Living) when traveling.

Kelly Brogan, MD uses 1 gram of vitamin C every 2 hours (even though this is considered an “adult dose”) for her young children when they have a cold. She also sang the praises of chicken soup: this age-old remedy has anti-bacterial properties and is super easy to make. She’s a big advocate of ancestral foods — adding fermented foods or even just the liquid from those foods into the kids’ diets will help, if you’re not doing this already. In response to the stress caused by friends, family, and doctors who challenge our more natural, less interventionist ways, she suggested that it can be best to make decisions for ourselves and our families in the privacy of our own home and keep it at that. Those types of arguments or discussions are rarely science-based and can be frustrating. My biggest takeaway from her is to follow your mom-intuition about things, and to stand back and try not to intervene even though it can be hard to do.

Larry Palevsky, MD urges parents to give their children a break from food when illness strikes. A cold is our body trying to eliminate waste, so we should try not to heap more waste on it with big meals and hard-to-digest items. He advises avoidance of sugar, gluten, pasteurized dairy, corn, and soy (GMOs) to promote better nutrition and elimination. Elimination is most important and it happens via the lungs, the skin, the bowels, and the lymph. He suggested we teach our children how to take deep breaths, keep them well hydrated, and slow down to spend time resting with them. Our touch and attention are great healers. He also mentioned that there could be an underlying food or environmental allergy (or other stressors) contributing to a prolonged cold or infection. His biggest piece of advice was “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Usually our kids don’t need us to intervene, they need us to be present and support them. Visit his site for a lot of good remedies and suggestions.

At our house, I’ve always referenced the book How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor by the late Robert Mendelsohn, MD. His philosophy and remedies are totally in line with our four experts’ opinions. Homeopathic remedies have worked well for us. For an earache, we use a few drops of a warm herbal oil (try “Wally’s Ear Oil” or make your own). The oil soothes the ache and we’ve not had to use antibiotics. For a cough, we run a hot shower to get the bathroom really steamy, then bring our daughter in to sit for a while to help open up her airways. A pure saline nasal spray can help to clear the nasal and sinus passages too. But her favorite is warm tea in a special cup made with honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and sometimes a pinch of cayenne pepper to soothe the throat and chest.

We couldn’t have done all this without our Community Initiatives director, Valeri Sewald, who masterfully orchestrated event details. She made sure the venue was ready, exhibitors had what they needed, goodie bags were filled to the brim, and that everyone felt welcomed. A big thank you to Valeri and her team of awesome volunteers for all the hard work they put in. It all flowed smoothly and was such a special night.

So that’s my summary. I hope it was useful to you. Please post a comment below if you have other natural remedies you use for your family. And if you were at our event last Thursday night, I’d love to hear your favorite takeaways, quotes, and other tidbits! We’re considering making a DVD of the event after receiving feedback that many of you wished your spouses, family members, and friends could’ve attended. If this interests you, please let us know.

Editor’s note: The information contained in this blog is not medical advice and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional of your choosing. Cornelia is too modest to mention that she also shared details of our brilliant new logo and branding strategy, which we’ll be unveiling soon.

Cornelia Mazzan is the Creative Director of Fearless Parent and has a penchant for natural remedies and holistic health. She’s been known to gravitate towards all “crunchy” topics and loves sharing information and resources with other parents.



  • Christine McGinley

    Thank you for the summary of Thursday’s session. I wasn’t able to make it and would be interested in a seeing it should a DVD become available. Is there any chance that future sessions might come further south, maybe Monmouth or Ocean counties?

  • Louise Kuo Habakus

    Hi, Christine. We’re just starting to work on the raw footage with the filmmaker, and putting the word out to people who might want to help with the DVD project. You might want to listen to the archive of today’s (11/20) radio show, which touched on some of the topics we discussed in Springfield.

    As for an event further south (my backyard!), if we can get a few parents to help form a planning team, we can definitely have one. It’s a really fun, community-building experience to work on an event… and the more people involved, the less work it is! If you’re interested or know of people who are, let us know. Louise

  • Valeri Sewald

    Cornelia, thank YOU for your exciting introduction to Fearless Parent! You’ve branded a great name, and I’m so glad you were able to share it with everyone on Thursday night. As I mentioned that night… you perform magic in what you do. We couldn’t do any of this without your expertise.

  • Kelly Brogan MD

    Cornelia, how do you do it all?! Such a great event and looking forward to more in the future.

  • BirthTouch.com (@KathyAMorelli)

    Hi Cornelia – Looks like it was a great event! Very cool1 Looking forward to other events! take care, Kathy

  • Dennis Wright

    Seeing + having read Fearless Parent in my
    emails in the last few months, saw this one +
    wanted to read through to double check it’s
    alignment with alternative health approaches
    that my wife + I have used raising our college
    freshman. This brought back many memories.
    I wished we had known of the cotton + wool sock
    fever treatment. We kept her warm with a lot of wool
    clothing but placed a wet cloth on her calves
    when her fever touched a few times 103.6 +
    always watching her eyes and expressions.
    I held my breath a few times but my wife as
    usual, remained equanimous. I would love to
    be able to share this DVD should one become

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