Nursing a sick child – is it Supercalifragilistic – Calpol – alidosis?

It’s that time of year again when the lurgi awakes and knocks down school kids like a bowling ball hitting skittles. Ieuan has a bad cold and a cough which has kept the whole house awake through most of last night. It is time to break out the Calpol.

Of course, we have been to our doctor to add yet another entry to the Encyclopedia Britannica sized file of our medical records. Thankfully records are online now otherwise we’d have a row of filing cabinets just for us.

The Husband, of course, is ‘never ill’, despite hacking and sneezing and leaving a trail of man-size tissues in his wake. Why they are called man-sized tissues I’m not sure as they patently aren’t!

Ieuan ill in bed having his temperature taken - before we get the Calpol out
Poorly Ieuan

Ieuan was prescribed the antibiotic amoxicillin. So far so comforting but there’s the rub. There have been many articles lately about the fact that the population is becoming resistant to antibiotics and that the antibiotics we have are no longer able to fight off the increasing number of superbugs like MRSA because we have taken so many of them.

Yet we keep taking them because we trust them. We trust antibiotics, I’d suggest, more than we trust the vaccinations our children are given, even though, it would be considered extremely bad parenting not to get our kids inoculated. We know that liquid paracetamol has been implicated in childhood asthma.  (The Telegraph, November 2012) but it’s so easy to reach for the Calpol, or ibuprofen isn’t it?

I have read numerous books about natural medicines and the need for the body to cure itself. When it is a child who is sick though, the temptation is to reach for the medicine spoon as it is so painful to see them suffer. Of course, we can try them with honey and lemon in warm water.

We can try to get them to stay in bed (good luck with that one), load them with fruit, disguise vegetables (yes, we’re still disguising vegetables in the hope that Ieuan will eat them) and use old-fashioned cures such as Vicks Vapour Rub, or high tech cures, like state of the art humidifiers (just as effective to stick a damp flannel on a warm radiator). But these never really feel like ‘proper medicine’.

I recently visited a natural healer who reminded me that GPs will often address the symptoms but not the cause. After all, how much diagnosis can properly be done in consultations averaging 10 minutes or less (source:

Perhaps we need to take a more integrated approach to staying healthy  – more akin to Eastern, than Western philosophy. I’m not suggesting, to quote that doyenne of random judgemental TV opinion, Katie Hopkins, that we should “knit our own yoghurt” but rather that we need to stand back and observe before rushing to the medicine cabinet.

Anyone who has been reading self help books with a Quantum Physics theme will have read that “thoughts become things”;  our health and that of our children is perhaps therefore just as much a product of general happiness and emotional security (i.e. our thoughts and feelings about ourselves) as it is prey to the germs and viruses circulating once the school heating is cranked up.

At the moment though, trusting to herbs and natural healing and eschewing an antibiotic prescription requires a quantum leap of faith.  I’m sticking to Calpol.


  1. Susan Smith
    29 June, 2019 / 3:01 pm

    A lovely read, but so true

  2. 19 November, 2013 / 1:59 pm

    Lord, I hate this time of year. Germs seem to lurk everywhere and I'm constantly on edge. Know what you mean though – when everyone's well and healthy over summer I start thinking that I should look into alternative medicine, but as soon as the bugs hit I'm all about the Calpol and the doctors surgery.

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