Thursday, July 25, 2013
Homemade Vicks vapor rub alternative for you or your baby using eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender!.
Unfortunately we all came down with a bit of a cold in our home, and my 8 month old baby girl has a phlegmy chest cough which breaks my heart (first time she's been sick), she's also teething so she hasn't been too happy the past couple days. I've been keeping a close eye on her to make sure the cough doesn't get too bad and interfere with her normal breathing and making sure she doesn't have a fever and so far she eats perfectly normally, sleeps at her normal times and has the same level energy with no fever, just has a cough and runny nose, so I haven't gone running to the doctor just yet since she's also 8 months old now (vs a newborn 3 month old). If anything changes or gets worse, I'll bring her in, although it's my understanding that unless there's something more serious (like pneumonia for instance), there isn't a whole lot you can do about a cough except for maybe some steam and maybe some vapor rub until it passes. I did purchase a COLD steam machine and really helps in her sleep.
I personally didn't feel comfortable putting vicks vapor rub on my daughter since their baby rub is made of petroleum jelly (which I like to avoid, but it's a personal choice, you can read a little about petrolatum here) and the FRAGRANCE (not the natural essential oils) of eucalyptus and rosemary, so not too high on my list of a product with a natural approach (the regular version should always be avoided in children under 2 years of age since it contains menthol (which is also a derivative of peppermint essential oil so it is also to be avoided) and can cause respiratory complications in babies!). If I ever do put some on her, I put some home made vapor rub I made for her (I only put it on her feet with her socks or onsie until she was 6 months old and then put it on her chest, feet and back (I would avoid skin contact all together until your baby is 3 months old, instead do the shower or hot water steam remedy below). It's all natural less intense and contains the 3 essential oils this post is focusing on. I'll eventually post a recipe for that but in the meantime this is a much easier and simpler approach (UPDATE! diy vapor rub recipe can be found here). I like to use recipes with a more natural approach when possible (I've used this one on my husband in the past since he seems to catch more colds than anyone else around here). It definitely helps, and I started using it with my daughter today.
WARNING: I felt comfortable using this method on my daughter since she wasn't too sick, but if you feel concerned, call your doctor before trying this. What's good for me and my daughter won't always be good for everyone else.
All you need are 3 types of essential oils, some boiling water and your bathroom. Essential oils include: Eucalyptus, Lavender and Rosemary.
Some people make vapor disks/pucks which I found recipes for online (made with the EO's, baking soda and water), and it kinda worked, but there were more steps involved (its a cute and fun little project) but I didn't find it as powerful and effective as a more simple method which I chose to stick with.
FOR MY HUSBAND:
I simply boiled a pot of water, and once the water came to a boil, I took the water off the heat and added 2 drops of each essential oil into the pot (try using a pot you don't use for cooking so that way you don't run the risk of having the EO's seep into your food later on, or make sure you clean it rigorously afterwards). My husband would use a towel and just breath in the vapor, it's quite strong and alleviated his stuffed nose.
FOR MY BABY:
I use the same method as above, but instead of have her hover over the vapor fumes (which I would not recommend), I place it in the corner of her room on the floor while she's napping so the room gets the vapor smell/fumes without putting any rubs on her skin directly. You get the scent of vapor rub but it isn't as strong.
USING STEAM FROM THE BATHROOM FOR BABY AND YOURSELF:
So I use the same method (boiled water with essential oils added) But in this case, add double the amount (4 drops of each). Turn on the hot water in your shower and let it steam up your bathroom. I open the glass door to my shower stall so that the steam really fills up the bathroom. Obviously keep your bathroom door closed to contain the steam in the room. I place the pot in a corner of the bathroom so the vapors from the boiled water with the EO's fills up the bathroom along with the steam of the shower. Sit in there for a a little bit (I was in there for about 10 mins and it got pretty stuffy) but I'll be doing it again tonight with her. She's taking a nap as we speak (I put her in the steamy bathroom before her nap, and placed a pot with the mixture in her room about 40 mins ago, and she hasn't coughed at all since).
I'm still keeping a close eye on her. If I see that her cough gets worse, or that her behavior changes in any way or develops a fever, I'll be running to the doctor for sure at that point.
UPDATE #1: I decided to take my baby to the doctors yesterday (1 day after writing this post) just to be on the safe side. I live in Canada and doctor visits are free here. I Have an amazing pediatrician located 10 mins away from our home and I'm super happy with him. He was on vacation so we went to a pediatrician 2 mins away from him who is taking his patients in until he returns. I called at 7 am, and had an appointment for 6 pm that day. We're lucky! SO basically, he said her lungs sounded perfectly fine and everything was good (her ears, throat). He said she should get better in a few days and that she didn't need anything. He said to definitely keep her away from other children since she was still contagious. So we're waiting it out! She is definitely getting better and coughing less. If you're worried, having a doctor's opinion will usually settle you down :)