COVID-19 in Kids – How To Treat With Natural Medicine
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is moving quickly through the pediatric population. It’s very infectious, but much less serious than Delta was.
Both my kids (ages 2 and 10) ended up with COVID-19 this winter. We suspect it was Omicron because 90% of cases in our region were Omicron at the time. We treated it as we would have any other viral upper respiratory tract infection (with a couple additions described below) and they recovered quickly and without lingering symptoms.
I want to share with you the types of things that I think about when caring for sick kids, both my own and my patients. It’s my intention that you use these sample protocols to build your own personalized protocols in partnership with your doctor.
This is health information, not health advice.
The COVID-19 in Kids article is organized as follows:
- Care and Feeding of Sick Kids
- Sample Dr. Green Mom Protocols
- Herbal Formulas For Viral Infections And Coughs
- Supplemental Nutrient Support For The Immune System
- Other Supportive Therapies
Care And Feeding Of Sick Kids
Rest and Sleep
Sleep is when we heal. It’s important to support sleep as much as possible for your children and to give them plenty of time to rest. If they are happy to play quietly, that is a good sign, but be sure that they don’t overdo it.
Cuddles and Skin to Skin
Cuddles and skin-to-skin are a lovely way to show affection, but they also help regulate your child’s physiology. It is difficult, because there is such an emphasis on isolation when we talk about COVID-19, but if it is safe and possible for you to provide your kids with physical affection, know that it helps their body as well as their mental-emotional state.
Fresh Air & Sunshine
Fresh air and sunshine have long been considered important factors in healing. If your child is up for it, a gentle walk in the sun or even a 10 minute car ride can help.
Staying hydrated while sick is very important. If a child is losing fluid through diarrhea, vomiting, or a high fever this is even more important to keep an eye on. Water, bone broth, herbal teas with honey, and my homemade hydration drink are all good strategies to help kids stay hydrated.
In addition to staying hydrated, it’s important for your child to keep their blood sugar up in order to heal quickly from viral infections. Easy to digest soups, crackers, rice, fruits, and honey are good choices (see below for more information about honey and COVID-19). Avoid refined sugar, dairy, and heavy food as much as possible.
Antiviral herbs have been used to shorten the duration of infections in children around the world since time immemorial.
Antiviral herbs can help shorten the duration of infections, but it is important to provide some comfort and relief to kids while they are sick. Fever, cough, chest pain, loss of taste/smell, skin rash/changes, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, belly pain or diarrhea, chills, muscle aches and pain, extreme fatigue, severe headache, and nasal congestion are the most prominent COVID-19 symptoms in kids.
Supplemental Nutrient Support
A healthy immune system depends on adequate nutrients to work optimally. Ideally a year-round healthy diet (and supplements if needed) have established a good nutrient status before getting sick.
COVID-19 in Kids: Sample Protocol
I’ve provided a couple sample protocols using Dr. Green Mom supplements below. By organizing my thoughts like this, I know that I’ve got 1) remedies to fight the infection, 2) remedies to manage symptoms, 3) hydration & nutritional support. You can use my supplements or whatever remedies are available to you locally. Dr. Green Mom ships worldwide, but international shipping times are less reliable now than ever, so if you haven’t planned ahead and stocked your medicine cabinet, finding something locally is preferable to waiting if you have a sick child at home.
Both herbs and drugs can be dosed by either age or weight for pediatrics. In general age is used, but if your child is big or small for their age, you may want to use weight instead. As a clinician I take other factors into consideration like how robust or sensitive the child is and how safe or toxic the medication is. When you’re deciding on doses, beware of duplicating ingredients if you are using more than one remedy. The Dr. Green Mom labels contain guidelines, but your doctor can help you with the nuances.
Infants & Toddlers (Up to 3 years old)
Hydration Support: Homemade electrolytes (max ½ cup per day, small sips at a time)
Little Kids (up to 8 years old)
Hydration Support: Homemade electrolytes (max 1 cup per day, small sips at a time)
Big Kids (9+ years old)
Hydration Support: Homemade electrolytes (max 2 cups per day, small sips at a time)
Herbal Formulas For Viral Infections and Coughs
Herbal formulations have been relied on by generations of mothers as they help their kids through viral infections. Modern science has shown us that these herbs contain whole apothecaries worth of medicinal phytochemicals including potent antiviral molecules.
Below is a description of the Dr. Green Mom products that I find most useful in viral respiratory infections and when I would choose one over the others.
Black Cumin Seed Oil
Black Cumin Seed is antiviral and immunomodulatory. It’s been shown to help treat COVID-19 in adults. Black Cumin Seed is also traditionally used to ease coughs, especially if they are spasmodic.
Bronchial Calm is a more comprehensive formula for cough including: lovage root, yerba santa leaf, licorice root, mullein leaf, pleurisy root, lobelia herb, and wild cherry bark. This combination of herbs strengthen and soothe the lungs, thin mucus, and relax respiratory spasm. Most of these herbs also have antiviral properties.
Organic Immunity Boost
Organic Immunity Boost contains the most familiar immunomodulating and antiviral herbs: echinacea, elderberry, and astragalus. This is the supplement I reach for most often if I want to:
- Fortify a weak immune system.
- As a precaution if there has been an exposure or positive test result but no symptoms.
- To treat mild/early upper respiratory tract symptoms.
Nature’s Biotic contains herbs that are antibacterial and antiviral. It includes goldenseal, echinacea, licorice, oregon grape, myrrh, and wild indigo. Goldenseal and licorice also help soothe and repair irritated mucous membranes (including the tissue inside the nose, mouth, throat). I keep this formula on hand for:
- More serious respiratory tract infections
- Infections that aren’t responding to Organic Immunity Boost
- If I’m worried about a bacterial, rather than viral infection.
Colloidal Silver Rx
Colloidal Silver Rx contains colloidal silver, olive leaf, and wild oregano oil. These ingredients have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activities. This is strong antimicrobial, but has a pungent taste and can be difficult to dose in very young children.
Herbal Teas With Honey
Safe and supportive herbal teas include lemon balm, chamomile, elderflower, yarrow, spearmint, licorice. These teas deserve a blog post of their own, but I’m including them briefly here because in addition to their medicinal benefits, they are a good hydration choice and are a good way to give children honey. Honey is recommended by Frontline Doctors as COVID-19 treatment because of its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune boosting properties. The dose is 1g/kg/day. Avoid honey in infants under 12 months.
Supplemental Nutrient Support For The Immune System
An overall healthy diet (and possibly thoughtful supplementation) create the foundation for a healthy immune system. During times of illness, the demands for certain vitamins and minerals go up. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc are especially important.
For more information about how these nutrients support immunity, see the original COVID-19 treatment post where I go into deeper detail about each of these vitamins and minerals.
Other Supportive Therapies To Consider For COVID-19 in Kids
Melatonin For Treating COVID-19 In Children
Melatonin is not normally a part of my antiviral treatment regime, but COVID-19 research has made me rethink that.
Importantly, melatonin is safe and has even been given to newborn babies as a neuroprotective agent.
Even though melatonin is quite safe, it’s generally not recommended to babies who are still developing their sleep/wake cycles.
Once their sleep/wake cycles are established, older babies and toddlers can usually take 0.5-3 mg of melatonin at night. Older kids often do well on the same dose, but in some cases can take up to 5 or 10 mg under direction of a doctor. More melatonin is not better, and can lead to rebound waking around 2-3 am and/or vivid nightmares.
Probiotics For Treating COVID-19 And Managing Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Probiotics may be helpful in treating COVID-19 infection and they are likely helpful in managing gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and stomach pain.
Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen For Managing Pain and Fever
Fevers are a helpful part of the body’s response to infection. It isn’t usually important to treat a fever in kids unless it seems to be making them uncomfortable and/or interfering with their sleep.
There is a concern that acetaminophen depletes glutathione and for that reason I usually recommend ibuprofen if possible.
Ibuprofen isn’t recommended for children under 6 months. In this case use acetaminophen.
Oscillococcinum For Managing Flu-Like Symptoms
Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic preparation that we always have on hand for the treatment of the flu. I added it to my treatment protocol based on how effective it has been for past viral illnesses in my family. When I was researching this article, I found one case series looking at the efficacy of adjunctive homeopathic treatment of COVID-19, and I believe it is worth considering. Oscillococcinum (and all high potency homeopathics) are safe for all ages.
COVID-19 is a generally mild disease in children, however, it can still be very uncomfortable and has the potential to become serious in some cases. The general principles for caring for children through viral disease are still helpful, along with COVID-19 specific therapeutics like melatonin, honey, and black cumin seed oil.
This post contains many options and it isn’t necessary to use everything! In our home we used a couple remedies to fight the virus and support the immune system and whatever was needed to manage symptoms. It’s my intention that you take this information and make it your own by creating a custom plan for your own family alongside your own healthcare provider.
Wang, L., Berger, N. A., Kaelber, D. C., Davis, P. B., Volkow, N. D., & Xu, R. (2022). Comparison of outcomes from COVID infection in pediatric and adult patients before and after the emergence of Omicron. medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences, 2021.12.30.21268495. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.30.21268495
Kostandy, R. R., & Ludington-Hoe, S. M. (2019). The evolution of the science of kangaroo (mother) care (skin-to-skin contact). Birth defects research, 111(15), 1032–1043. https://doi.org/10.1002/bdr2.1565
González Maglio, D. H., Paz, M. L., & Leoni, J. (2016). Sunlight Effects on Immune System: Is There Something Else in addition to UV-Induced Immunosuppression?. BioMed research international, 2016, 1934518. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/1934518
Sundararaman, A., Ray, M., Ravindra, P. V., & Halami, P. M. (2020). Role of probiotics to combat viral infections with emphasis on COVID-19. Applied microbiology and biotechnology, 104(19), 8089–8104. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-020-10832-4
Gutiérrez-Castrellón, P., Gandara-Martí, T., Abreu Y Abreu, A. T., Nieto-Rufino, C. D., López-Orduña, E., Jiménez-Escobar, I., Jiménez-Gutiérrez, C., López-Velazquez, G., & Espadaler-Mazo, J. (2022). Probiotic improves symptomatic and viral clearance in Covid19 outpatients: a randomized, quadruple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Gut microbes, 14(1), 2018899. https://doi.org/10.1080/19490976.2021.2018899
Shahzad, F., Anderson, D., & Najafzadeh, M. (2020). The Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Natural Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms and SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Nutrients, 12(9), 2573. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092573
Ray, J. J., & Schulman, C. I. (2015). Fever: suppress or let it ride?. Journal of thoracic disease, 7(12), E633–E636. https://doi.org/10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2015.12.28
Wrotek, S., LeGrand, E. K., Dzialuk, A., & Alcock, J. (2020). Let fever do its job: The meaning of fever in the pandemic era. Evolution, medicine, and public health, 9(1), 26–35. https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eoaa044