The Role of Aromatherapy in the Management of Problems for Tonsillitis with Fever in Children
By Anjana Kaw Bhagat
GENERAL: Tonsillitis occurs most commonly during early childhood. It is an inflammation of the tonsils. It may be caused by a viral infection or infection with streptococcal bacteria .
SYMPTOMS: Tonsillitis is characterized by a sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, headaches, swollen glands, and high fever. In very young children the main symptoms may be abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
FEVER- Fever is usually caused by infection. The infecting microbes produce toxins that disturb the normal functioning of the hypothalamus, the heat -regulating centre in the brain. Certain illnesses like tonsillitis also have this effect. Fever is abnormally high body temperature. Often, an individual complains of fatigue and headache. Small children become irritable and may cry easily. Fever is generally accompanied by headache, restlessness, loss of appetite, weakness, confusion and delusions. Fever is caused because of infection (in these cases because of tonsillitis infection).
TREATMENT: Tonsillitis that is caused by streptococcal infection is treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin or erythromycin, for a full 10 days (depending on the case) to eradicate the infection. An analgesic may also be prescribed to relieve the pain. Any fever reducing medicine is given to child. The patient should eat soft foods and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
PRECAUTION: The tonsils are not usually removed unless the patient has suffered several attacks of severe tonsillitis.
- Put the patient to bed in a cool, quiet room
- Do not be alarmed if the patient has no appetite.
- Encourage the patient to drink plenty of fluids especially fruit juices.
- Medicines may be given to help reduce the temperature.
If the fever has not gone within 24 hours or rises above 102◦ F (38.9◦C) consult a physician.
FEVER RELAPSING Relapsing fever is often characterized by recurrent episodes of chills, fever, nausea and neuro muscular pain and also if the infection has not completely gone. Treatment usually includes the use of an antibiotic. Bed rest and fever reducing medicines can help reduce the symptoms.
CARE FOR CHILDREN There is always a danger that a child may start convulsing if the body temperature goes too high. Respiratory diseases can be very frightening to both the child and the parents, because of the constriction of the airways.
It is generally noticed that children are forced to have course after course of antibiotics, paracetamol and proprietary cough tinctures – all these cannot be beneficial for children and antibiotics do have side affects although they do have immense advantage in treating infections in modern allopathic times.
It is far better to treat the children at the onset of an illness with aromatherapy as children prefer a more gentle and holistic treatment . Although at the same time it is very important that one should never take unnecessary risks – do call a doctor if an acute illness is not responding to your treatment and the life of the child is in Jeopardy.
Aromatherapy can be very useful for children’s ailments, to help treat many complex conditions, mental disorders and physical diseases. Aromatherapy is used to promote healing and total well being both mentally and physically. Various essential oils have specific properties to aid in relaxing muscles and relieving pain, fever etc. When used in massage, it can treat specific symptoms. Essential oils can be used to help in treating different types of physical, mental problems. Massage can treat muscle related problems – spasm / contractions, reduce fluid retention and swelling, and stimulate blood circulation and lymphatic flow.
General Observation On Children with Tonsillitis – I have encountered numerous children with tonsillitis and fever. Having successfully treated these cases, I have developed a specific interest in this area – cough, cold, fever, viral. Amongst children tonsillitis, fever, cold, cough are common and if not properly treated can become sometimes dangerous. I have found Aromatherapy to be beneficial for these treatments, provided treatment is started at the initial stage.
An Aromatherapist can play an Important role in treating Children by:
(a) Being understanding and sympathetic – By listening to the client patiently half the battle is already won . Once the client feels that some one really cares, the faith in treatment increases.
(b) Aromatic Massage is relaxing and reassuring – The touch theory along with essential oils (aroma )works wonders for the clients. The massage (touch) gives reassurance to clients especially children, old people and is relaxing for all – making their problems easier to handle by a therapist.
(c) Essential oils therapeutic effects really works – A correct selection of essential oils can really meet the need of the client and make the client improve considerably only even in first session also. For example a mentally depressed and lonely client can be greatly benefited by anti -depressive essential oils along with aromatherapist caring attitude like listening sympathetically ,massage etc. A sick child can be relaxed and helped with the use of essential oils.
(d )Professionalism – A thorough knowledge of your chosen therapy / therapies as well as anatomy and physiology, will increase the competence of an aromatherapist.
-The therapist should talk calmly to the client.
-It is important for the therapist to explain the client the techniques of treatment which the client is going to receive before commencing the actual treatment especially children.This makes them feel safe.
(e) Special couch for children: It is important for a therapist to have a specially designed suitable couch and furniture to carry out the duties as a therapist.
The following case report illustrates the valuable contribution made to a patient’s care by aromatherapy. The case describes the use of essential oils in providing relief to a child patient, who for the last many years was suffering from recurrent high fevers because of tonsillitis problem. The client continues to be seen as and when needed. The case will be described according to case study guidelines.
Client details and reason for attending-
Miss A, girl aged 7, student, first attendance December 2005. The patient suffers frequently from high fever tonsillitis. At the time of attending first sign of sore throat.
Race: Asian, Indian, Kashmiri girl
Education: Primary student class 3
Family status: Elder daughter (she has another sibling 3 years younger to her)
Hobbies/Interests: Non vegetarian food, watching television, reading books, playing tennis, swimming
Future Plans: Planning to go for tonsillitis removing operation. The family wanted to try aromatherapy before going for surgery.
High Fever – since early childhood getting frequent fevers (every 2-3 months)
Tonsillitis – Quite prone to tonsillitis – cause of high fever
General Lifestyle – Good. Doing well in studies. Due to frequent fevers, the family gets concerned.
Detailed History of complaint –
First experienced high fever when only 3 months old. The doctors attending in initial period could not diagnose the fever due to tonsillitis. Recently it could be diagnosed. Fever remains for generally 5 days. Takes fever reducing medicines like Paracetamol (as and when needed) and antibiotic treatment – erythromycin for 5 days. Doctor advised removal of tonsils. Loses appetite and bitterness in mouth after antibiotic treatment. No other health problem.
7 year old girl, normal height, frail build. Slightly sore throat (fearing that
fever will come now. Does not want to take antibiotic dose.) No other
health problem noticed.
Aim of Treatment- To use Aromatherapy treatment as a preventive measure for fever and tonsillitis.
The child and mother are made to understand about aromatherapy and how to use it at the very first sign of soreness of throat. Treatment to include back, chest, throat and forehead (gentle) massage for prevention. To use essential oils in vaporizer when needed. Also to put essential oils in a tissue to be inhaled, example – when going to school etc.
Choice of essential oils with quantities-
Total 4 drops –
2 drops of Eucalyptus
2 drops of Tea Tree in 1 tablespoon of Sesame/ Almond/ Apricot base oil
Details of essential oils used;
Eucalyptus – Murtaceae family – There are different types of eucalyptus trees belonging to this family but only a small number of them produce interesting essential oils.
Precautions – Eucalyptus oil should be avoided along with homoeopathic medicine and if you wish so, do so at a time which leaves a two to three hours gap between them.
Properties of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus )
Analgesic, antiseptic, anti -viral, balsamic, expectorant, decongestant
Particularly good for -.
Chest complaints, flu, colds and viruses.
Used for -Coughs , bronchitis, sore throat, sinusitis, skin infections, viral infections, herpes .
Scent – Sweet , menthol.
Tea Tree – (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Properties: Powerful antiseptic, anti fungal, anti- viral, expectorant, insecticide, anti -infectious bactericidal, diaphoretic, expectorant, immuno -stimulant, parasiticide .
Particularly good for – Colds, cold sores, infections (particularly skin )
Warning – No apparent warnings
Scent – Medicinal disinfectant
General Observation: A combination of top notes may not make a well balance scent to a perfumer, but a sharp intense smell is just what you need at that time to cut through mucus and blocked sinuses etc. A week later when one has recovered , then one may find that the same oils are too sharp and that they do nothing for you.
Details of how I conducted the treatment-
Firstly I made the child and the mother understand the treatment and techniques to be used like essential oils, their benefits – how to keep prepared oil safely, the potential hazards of essential oils –like keeping them away from eyes and mouth.( It should not go inside as very harmful.)
Tissue use with essential oils
Use of treatment oil at home
Made the child comfortable and secure.
Back, chest, neck massage-
Firm, soothing, effleurage steps over the back for relaxation. Rhythmic strokes on the chest to soothe the area, followed by gentle strokes down the neck; then large, gentle, circular movements on either side of the neck.
Stroke gently out from the centre of the brow to the temples with your thumbs (for fever prevention). With your thumbs, stroke from the forehead down the sides gently. Then place your palms on the forehead and hold for about a minute to create a feeling of security and calmness. Finally gentle static pressure on either side of the nose.
Gave the treatment oil for home use to be applied locally three times a day.
The first session lasted 1 hour and the client was called again the day after. The client felt comfortable after the treatment.
In the second session I made enquiries relating to health and found marked improvement as the child’s throat pain had substantially reduced and had no fever. I repeated the first session massage treatment. The client felt relaxed after the session which lasted 30 minutes. Gave treatment oil for home use to be applied three times a day. The client was called after 2 days.
In the third session, I had a detailed talk with the child. Her throat had become clear. I asked the child to inform her mother at the very first stage of cough, fever etc for preventive measures to be taken. Gave treatment oil for home use to be applied two times for a day and later to be used when needed. Vaporizer use (also steam inhalation) with essential oils was explained to them. The session lasted 30 minutes.
Home Care Advice Offered-
- Keep mouth clean by brushing, clean properly before going to bed at night.
- To use aromatherapy ‘treatment oil’ as a preventive measure at home if the client feels the first sign of tonsillitis like sore throat etc.
- Apply ‘treatment oil’ locally on chest, back, neck and forehead.
- Consult an aromatherapist for treatment.
- Consult a doctor if fever increases above 102 F.
Reassessment or feedback from client-
The client found aromatherapy to be a very pleasant treatment and her fever has not come since she started aromatherapy treatment. Although in this period they visited me a number of times for treatment as and when they saw first signs of sore throat. I gave the same treatment as explained before. The client and the family is very satisfied with the treatment.
I had at the very outset made it clear to the mother that never take unnecessary risks: show her to a doctor if the need arises ( e.g. very high temperature). But fortunately, in all these 3 years, only once a Paracetamol tablet for slight fever has been given to the child, no antibiotic has been used. The family is continuing treatment with me as and when required and are satisfied.
Assessment of the Outcome-
The case demonstrates that the symptoms of tonsillitis with fever in children can be alleviated by aromatherapy treatment which included massage, steam inhalation, vaporizer and tissue use with essential oils to the benefit of the client.
Aromatherapy played a valuable role in alleviating chronic case of tonsillitis which the child was having for the last 7 years. The family is continuing treatment with me as and when required .They are satisfied and very happy with the results .The girl is very happy that she does not have to take anti-biotic which she disliked immensely.
This case gave me immense confidence in therapeutic use of essential oils as an aromatherapist.
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