Wednesday, 13 August 2014

What to Do When your Children Don't Heal

Isn't it frustrating that no matter what you do your kids can't seem to shift that cold, sniffle or digestive complaint.  Do you get fed up with being told "they'll grow out of it" or, "now they're at daycare you have to expect them to get sick frequently".  Its hardly reassuring is it.

I'd like to challenge this notion and go against the grain for a minute.  I'd like to suggest that it doesn't have to be this way and that it is "un-natural" for your kids to pick up every little sniffle that's going around.  The time to take control of your child's health is now and I'd like to offer up some humble tips that can really help your family enjoy the well-spring of health and wellness.

Stop taking antibiotics and using paracetamol for every minor infection or rise in temperature!  I did say I was going against the grain but there is some merit in my suggestion.  The CDC in the USA have undergone a study that suggests that 30-50% of prescribed antibiotics are not indicated http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/healthcare/  Certainly there is a time and place for judicious use of strong medication but this should be only used when it meets the correct criteria.  Make no mistake in antibiotic overuse which is been reported quite openly now contributes toward unwanted side effects that weakens your child's immune response.  These medications destroy beneficial gut flora, contribute to germ overgrowth in the small bowel and inhibit nutrient uptake from the diet.  They have been linked to developing chronic and systemic inflammatory diseases and in the case of tetracycline's have been discovered to increase the chances of developing Chrohn's disease in later life. This is serious stuff folks and if you want your kids to be healthy I strongly advice using other safer alternatives first and  medications judiciously with caution. 

Ask your doctor tough questions, after all, you are a paying customer and should get your monies worth.  Here are some examples.

  1. Do we really need these medications? ie. antibiotics don't work for viral infections and the majority of ear infections in children are viral.
  2. Is there an alternative we can use, is there something more natural or through the diet I can do to help my child become well?
  3. Why isn't my child getting better?
  4. What is likely to happen if I do nothing and instead encourage my child to rest?
I understand it can be fearful to break a well trodden path but I want to encourage you to take another perspective. After all the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes.  If what you're doing isn't allowing your children to thrive with vitality then its time to try something else.   

Use food as Medicine and let your medicine be your food.
We already know from my previous piece that the human microbiome (HMB) can change for the worse in as little as 24 hours after a diet that is laden with salt, sugar, refined carbs and god knows what other toxic additives.  

It can take up to 3 years for your child's digestive system to function like that of an adult.  Up until that time they are incredibly sensitive when it comes to food and it's interaction in the gut.  This is why it's vital to provide your child with a diet that is predominantly whole foods.  "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" - Michael Pollan.  Remembering that up to 80% of immune function is related to gut function may also inspire you to choose foods instead of synthethics in the diet.  If your Grandmother wouldn't recognise it, don't eat it.

Your Child's ability to thrive and grow is directly related to their digestive system.  Their ability to fight infection, maintain ideal weight and run on a full tank of nutrients is directly related to how their body is able to digest food, extract nutrient and remove excess waste.  A good diet rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables, varied protein sources and quality oils and fats will give your child the best start.  Diet has the power to swich on or off genes that code for diseases like cancer.  A healthy wholefood diet helps regulate mood, improves concentration, contributes to good quality sleep and support a healthy immune system.  

Consider Alternative Medicines.  
Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years and has a rich tradition of countering illness while supporting vitality at the same time.  When professionally prescribed and matched to meet the individuals needs, herbal formulas can help your child resolve an array of health complaints without compromising other facets of their health.  Good quality products are unadulterated and tested to ensure quality and purity as well as been prepared without toxic or questionable additives.  Now think about that notion for a second and ask yourself, how many pharmaceutical medications can say the same for?  

Check for nutrient deficiencies. 
Lastly and briefly I would like to point out that your bodies physiology is inherently dependant on nutrients to keep it working smoothly.  An illness that is slow to respond is almost always a sign of poor nutrient status which should be professionally assessed. A body with nutrient deficiencies cannot function optimally and will begin to show signs and symptoms of disease or illness.  For example, your body is unable to repair itself without enough zinc.  Without B12 you are like to develop a mental health condition that is that turns you into a psychotic nightmare and a deficiency of essential fatty acids will result in dry skin conditions.  Be picky with whom you choose to check your nutrient status.  You want them to understand the biochemistry of your body as well as the form and nutrient combinations that should be used to correct deficiencies.   The devil is in the detail and it's the detail that has the answers.