Our bodies have the innate capacity to heal themselves - remember this the next time you get a cold or the flu.
Applying this principle is what makes the holistic approach an advantage for ultimate healing and maintaining optimal health and wellness. It is my professional belief that we NEED to experience symptoms on occasion in order for the body to heal and stay well. I believe that wellness is restored and maintained when we stop suppressing the symptoms the body expresses during acute and chronic illness.
Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!
Children need to be sick in order to be healthy. Illness is what develops a strong immune system. Acute symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, cough, runny nose, mucus production and wheezing, are all important ways in which children discharge stored accumulations of wastes or toxins from their bodies. In fact, this is the only way little people know how to eliminate toxins, at least until their immune system matures. These toxins enter and are stored in their bodies from repeated exposures to in utero, air, food, water, skin, nervous system stress, and injected materials, that for whatever reason, don’t easily exit their bodies through the normal means of detoxification. These toxins are too irritating to children’s bodies and must be removed. Eventually, a critical level of the toxins is reached, and children get sick with symptoms to purge them.
Children must be allowed to be sick, in order for them to get well
The immune system of children under the age of 7 relies primarily on NON SPECIFIC IMMUNITY. Non specific immunity is the first line of defense. It works through fever, barriers like the skin, bowels and lungs, and elimination like sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, runny nose. It is important to support these eliminations appropriately. SPECIFIC IMMUNITY becomes functional between 5 and 7 years of age. This is a learned immune response. The immune system needs to learn the best ways to attack a foreign invader. A healthy specific immunity depends upon the proper formation of natural immunity. Immune system maturation relates to the development of knowing self from non self: tolerance vs auto immunity. Proper elimination ensures the body is able to effectively eliminate non self such as bacteria, foods, viruses, parasites, allergens, fungus, mold, dust, pollen.
Fever is a child's greatest defense mechanism. Without the ability to develop a fever, a child may have difficulty to develop their natural immunity which in turn will prevent the specific immunity from maturing. Do not suppress this response! A fever below 104F is not dangerous. Treat the child who has a fever, not the number on the thermometer. 3-4 good fevers prior to the age of 5 years old is necessary for the maturation of the immune system.
Recurrent infections indicate that the body has become overloaded in its normal capacity to eliminate. If you are the type of person who gets sick ALOT, more than 2-3 times per year, its time to take a deeper look into your stress, diet and and lifestyle. Work with a health care professional to get your immune system balanced. Likewise, if you NEVER get sick, not even a sniffle, this also isn't good. Your immune system needs to 'work' to stay healthy and on alert!
I encourage parents to allow children to express their symptoms when they’re sick. No one wants children to “feel” sick. Parents can learn to use remedies, however, that help children feel better and heal more effectively, without altering the important physiology which is helping them cleanse their systems. Letting children have their symptoms, without suppressing them, can be a challenging process both for parents and health care practitioners. We often come face-to-face with our own discomfort when children experience discomfort from their illnesses. It’s hard for us to watch them “suffer”, so we reflexively give them something to bring immediate relief. This reflexive response to suppress their symptoms, however, weakens them and delays their healing process. Healing is a process and it takes time.
When you do get a cold or the flu do the following to help support the elimination of the body. You can do this by:
Drinking teas from ginger root, yarrow, elderflower and catnip.
Eat soups made with homemade bone broth.
Make your own or buy elderberry extract (Sambuguard).
Hydrotherapy like a Warming Socks Treatment or a tepid bath.
Homeopathic remedies that are specific for symptoms - they don't suppress the symptoms but assist in shifting the body away from the illness, and provide drainage to a particular area of the body.
Bundle up and go to bed to allow the body to sweat.
Rest more, do less.
So its 3am and your child is ill. First, take a deep breath. Then, take some measures to make your child as comfortable as possible and help him or her move through their acute symptoms.
I like this Pediatric Checklist - The answer to these questions will tell you if you need to seek medical attention right away. An infant 3 months or younger who gets a fever should always be seen by a medical doctor.
Alert? Active? Awake? Arousable?
Good Head/Muscle Tone?
Tolerating Food and fluids? Urinating? Talkative?
Symptoms are information - not good, not bad- they just are. Remove the obstacles to cure - the known, and as-yet-to-be identified interferences, which are stopping children and adults from harnessing their innate natural healing abilities. Opportunities to advance our health may include changes in nutrition, lifestyle, parenting and education; the use of supplements, essential oils or herbs; a reduction in their stress levels (children AND adults are over schedule); and referrals, acupuncturists, chiropractors, osteopaths and/ or other health professionals.
How do I prevent illness? I do this all year long by eating a diet of REAL food. I exercise, I drink water and get adequate sleep. Stress is well managed for the most part. If it is a particularly bad year for colds and flu I will take a homeopathic flu prevention called Muccococcinum (http://www.nourishmd.com/store/flu-remedy), but generally I do nothing different that my day to day healthy lifestyle.
When we understand this core principle, we can then take the appropriate dietary and lifestyle modifications to stay well all year round, get to the root of our chronic imbalances that are preventing us from fully thriving and aspire for a deeper level of health. This will better serve you and your kids.