What do I do if I suspect my child is affected by the epidemic of chronic illness?
1) Find a practitioner who can help find the root cause of your child’s symptom(s). While there are many specialists who might be able to help your child’s symptom(s) improve through therapy or medication (e.g., physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, allergists, gastroenterologists, etc.) you will want to consider talking to a healthcare practitioner who is experienced at uncovering the root causes of various chronic symptoms. Typically, this is an integrative or holistic physician, an integrative dietician, a naturopath, chiropractor, homeopath, or other providers trained in holistic, or integrative medicine. To find a practitioner in your area, click here.
2) Consider having a food allergy and/or sensitivity test done. Many conventionally trained physicians do not yet accept food sensitivities as clinically meaningful or relevant to health and wellness. Conversely, most holistic practitioners know that food sensitivities are often directly related to any number of chronic symptoms, including eczema, bed-wetting, mood and behavior disorders, developmental delays, and many, many others. Countless parents have found that removing these foods (not necessarily forever!) from their children’s diets can profoundly impact the intensity and frequency of symptoms. Most parents are not even aware that their children have these hidden food sensitivities—they are a hugely underrecognized problem. For more information, see Doris Rapp, MD’s book Is This Your Child?
3) Work with your holistic practitioner to get to the root of your child’s symptom(s). Often times, practitioners will find that affected children have:
- Intestinal dysbiosis, an imbalance in intestinal bacteria and microbes (not enough good germs and too many bad germs)
- Nutritional deficiencies (such as low magnesium, iron, zinc, or essential fatty acids), even if they have a good diet
- Evidence of oxidative stress (too many free radicals causing damage to cells and tissues)
- Structural, sensory or other physiological abnormalities
4) Start your healing and recovery journey at home. What can I do today?
- Green” your child’s environment. Evaluate your child’s toxic exposures, including household cleaners, chemicals, personal care products, flame-resistant pj’s, pesticides on produce, etc. Choose more natural alternatives—organic produce, natural personal care products and household cleaners. For more information, see www.ewg.org.
- Consider making healthy diet changes. Minimize processed foods, sugary foods and opt for whole foods that are nutrient-dense and free of toxins (additives, colorings, preservatives, genetically-modified ingredients). For tips on how to make simple healthy diet changes visit www.epidemicanswers.org
- Avoid medications like antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. Consult with your holistic healthcare practitioner to determine the best way to manage acute illnesses for your child.
Chronic illness indicates that something (usually many things) are out of balance in the body. Although each person is individual and will have individual needs, there are some universal healing basics that need to be addressed before individualized and specific therapies will be effective. Learn about some basic diet and lifestyle changes that can have a huge impact on your child’s health.