by Kelly Dorfman. MS, LND
In truth, our family rarely gets what is “going around” because we have an effective natural medicine cabinet. At first sign of illness, we reach for immune support.
In low verbal children, the first signs of illness can be hard to recognize. Sudden changes in behavior (increased aggression or self injurious behavior) are often the initial and sometimes only symptom of sickness or allergies.
Nervous system regulation trouble can distort the expected symptoms of bacteria and virus infestations, such as fever or fatigue.
If a patient in a nursing home suddenly becomes aggressive, the staff know immediately to look for a urinary tract infection. The behavior, not pain or fever, is the tip-off.
Yeast symptoms also signal pending illness. Remember, yeast thrive when the immune system is weakened. Bad breath (from yeast fermenting carbohydrate) and bowel changes from swelling yeast populations can precede illness.
Other symptoms to notice: changes in sleep patterns; grabbing or rubbing the stomach; fingers in ears, nose or eyes; screaming; hands down pants; picking at self.
Before initial symptoms become sickness, consider supplements that boost immune functioning. Below are some general suggestions, not meant to substitute for appropriate medical treatment. See a professional for specific questions about individual children.
Proven to reduce the severity of colds, vitamin C increases the body’s output of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are the foot soldiers of the immune system.
Vitamin C is non-toxic because when too much is taken, the body excretes it as diarrhea.
Children over 2 can take 250 mg twice a day when run-down, and children 7 and up 500 mg or more, twice a day, depending on age and stomach sensitivity.
Good bacteria are the body’s first defense against invaders. A layer of bacteria coats all the epithelial surfaces (such as gut and lung linings) in healthy individuals. Maintaining this population helps repel bad bacteria and keeps the yeast population in control.
Increase good bacteria intake to boost your resistance to illness. Find refrigerated probiotics in powder or capsules and use a few billion per day. For children under 6, a billion or two bugs per day should suffice.
If a child takes probiotics regularly, increase the amount temporarily when illness threatens. For more read Beyond Probiotics by Ann Louise Gittleman.
Studies show garlic, taken in capsules or as food, to be effective at reducing yeast populations and improving immune competency.
For children who cannot swallow capsules, serve “therapeutic garlic bread”. Spread a piece of bread with butter or olive oil, then a layer of crushed garlic (available at the supermarket in jars). Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Both substances increase immune functioning in the gut, a major entry point for germs. Use one or the other as most transfer factor available by mouth is concentrated colostrum.
For young children 1 capsule 2 to 3 times per day may be enough. Follow bottle instructions.
For more read Enhanced Transfer Factor by William J. Hennan.
This popular homeopathic remedy is first line defense against flu symptoms. While the instructions suggest ingesting the entire contents of one tube, some people report that 10 -15 granules are enough (offering significant financial savings if used frequently).
Take them 15 minutes away from food or mint-flavored toothpaste use. Only touch the remedy you will be using.
TCB-16 by Metagenics (Lonicera/Forsythia Combination or Yin Chiao). Yin Chiao is a traditional Chinese herb formula taken the first 24-48 hours for colds that start as a sore/scratchy throat.
Adults take 10 -20 pellets 3 times per day for a few days at onset of symptoms. Children over 6 who can swallow pellets can take half that amount.
Beware of buying Yin Chiao at Chinese grocers. Herbs imported directly from China can be laced with other medications. Metagenics has excellent quality control for Chinese herbs.
Keep these supports on hand. As one father said, “We don’t get colds any more since we discovered that Chinese stuff”. While the cold and flu cannot be cured, they can be prevented.
For more information: Superimmunity for Kids by Galland and Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Zand, Walton, & Rountree (see booklist).