I am no stranger to being sick. While not a chronically ill person now, I was really good at it as a child. I was out of school for 30+ days each year in the early grades and caught every bug that went through my school or house. I was comfortable in the hospital because I was a there so much. And I am incredibly grateful that these are attributes of my childhood and not my adult life. Because somewhere along the way, my immune system caught up. It is fairly strong now and sickness is not something I dealt with much once I started adulting. And then I had a child.
First, let me put it out in the universe that I am incredibly grateful for a healthy child! He also has a great immune system and gets sick less than his peers, at least from my perspective. But kids are constantly building up their immune system, so they are going to get sick. (Maybe it has something to do with the tendency to lick ALL THE THINGS… Kids are kinda gross that way.) Anyway, having a sick child is WAY different from being sick yourself. When sick yourself, you are probably more likely to ride it out when you hear “it’s just a virus… rest and fluids are what you need”. (You mean just lay around and watch Netflix? Ummm… OK!) But when it’s your baby, you want to give them ALL the things to make it better. Immediately. Whatever it takes to get that fever down and that nose to stop running!
An Interesting & Useful Webinar…
Last night, I listened to a webinar on Taking Charge of Your Child’s Health by Dr. George Wootan to see how my base of knowledge jived with his more functional medicine approach. Dr. Wootan is an MD who encourages his patients (and their parents) to take an active role in their health and wellness. Many points in this webinar (which I’m assuming match those in his book by the same title) really struck home with me.
The State of Being “Unsick”
There is a third state of in between sick and well. He calls it unsick. When you are well, your body can fight off all the germs that it encounters. But if “you are unsick, illness is as close as the nearest germ”. Modern medicine is awesome at getting you from sick to unsick, but not great on getting you fully well.
Be Your Child’s Health Advocate
You know your child better than anyone else. So be empowered talk to your doctor about how YOU feel your child is doing. Does she have a high fever but otherwise acts fine? That may allow for a less medically invasive response than if she is really lethargic. You see your child everyday, but your doctor only sees her a few times a year. So be involved in the conversation on what actions you take.
Evaluating Your Whole Child
A fever is a symptom, not a disease. Fevers activate the body’s immune system in many ways – including increasing white blood cell counts and other immune cells and starting your body’s production of interferon (triggered between 101-102F). So attempting to lower a fever immediately could actually stunt your child’s immune response and prolong the illness. More importantly, you should be evaluating the whole child, not just their temperature… How are they acting? Are they eating and drinking normally? Do they want to play or are they more tired than normal?
Start with Good Nutrition
Make sure your child has a good nutritional base – a good multivitamin, such as Incredivites or Ocean Wonders. Dr. Wootan did his own research of the more than 3000 vitamin companies operating in the US back in the 1970s and landed on Shaklee as the best choice on the market; and he still recommends it to his clients today! When a child is sick, he recommends fluids and vitamin C as the first line response, to help their body fight as best it can.
A Good Natural Immune Booster
If they are sick for more than a few days, Dr. Wootan recommends taking Defend & Resist Complex to give your body that extra edge in disease fighting from echinacea (which activates 18 different immune responses in your body!).
It’s pretty evident that I got a good deal out of this webinar. Please understand that I have an immense respect for modern medicine, as I have benefited from it throughout my life. I am also NOT giving medical advice (as I am a health enthusiast, not a medical professional). But I am passing on the advice from a seasoned functional medicine MD – Dr. Wootan – who seems to make a lot of sense!
My Key Take-Away
My favorite message is one I learned early in my child’s life. Be empowered to advocate for your child! My son was in the NICU for 8 days after he was born. He was on antibiotics, as a precaution, after some abnormal blood tests. But while he was there, he was poked and prodded and tested for what seemed like every little thing! The medical staff there was superb and if he was truly ill, he was exactly where I wanted him to be. But a healthy kid in a NICU is an anomaly and they didn’t really know what to do with him. So he got a spinal tap and EKG and so many blood tests – and luckily was still found to be healthy.
It was an eye opening experience and while I was still figuring out what this whole “mom” thing was, I learned that I should ask questions and educate myself and engage in discussions with the docs and nurses about what is best for MY child. I’m happy to say he is still a healthy kid and I’ve become much more comfortable in advocating for his best health, in collaboration with our awesome (and practical!) pediatricians.
If you’d like to know more on this topic, I’m happy to send you the link to the webinar recording. Just ask!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and am not giving medical advice. I’m just giving this mom’s point of view on Dr. Wootan’s interesting perspectives on taking charge of your child’s health. I am a fan & distributor of Shaklee products, though and I may receive commissions from purchases made through them.