Children’s Health

A stressed baby

As most new parents will attest, sleep deprivation can be the cause of significant stress.  Having a baby that cries all day and night can frazzle even the strongest parent.  Babies can also suffer from stress and anxiety. 

Lengthy, difficult or induced birth as well as neo-natal surgery can have a monumentous affect on the delicate nervous system of a baby. 

Research into stress and anxiety has shown that the correct nutritional support can relieve a baby’s stress enabling them (and the parents) to get a restful night’s sleep.  If you have a ‘difficult’ baby, it may be worthwhile consulting a naturopath trained in this area.

 

Children’s Vaccines

Vaccination is always an emotive topic, and a decision that should be made by the child’s parents.  However, the more information that is available, the better informed any decision will be.  Read the latest findings here as well as a thesis on A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy.

The hepatitis B vaccine is given to infants at birth. But there is impressive evidence that for a preventive measure, hepatitis B vaccine is remarkable for the frequency, variety, and severity of complications from its use.

Hepatitis B vaccine has been shown in many peer-reviewed research papers to be associated with numerous infant deaths in the U.S. and Europe, multiple sclerosis and numerous chronic autoimmune disorders.  Read the full report here.

For more research and indepth information about vaccines, their manufacture and application visit http://drtenpenny.com/default.aspx

Being well informed is the best platform for making a good decision – a must read for everyone.  An interesting consideration regarding whether or not to vaccinate arises when comparing rates of infection in different countries.  Australia and the U.S. have the highest vaccination rates, and also highest infection numbers.  Many European countries have significantly reduced vaccination programs.

For a lengthy list of comments by medical practitioners, click here.

 

Medication of our children

Gone are the times when the only medication taken by children was an occasional cough syrup.  The age of children taking prescription medications on a regular basis is dropping, with children as young as 2 years old on hard core steroid medication.  Dr Mercola presents an interesting yet frightening article on statin drugs and other medications prescribed to our children.  Please visit Dr Mercola’s site to read more.  A must for every parent.

 

Coeliac or gluten intolerance

Does your child complain about tummy aches?  Or is he or she just constantly pale and low in energy?  The answer may be a simple finger prick away.

With Western civilizations high consumption of gluten-containing foods during the past 50 or more years, a consequence has been increased Coeliac Disease.  Unfortunately, this condition is grossly under-diagnosed, particularly in children whose tummy concerns are all too readily brushed aside.

What is Coeliac Disease?  It is a genetic inability to tolerate gluten.  Gluten  causes inflammation in the bowels, gradually eroding the delicate villi (finger-like projections) and preventing absorption of nutrients from food.  Gluten is found in many grains, mainly wheat but also rye, barley and oats.  Read about grains, gluten and coeliac to better understand this condition.

So why is it so important to know if your child’s upset tummy is due to Coeliac Disease?  The answer is simple:  because left untreated, those with Coeliac Disease will suffer malabsorption conditions which can lead to dental issues, osteoporosis, dermatitis, lowered immunity, infertility, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other serious conditions.

The test is simple:  a quick finger prick and you know the result in 5 minutes.  No need to subject your child to a pathology blood test and the results are just as accurate.  Alternately, you may wish to have possible food allergies checked using BioResonance Therapy.

In this instance, knowing really gives you the power to prevent any serious health complications in your child’s future.

 

Back to SchoolKids corner

Give your kids a head-start for the new school year The first day of school can be tough! There are so many new faces, new rules and so much new information for your kids to take in. The start of the school year can be filled with anxiety, dread or excitement. Fortunately there are some simple and effective things you can do to give your kids a head start for the beginning of this school year.

Sharpen their mental focus

There are herbs which support brain function and improve memory and learning in children by improving their focus and resilience under pressure. These herbs may be particularly useful if your children have poor concentration. These herbs and other nutritional supplements especially for kids are available from True Medicine. Avoiding foods that prevent mental clarity must be a priority for all lunchboxes.  Read about the dangers of sugar.

Is the new school year stressing them out?

Many children get stressed and anxious at the beginning of a new school year. Anxiety can interfere with children’s confidence, attention and behaviour and is often associated with ADHD in children. Once again, certain herbs can help to calm children whilst improving focus and behaviour; relieving anxiety or stress as they are both gentle and calming. A combination of herbs can help children get off to sleep as well calming them down if they are experiencing day time anxiety. Certain nutrients are also valuable in supporting your child’s stress and anxiety levels.  Talk to Dagmar about which combinations are best suited for your child or children.

Simple recommendations to maximise your child’s learning experience:

  • Make sure your children eat a nutritious breakfast – there are manycereals out there that contain high levels of sugar, which can affect their concentration. Choose a whole-grain, healthy cereal for theirbreakfast. Eggs are also a great way to start the day, as the protein can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the morning.
  • Get your children off to bed at a reasonable time. Children need more sleep than adults and lack of sleep can affect their learning.
  • Get into a regular routine and stick to it; this will make the start and end of the day less stressful for both you and your children.
  • Encourage your kids to talk about their day, this helps them develop their communication skills and can give you valuable insight into how they are going. If you sense any problems, discuss it with their teacher.

Want the best for your children?

These are just some of the great natural options available from our clinic for optimising the health of your children and helping them get through these first weeks of school. We have many other natural health solutions specifically tailored to meet the needs of your kids so if you want the best for your children’s health, come and discuss available options with Dagmar today.

 

Supporting attention and focus in children – an oily solution

Optimising your child’s brain – read how important specific nutrients are, not only for your child’s brain development but also in preventing behavioural disorders during adolescence.  For a medical doctor’s perspective on damaging substances children are exposed to, listen to this video.

Increasing evidence indicates that deficiencies or metabolic imbalances of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA might be associated with childhood developmental and psychiatric disorders including ADHD.*  A study published in the Nutrition Journal suggests that children with ADHD can benefit from daily supplementation of purified fish oils.  The results of the study reported significant improvements in behaviour.  The study further supported a growing scientific consensus that balancing a child’s Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio by reducing consumption of vegetable oils and supplementing with fish oils was critical for a child’s overall health.

My comments:  there are many fish oils available in supermarkets, chemists and healthfood stores.  Some important things to note when purchasing fish oils are:

  • they must be pure – a notation that the oils have been tested is not sufficient to guarantee purity
  • should be sources from North Atlantic small fish – not large fish which generally contain high levels of mercury
  • must be refrigerated – fish oils go rancid very quickly, especially in Queensland climate
  • levels of EPA and DHA should meet nutritional requirements – many over-the-counter brands are very low in actual EPA, DHA levels
  • contain Vitamin E as a natural preservative

When it comes to your and your children’s health, there are no short cuts for quality.  More about fish oils under nutrition.

 

Otitis Media or Middle Ear Infections

Definition: Acute otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear due to a bacterial or viral infection, usually secondary to an upper respiratory tract infection. It is common in young children from 3 months to 3 years. The first complaint is usually of a persistent severe earache. Hearing loss may occur along with fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and drainage from the ear. Babies may demonstrate irritability, fussiness or difficulty in sleeping, feeding or hearing. Perforation of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) is major complication.

Recurrent otitis media is particularly common in younger children.  One of the main reasons for this is that the Eustachian tube does not have much of a slope, preventing adequate drainage of mucous.  One factor that leads to increased mucous production, is dietary with wheat and dairy products being the major offenders.  It is the build up of mucous which then provides the perfect breeding ground for bacterial or viral infection.

Unfortunately, over-use of antibiotics has lead to resistance and recurrent infections.  The following is just one of many studies into the use of antibiotics to treat otitis media:

Antibiotic Use in Children with Otitis Media Increases Risk for Recurrence – Another reason to wait and see

Clinicians often prescribe antibiotics for treatment of uncomplicated acute otitis media (AOM) [middle ear infection] in children despite lack of evidence for improved outcomes. To examine the effects of antibiotic treatment on recurrence of AOM, investigators in the Netherlands surveyed parents of 240 children (age range, 6 months to 2 years) about 3 years after the children had participated in a multicentre, randomised, double-blind trial of amoxicillin (40 mg/kg/day in 3 doses) or placebo for treatment of AOM (JW Emerg Med Apr 1 2000). Seventy percent of parents returned questionnaires.

Parents reported at least one episode of AOM since the 6-month post-treatment follow-up visit significantly more often in the amoxicillin group than in the placebo group (63% vs. 43%). Even after adjustment for confounding factors, children in the amoxicillin group had 2.5 times the risk for recurrence. In sensitivity analysis among children who were not prescribed antibiotics during the 6 months after randomised treatment, the adjusted odds ratio for recurrence was 4.4. Ear, nose, and throat surgery was less likely in the amoxicillin group (21% vs. 30%).

The authors note that wide confidence intervals limit interpretation of the results and caution that the findings cannot be generalized to children with underlying disease or who live in under-resourced conditions.

Comment: One more nail in the coffin for antibiotic use in simple otitis media! This practice increases risk for colonization with resistant pathogens and recurrent infections in individual children and contributes to antibiotic resistance in the general population. In uncomplicated cases, be assured that resolution without antibiotics is the rule, not the exception, and try a “wait-and-see prescription,” rather than immediately starting unnecessary antibiotics. There are also many natural supportive remedies available – both preventative and treatment options.

Reference:  Bezáková N et al. Recurrence up to 3.5 years after antibiotic treatment of acute otitis media in very young Dutch children: Survey of trial participants. BMJ 2009 Jun 30; 338:b2525. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2525)

Always seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner.  Should your child require antibiotic treatment, then remember to replace the good gut bacteria and support the immune system to prevent recurrent infections.  This is where your Family Naturopath can help.