Bedwetting may be a common occurrence in households across the country, but common does not mean normal.
The biggest thing you need to know is that a child does not purposefully wet the bed. You cannot punish orscare your child, but it may worsen the problem.
The next thing to know is that the most common reason children wet the bed at night is due to what they are eating and drinking.
Diet is Linked to Bedwetting
“Nocturnal enuresis may be linked to dietary allergies that provoke bladder instability.” –Dr. Douglas N.Tietjen, M.D., and Douglas A.Husmann, M.D. from the Department of Urology at the Mayo Clinic.
Their study concluded that all stopped bed-wetting when they began food-restricted diets, and the wetting re-occurred when they resumed regular diets.
Could Your Child’s Diet be the Problem?
- digestive problems
- bloated belly
- skin rashes or hives
- stuffy or runny nose
- dark circles under the eyes
- night sweats
- red ears
- red cheeks
- bumps on the back of the arms
- frequent colds/illnesses
All of these ailments are linked to food sensitivities (or allergies), and they may be to blame for the bedwetting. Typically, the foods your child reaches for the most (processed foods, sugar, gluten, dairy) are to blame, but not always. Talk to your doctor about IgE and IgG testing to find out specifically what’s triggering issues or follow an elimination diet like Feingold or GAPS. Make sure to keep a food journal to link any reactions to specific foods!
Other Possible Bedwetting Causes
Enuresis is a condition in which the child has the loss of bladder control. Nocturnal Enuresis is known as “bed-wetting” because it happens during the night. Approximately 5 to 7 million children wet the bed, with boys more so than girls.
The most important thing to note is that there is a cause to bedwetting. While there is more than one possibility, there is a specific reason your child is wetting the bed; and stubbornness or defiance are not options.
Most research has proven that bed-wetting isn’t caused by drinking too much liquid before bedtime. It’s not a psychological problem. It’s not because the child is too lazy to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.
According to Research, Possible Causes Include:
- Genetics: Bedwetting tends to run in families
- Overactive Bladder Syndrome: When the muscles that control the bladder spasm and trigger urine to leak out.
- Small Bladder Capacity: A smaller bladder needs to be emptied more, but the child should wake to empty it.
- Medications: Certain medications cause frequent urination or a deeper sleep, meaning the child will not wake up to go to the bathroom.
- Hormones: Low levels of the hormone Vasopressin (which regulates urine production) cause the kidneys to produce too much urine for the bladder to hold – OR not enough antidiuretic hormone; this hormone reduces the amount of urine made by the kidneys.
- Nervous System: The nerves attached to the bladder may not be fully developed. This can cause a weakened signal to the brain causing the child not to wake up.
- Fears: Being scared of the dark or other nighttime fears may keep your child in bed and scared to leave for the bathroom.
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Abnormalities in the urethral valves in boys or in the ureter in girls or boys
- Abnormalities in the spinal cord
- Constipation: If the bowels become blocked, it places pressure on the bladder and triggers bedwetting.
- Stimulating Beverages: sodas, teas, and caffeinated beverages may stimulate an increase in urine.
How to Help
- Do not voice your frustration or place blame on your child. You may cause the problem to get worse.
- Make sure your child uses the bathroom before bed.
- Keep a small potty-training potty next to his bed so he knows he has something close by to use if the bathroom is too far, the hall is too dark, or he’s too tired to walk that far.
- Keep the mattresses protected with waterproof covers. Go one step forward and add another waterproof layer on top of the fitted sheet that can be removed in the middle of the night without having to strip the entire bed.
- Chiropractic Care: If the bedwetting is caused by nerve interference from the spine, chiropractic care will help. Several studies show that manipulating and adjusting the spine can eliminate bedwetting.
- Behavior therapy: A treatment that doesn’t use medicine.
- Motivational therapy: positive reinforcement and reward systems to help your child keep track of his progress.
- Behavior conditioning: This therapy uses an alarm. The alarm rings or vibrates when your child first begins to wet the bed.
- Diet Change: Following an elimination diet and removing trigger foods, typically processed items, those containing dyes and toxins, gmo’s, and/or general items that hurt your child’s gut may eliminate all bed wetting.
Note: Your doctor may offer medicine if your child is seven years old or older, and if behavior therapy and diet changes haven’t worked. But medicines aren’t a cure for bed-wetting! Remember that medicines may have side effects.
These medicines work in two ways:
- One kind of medicine helps the bladder hold more urine
- The other kind helps the kidneys make less urine.
Solving the root of the problem is a much better option.
You may be risking your life for a good night’s sleep.
There are two different categories of sleeping medications: Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Prescription. I’m going to talk to you about the risks of both, beginning with OTC. OTC sleep aids may seem to be an easy fix, not addictive like prescription versions, and even safe because they are made so readily available. This is not the case, is it ever these days? If you are not sleeping well, or not falling asleep well, there is a deeper issue at hand. Finding a natural, healthy solution to the rooted issue will not only solve your sleeping troubles, but improve your overall wellbeing.
Most people assume that taking an OTC sleep aid won’t cause harm, but the sad truth is that a few doses can cause long-term problems. The main ingredient in many OTC sleeping pills is an antihistamine which results in the drowsy and sedative effect. Many OTC sleep aids also contain acetaminophen (Tylenol type products), especially if they advertise pain relief as well. For more specific information on Tylenol risks read here: http://peaandthepodchiropractic.com/the-truth-about-tylenol-dangers-for-infants-children-and-pregnant-women/
Most Common OTC Sleep Aids:
- Tylenol PM
- Advil PM
- Other store-name brands
OTC Sleeping Pills May Increase Your Risk of Liver Failure and are linked to brain damage.
The number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States is taking too much acetaminophen, which is incredibly easy to do considering just how many over-the-counter and prescription products contain this drug. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/21/FDA-Changes-Tylenol-Warnings-But-Doesnt-Tell-You-How-to-Take-it-Safely.aspx
Overdosing is as easy as taking a dose for a headache, cold or achy back that’s making it difficult for you to sleep, but having already taken one or more acetaminophen-containing products to relieve your pain and other symptoms during the day. Not realizing that compounding doses of acetaminophen can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, is what causes an overdose. This risk is important to be aware of, especially if you take Tylenol PM, Excedrin PM or other acetaminophen-containing sleep aids on a regular basis. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/29/overthecounter-sleep-meds-are-not-effective.aspx
The numbers are alarming, over $100 million or more is being spent on OTC sleep aids, and research shows that children 12 years and older along with adults are downing these medications like candy.
Taking these OTC Sleep Medications, even sporadically, can put you at risk of: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep-aids/art-20047860
- Skin rash
- Appetite increase, weight gain, loss of appetite, or even anorexia.
- Hypo-tension (abnormally low blood pressure).
- Blurred vision.
- Prostate problems.
- Liver toxicity.
- Morning hangover. Waking up groggy and feeling “drugged” is a common side effect.
- Daytime drowsiness and fatigue. OTC medications tend to last longer than 8 hours, leaving you unable to function well throughout the next day.
- Dental Decay
Benadryl and Sominex have previously been found to cause hallucinations in the elderly. All of the listed OTC drugs can negatively affect your brain, causing long-term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine – a nervous system neurotransmitter. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease typically have a marked shortage of acetylcholine. The results of some studies indicate that these drugs with anticholinergic effects may be yet another piece of the puzzle that might explain the sharp rise in dementia and cognitive decline.
Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol, and Elavil are available only by prescription.
“Research involving data from more than 10,500 people who received drugs for poor sleep (hypnotics) showed that “as predicted, patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics” and the association held true even when patients with poor health were taken into account — and even if the patients took fewer than 18 pills in a year.
The study suggested that those who take such medications are not only at higher risk for certain cancers, but are nearly four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them.
Sleeping pills linked to these risks included benzodiazepines (such as temazepam), non-benzodiazepines (such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata), barbiturates, and sedative antihistamines.” http://www.darksideofsleepingpills.com/
Not only are prescription sleep medications linked to increased risk of death, but they place you at a 35% higher risk of cancer.
In addition to the side effects of the OTC versions, prescription sleep aids add the side effects:
- Sleep walking, sleep eating and even sleep driving
- Confusion and disorientation
- Complete amnesia from events, even those that took place during the day
Sleeping Pills Help You Fall Asleep Just 13 Minutes Faster and Sleep Only 11 Minutes Longer
Sleeping pills do nothing to help the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place. This is likely why studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can treat insomnia better than drugs
Better Options for a Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, or don’t feel well rested when you wake up in the morning, these options may provide you with techniques to improve sleep problems.
There are many factors that can influence your sleep, but one that many fail to consider is the use of lights, such as your TV, iPad, and computer, before going to bed. These emit the type of blue light that will suppress melatonin production and hamper your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, you’ll want to turn them off at least an hour prior to bedtime.
Next, making sure your bedroom is ideally suited for sleep can also go a long way to ensure restful and uninterrupted sleep:
- Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes to ensure complete darkness.
- Consider using a Himalayan salt lamp. It will give off a soft red glow, purify the air, and help you rest easier.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius)
- Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs).These can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well.
Natural sleep aids and insomnia treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy take time to treat this sleeplessness, usually a minimum of several days or weeks. It takes time and hard work to learn how to sleep if you have insomnia.
Chiropractic care and wellness adjustments will help you to relax. It also improves the blood flow in the nervous system and corrects any misalignments, or sublaxations in the spine. These subluxations compress the nerves and cause lack of communication between the spine and the brain. These subluxations lead to a process called stress response which puts the body out of balance and do not let the body rest.
Avoiding gluten, grains, dairy and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Omega-3 fats (Like Krill Oil or Fermented Cod Liver Oil) are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins.
B vitamins are important for energy production in cells. And vitamin B6 works with the sleep aid 5-htp to help create serotonin.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D3:
Adequate calcium and magnesium in your daily diet are also important nutrients for helping you relax and get a good night’s sleep. But according to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements, millions of Americans are not getting adequate amounts. Magnesium in particular may help with fatigue and stress reduction. Multivitamins almost never contain much calcium or magnesium, so you may need to supplement if your diet is lacking in these two essential nutrients. You should also make certain you are getting at least 400 IU of vitamin D3 every day (1,000 IU supplements are even better, especially during the dark winter months). Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption.
Make sure to use high quality supplements.
A melatonin sleep aid can be very effective for some people, especially for jet lag. Melatonin can be taken by itself as a natural sleep aid. It is also often seen as a blend in supplements, which may be the most effective way to use it.
Also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, this substance is produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. In supplements, 5-htp often comes from Griffonia simplicifolia seed extract. 5-htp is a precursor to serotonin and increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that has many functions, one of which is to regulate sleep. One of the great things about 5-htp is that it crosses easily from the blood into the brain. That’s why 5-htp taken by itself may be effective for reaching a natural calm mood and also help with depression.
As a natural sleep aid, it’s probably best to use 5-htp as part of a supplement blend.
This brain neurotransmitter is included in some natural sleep aids because it has a calming effect and relieves anxiety that can keep a person awake at night. GABA does promote drowsiness and may help some people fall asleep faster.
This is the most abundant amino acid in your body. It has a wide range of uses, including for insomnia, anxiety, and to improve mood.
This is also an amino acid and is naturally found in green tea. Studies have shown that green tea contains about 1 to 3% theanine. It has a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect on the mind.(Green tea itself is not a natural remedy for insomnia because this tea contains caffeine, but you can find a decaffeinated version.)
Herbal Sleep Remedies:
The best natural sleep aid will have some combination of sleep herbs in them.
- Lemon balm
Not all of these herbs need to be present for an all-natural sleep aid to be effective. Most herbal sleep aids will also often have melatonin mixed in with them, though not always.
Tips for falling asleep fast: http://www.sleeppassport.com/how-to-fall-asleep.html
Headaches: Reasons and Relief.
Adults who suffer from severe headaches and migraines say that they grew up with headaches throughout childhood. Catching, treating, and preventing headaches in children can lead to life filled with significantly more pain-free days.
According to the National Headache Foundation, the most common headache in children is a tension headache, which starts in the neck and wraps around the head.
75% of children will get headaches before the age of 15, with girls being more affected than boys. The numbers are continuing to rise due to our American lifestyle. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2526375/
The main cause, you ask? Our guess: Technology. Texting, using the iPad, hand held video games, anything keeping the child looking down. Even sitting and completing hours of homework can cause tension in the neck. We need to break this habit (in ourselves as well as our children). Introduce a book stand for homework and reading, even the iPad will work on this. Try to limit your time on the phone or other device and pay attention to your posture while on it.
Move! Get outside. Play with your kids, stimulate their brains, and stimulate your brain! Engage the core muscles. Strong core muscles mean a strong back. Stand up every 20-30 minutes of sitting at work (or doing homework), sit on a yoga ball instead of an office chair, and exercise regularly, adding more core exercises into your workout.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: Primary and secondary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease or illness and are rare.
Primary Headaches include:
- Cluster Headaches
- Tension Headaches
- Persistent Daily Headaches
- Cough Headaches
- Exercise Headaches
- Sex Headaches
Possible Lifestyle Triggers:
- Processed Foods
- Lack of Sleep
- Poor posture
- Skipped meals
Persistent daily headaches are NOT normal. Treating the headache is just masking a symptom. The thyroid, Vitamin D, and adrenal glands all can cause headaches and are generally overlooked in the mainstream population. The thyroid aids in brain development, secretes hormones, regulates your temperature, and helps with metabolism. Vitamin D is important for bones, muscles, and the brain. It is also helpful in preventing cancer, autoimmune diseases, and hypothyroid. Having lab work done to know your numbers is helpful in supplementing yourself correctly.
The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for producing cortisol and sex hormones. Cortisol has been called the “stress hormone,” and is responsible for regulating the body during stages of increased stress in life. We tend to always be in a high state of stress. That means our cortisol is always high and does not come down as it should. Again, lab work should be done to know exact levels.
While most people tend to categorize their headaches as sinus pressure or a sinus headache, this is actually not accurate and very uncommon. Roger Cady and Curtis Schneider of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Mo., have shown that nearly 98 percent of people who believed they had sinus headaches were actually experiencing a migraine. So instead of blaming your sinuses, start a headache log and document foods you are eating, strong scents, exercise, and daily lifestyle. You may be able to find your body’s trigger.
Brain tissue does not feel pain the same way skin and other organs do. The brain is encased in a hard, protective covering and it does not respond to touch or pressure sensations. Headaches occur because of activation or irritation of structures that do sense pain: skin, bone or neck joints, blood vessels or muscles. Headaches occur in response to exposure to internal or external triggers, such as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, fasting or stress. Exposure to these triggers prompts the brain to signal pain centers that produce a variety of chemical messengers, including serotonin and norepinephrine, which cause expansion of meningeal blood vessels surrounding the brain. This expansion results in increased blood flow, and blood vessels on the side of the head can become more prominent and tender. As the blood vessels swell they stretch the nerves that surround them, causing these nerves to send signals to the trigeminal system, an area of the brain that relays pain messages for the head and face. Activation of the trigeminal system most commonly causes pain around the eye and cheek, creating the false perception of “sinus” pain. The trigeminal system also sends messages to the hypothalamus, an area of the brain involved in food cravings, and to the upper part of the cervical spinal cord, which may result in muscle spasms in the neck. (Source: Cephalagia: An International Journal of Headache)
Ways to help headaches:
Yoga: It is important to start practicing as soon as possible after you start to feel the pain. Imagine your brain shrinking with each pose. Yoga promotes blood flow and relaxation, helping the body to align and alleviate the pain.
Exercise: Increase in exercise will aid in digestion and help with improved sleep. Nabih Ramadan, MD, a neurologist at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, and chair of the National Headache Foundation (NHF) Education and Biomedical Research Committee states that regular exercise at least three times a week can lessen the frequency of headaches. A study based on surveys from over 69,000 people in Norway, found that sedentary adults had a higher risk of headaches than their more active counterparts. Likewise, the researchers noted that study participants who reported more frequent headaches were the least likely to be physically active.
Remember that a strong core means a strong back. A strong back leads to strong, correct posture. Make sure you include strength exercises for your core.
Pressure points: Acupressure can relieve pain and rebalance the body quickly.
Points to try:
- The inside of your eyebrow, just above the bridge of your nose.
- The temples: gentle massaging motion
- The base of the skull: Tilt your head back and press upward in a circular motion
- Between the thumb and index finger: Pinch the area and massage
- Between the big and second toes: move one inch forward and press down
Magnesium: According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), nearly half of the people suffering from migraine headaches show to have a low amount of ionized magnesium in their blood. A great way to add magnesium to the body is topically, through the skin. Magnesium oil used regularly can help the frequency of headaches. Remember that magnesium needs calcium to do its job.
Two studies have shown that supplementing with magnesium may reduce the frequency of headaches. Magnesium levels affect serotonin receptors and have an effect on nitric oxide synthesis and release, as well as on NMDA receptors all brain structures and chemicals suspected to important in the formation of a migraine. www.thedailyheadache.com
Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care helps with headaches and balances all three nervous systems. A study from 2001 found chiropractic care resulted in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache. Aligning the body and correcting the posture can help alleviate frequent headaches and the severity of headaches. http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/FULL/Behavioral_and_Physical_Treatments_for_Headache.html
Gluten free: Diet plays a huge role in triggering a headache. A study published in BMC Medicine discovered that gluten sensitive individuals are at a higher risk of headaches. Frequent headaches can be eliminated by a simple change in one’s diet. ( www.migraine.com ) Cut out processed foods as well as gluten. Preservatives such as nitrites are linked to migraines.
Hydration: Water makes up 70% of the human body and 80% of the brain. It is a very powerful nutrient. When it is lacking, you can expect to suffer a wide range of health ailments. Headaches are one of the most common illnesses associated with dehydration. Carry water with you and remember to drink often. http://www.newsmax.com/health/Dr-Brownstein/headache-arthritis-dehydration-water/2014/02/06/id/551303/
Studies Prove 70% improvement of Asthma with chiropractic alignments!! So, why aren’t more children under chiropractic care?
By Dr. Brenda Fairchild
I hear all the time in the office from parents that their doctor has told them that there is not much that he or she can do about their child’s asthma. Conventional pediatricians suggest that the child may outgrow it, and in the meantime prescribe steroid treatments and/or inhalers for acute symptoms. Parents often feel like they have tried everything. Inhalers, steroids, and all different types of medications and nothing has helped. They are sick and tired of hearing their child struggle to breathe. They are sick and tired of missing work and for their kids missing school … according to the American Lung Association, “Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism; in 2008, asthma accounted for an estimated 14.4 million lost school days in children with an asthma attack in the previous year.” How much school as your child missed?? http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/resources/facts-and-figures/asthma-children-fact-sheet.html
Parents come to me, Dr. Brenda Fairchild, because they are frustrated, feel helpless watching their child gasping for air, and feel like they are failing as a parent. They are tired of their child being one of the 7.1 million children chronically suffering from asthma. When I first meet a parent and child(ren), I always ask why they are in my office. Did they hear that chiropractic can help with their child’s condition? Were they referred by a pediatrician (highly doubtful…but you never know)? Most parents aren’t always sure why or how they ended up at Pea and the Pod, but they know they need to make a change in their family’s health and NOW! So, what can a pediatric chiropractor do to help their family? I am going to give you a best kept secret to help your child’s asthma. You will be amazed how much better they will feel!
First and foremost, any child with Asthma, difficulty breathing, or other health condition, will be physically adjusted. This is not an option in care at my office. And here is why: the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery conducted a study of 3,013 patients with bronchial asthma published in 2004 found they were able to “alleviate bronchial asthma and allergies by improvement of neurology causes by chronically narrowed intervertebral foraminae from the 2nd to 4th and 8th to the 10th thoracic vertebrae…Asthma patients improved by 70%.” This is just a complex way of saying that professional adjustment of the spine in the right place can alleviate breathing difficulties by 70%. That’s right!! A 70% improvement!!! I don’t think any medicine can claim that much of an improvement. What this means to YOU and YOUR child, is that misalignments of the spine in the mid-back of your child can be exasperating the asthma. This is why chiropractic care is SO important for the health of your child! This is why I will not see children whose parents do not what their children adjusted. I cannot ignore a 70% improvement of asthma and you should not either. https://ispub.com/IJOS/2/1/8061
Another random clinical trial of 36 children with chronic asthma were studied over 3 months with chiropractic care along with medical care. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11514813 Those with chiropractic care had greatly improved quality of life and decreased asthma severity, while those children under standard medical pulmonary treatments, showed little to no statistical improvement. Please read that sentence again. Chiropractic care along with medical care improved symptoms, while medical care alone did not!
Another study by the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research of 81 asthmatic children reported an improvement in 90.1% after being under chiropractic care for 60 days, ages ranged from 1-17 years of age. The number of asthma “attacks” decreased by an average of 44.9%, and 30.9% decreased their medication by 66.5%. The authors concluded that “Chiropractic care, for correction of vertebral subluxation, is a safe, non-pharmaceutical health care approach which may also be associated with significant decreases in asthma related impairment as well as a decreased incidence of asthmatic `attacks.’”
This is why, before you change anything, your child should be being seen by a pediatric chiropractor ASAP. But it just doesn’t stop at chiropractic care, you have to look at diet and make changes, and possibly add supplements. In my office, I generally order blood work on my clients as it can help to reveal the big picture. Is your child also allergic to milk or gluten? I like to start with removing dairy from the diet first, as it is the a more common intolerance, and easier to remove from the diet than gluten. In addition, dairy products are implicated in excess mucus formation. How much added sugar is your child consuming? Is your child vitamin D deficient?? Many children are, especially in the winter months, and supplementation can help breathing (and overall health and immunity) improve significantly. Are there pets in your house? How often do you clean your house? What kind of cleaners are you using? What other medications or supplements are your children taking? These are all questions you should be asking yourself. Taking control of your child’s health is important and I know from the conversations in my office that many doctors are not addressing these questions. At Pea and the Pod Chiropractic we will help guide you and your family, and help you figure out the best way to heal your child. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for children. Individuals need individual care and we will be your partner in health!
Call Pea and the Pod Chiropractic today to make the change! 302.368.0800 And don’t forget, Dr. Brenda is specialized in Pediatric Chiropractic Care!
In light of the news that this year’s flu shot is, at best, 23% effective (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/flu-vaccine-working-23-percent-effective-28249610), many people are wondering what they can do to help protect themselves and their family from the flu. In fact, there are a lot of lifestyle changes that you can make in order to help keep your family healthy during what we have been calling ‘the sick season.’ In addition to influenza, norovirus (what most people refer to as a ‘stomach bug’ or ‘stomach flu,’ that includes vomiting, diarrhea, and fever), and rhinovirus (the common cold), all run rampant this time of year. Many of the tactics that you can use to prevent the flu will also prevent the spread of other common contagious illnesses.
First and foremost, practice proper hand washing! Check out this awesome poster from the World Health Organization. You can print it out and hang it in your bathroom for your kids: http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/How_To_HandWash_Poster.pdf. One of the best best strategies that you can implement to help prevent the spread of illness, is have everyone take off their shoes and jackets, and WASH HANDS as soon as you get home. From anywhere! When you get home from school, the drugstore, the mall, the grocery store, a friend’s house, your mom’s house, anywhere. Every time you walk in the door make it a habit to wash your hands. If you are running multiple errands, or will be in a location where soap and water is not readily available, it is a good idea to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but keep in mind this does not kill norovirus, clostridium difficile bacteria, or many strains of the flu virus. Experts have said that hand sanitizer is more effective at preventing germ proliferation, rather than at killing it off, so it’s important to use soap and water whenever it’s available, and not to rely on hand sanitizers.
In addition to hand washing, when you are out and about, it’s important to try not to touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth! This is more difficult than people realize. It’s habit to rub our eyes when we are tired, scratch our nose, or eat something with our hands. Spend any time with children, and you will notice how often they have their hands in their mouths, and fingers in their nose! That’s one of the best ways to spread germs, so talk to your kids about keeping their hands away from their face. This will be almost impossible for them! But it’s still important to try, and it’s never too late to begin instilling good hygiene habits in our children.
Typically, the influenza virus is considered a “droplet transmission” virus, which means you must come into contact with the secretions of someone who is infected. Some strains have been known to be “airborne,” which means the microscopic droplets can stay suspended in the air for some time and you can become infected by breathing them in. For this reason, if you are going to be in contact with someone with the flu, or if you MUST go out in public when you have the flu, it is prudent to wear a respiratory mask. These are available at any drugstore. While you might feel silly wearing it, it’s better than getting the flu or spreading it to someone else! Alternatively, you could wear a Scough and pretend you are covering your face because you’re cold! http://wearascough.com
Getting regular chiropractic adjustments can help keep you and your family in optimal health. In order for our immune systems to function appropriately, our body and brain need to be able to send effective messages to each other! These messages are sent up and down our spinal cord (in a complex process I won’t bore you with here), and a simple adjustment can make all of the difference if some of those pathways are blocked. Chiropractic adjustments can be especially helpful for children who have frequent sinus and ear infections as the adjustments help to keep those areas open for drainage.
Vitamin D deficiency is almost epidemic in this country, especially during the winter months when we are exposed to very little sunshine. However, vitamin D is crucial for proper immune function and many other functions in the body. In order for our bodies to make adequate vitamin D, we need to have adequate levels of cholesterol in our bodies, and at least 15 minutes of face and arm exposure to sunlight per day. Clearly no one one in the Northeastern United States is getting that amount of exposure during the icy cold winter months. A high quality vitamin D supplement can help fill in the gaps until we can all lay out in the sunshine during the warmer months. We like Bluebonnet brand, Xymogen, and Nordic Naturals, but you can ask your chiropractor or naturopath which supplement brand they recommend. It is especially important for breastfeeding mothers to make sure that they are not vitamin D deficient. Many pediatricians mistakenly claim that breastmilk is deficient in vitamin D and that babies need supplementation, but this is only true if the mother is deficient. Some breastfeeding mothers need as much as 5,000-10,000 IU supplementation in order to have enough vitamin D for themselves and their nursing baby. Your chiropractor or other health practitioner can order a blood test so that you know what your vitamin D levels are.
It is very important to maintain the healthiest diet possible when trying to prevent the flu and other illnesses. By now, most of us know how damaging excess sugar can be to the immune system, so it’s especially important to keep the sugar down during outbreaks of illness! We know how hard it is to maintain a healthy diet when fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t as available and when all you want to do is curl up with some hot comfort food. Nourishing soups that contain a lot of garlic, onions, and ginger will help fight the flu and other illnesses. Bone broth is a wonderful addition to everyone’s diet, see our favorite recipe here: http://wellnessmama.com/5888/how-to-make-bone-broth/ Organic oatmeal with grass-fed butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup is a delicious and nourishing way to start the day. Pastured eggs have plenty of protein, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D. Don’t forget to eat the yolk! That’s where the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats are. Snack on organic almonds and walnuts, organic dried fruit and seeds, and grass-fed cheeses. If you must have something sweet (as we all must sometimes), you can make your own organic low-sugar hot chocolate. Organic, fair-trade pure cocoa powder, plus the milk or milk alternative of your choice, and just a couple teaspoons of organic cane sugar will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Remember also, that the majority of your immune system resides in your gut. There are certain food additives and over-the-counter medications that are known to harm the beneficial bacteria inside your large intestine that protect you from infection. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can damage gut flora when taken in excess or over long periods of time. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal) and sucralose (Splenda) have been known to kill off beneficial bacteria. Always read labels of all over-the-counter medications as many contain sucralose or aspartame. Pedialyte, often given to children for dehydration during illness, contains sucralose, which is almost guaranteed to make your child feel worse. Check out this blog for an all-natural rehydration drink for kids: http://dontmesswithmama.com/homemade-citrus-electrolyte-drink/
If you or your family members do happen to come down with the flu, in the absence of other serious medical conditions, it is usually a self-limiting illness. It is important to stay at home, preferably in bed, and to REST, when you are ill! Our culture encourages pushing yourself to the limit, but it’s important to STAY HOME when you are sick in order to prevent passing the illness along to others. Plenty of rest also results in a quicker recovery. Keep hydrated and eat nourishing meals such as bone broth. For kids without an appetite, I make a delicious, immune boosting rice dish that I have put on my birth blog here: https://birthinfullbloom.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/immune-boosting-rice-dish-for-sick-little-ones/
Stay hydrated with coconut water, electrolyte drinks, organic juices, and tea. Organic Lemon Balm tea is both antiviral and delicious! Even kids like it, sweetened with a little raw honey (honey is not recommended for babies under 1 year of age). Breastfeeding babies and kids are much less likely to come down with the flu, but if they do, it is important to nurse frequently for hydration, calories, and immune boosting effects. If you are nursing a baby and your older child comes down with the flu, pumping breast milk and giving it to your older child in a cup can help them benefit from the antibodies it contains. We have yet to read a convincing study indicating that Tamiflu is indicated for treatment of the diagnosed flu, but this is something you must discuss with your healthcare provider.
There are many herbal remedies that are safe for treating common illnesses at home. These include Echinacea and Elderberry, the two most common, Lomatium, Olive Leaf Extract, and others, but as herbal remedies are out of the scope of this blog post, we suggest directly contacting an herbalist or naturopath for dosing recommendations. As always, boosting probiotics and vitamin C will help almost any illness. Note that too much of either can cause loose stools in both adults and children. If this does happen, remember that is normal (and often indicates you have just passed the therapeutic dose), and simply discontinue or back off the dosage.
There are so many ways that you can help protect your family from the flu this season, and not all have been listed here. If you have any questions about the information you’ve read here, please contact us at peaandthepodchiropractic.com or 302-368-0800.
Many children in the United States suffer from recurring middle ear infections, known as Otitis Media.
In fact, 3 out of 4 children will experience at least one ear infection by the time that they are 3 years old.
Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or be the result of allergies, and include symptoms such as severe pain, fever, and irritability. The most common conventional treatment is antibiotics, but these will only work for bacterial infections (many ear infections are actually viral infections), and often don’t resolve the underlying condition. The result is then more recurring ear infections and subsequent antibiotic prescriptions. This in turn can create antibiotic resistance, persistent gastrointestinal distress for the child, and a myriad of other problems. Recurring ear infections can even temporarily or permanently damage your child’s hearing, also resulting in speech delays. For this reason, prevention and treatment of the underlying condition is of utmost importance.
One of the causes of persistent ear infections is actually allergies, both seasonal and allergies to certain foods. Allergies create an accumulation of fluid in various compartments of the body, including the middle ear. This fluid accumulation provides a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. These organisms cannot grow well without the fluid. Eliminating the causes of fluid build-up, by both reducing allergen exposure and receiving chiropractic adjustments to relieve compression around the ear, can reduce the frequency of ear infections.
Ear infections also occur after a child’s immune system has been lowered for any reason. A child’s Eustachian Tube is short, narrow, and horizontal. Because of this, bacteria and viruses (from a common cold for example) can easily make their way to the middle ear. If there is also misalignment of the structures around the ear, the microbes build up and grow even more. There is new research that the overuse of antibiotics and vaccines given early in life can contribute to recurring ear infections. As Dr. Brenda Trudell of New Beginnings Chiropractic explains, “Antibiotics given early in life, or with the first ear infection may alter infants’ immune systems in such a way that they are unable to fight off infections on their own. Some vaccines are known to lower immunity for a period of time, which can make an infant more susceptible to viral or bacterial infections. And six childhood vaccines, including Hib, have “Otitis Media” listed as a common adverse reaction, meaning the vaccine itself is a known cause of ear infections. With vaccines given at birth, 2,4,6 and12 months, it may be a reason why 62% of children are diagnosed under the age of one. A large study in New Zealand showed that vaccinated children were 3 times as likely to get OM than unvaccinated children” (http://newbeginningschiropractic.net/chiropractic-approach-to-childhood-ear-infections/) For this reason, she recommends that children who are showing any signs of illness or fever, NOT be vaccinated at that time. If their immune system is busy fighting off something else they will be more susceptible to a vaccine-induced ear infection.
Childhood ear infections can also be caused by trauma at birth and in this case it is especially important to visit your chiropractor. Infants born via C-section, forceps, or vacuum, are at a much higher risk of spinal and cranial injury and should be seen soon after birth by a chiropractor who specializes in Pediatrics. Babies who are born via C-section and thus were not exposed to the beneficial bacteria of their mother’s vagina are at an even greater risk of developing recurring ear infections.
One natural treatment for ear infections it to put drops of organic garlic infused olive oil or breastmilk in the ear (not to be used if a rupture is present). Supplementing your child with 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D (supplement yourself with 5,000 IU if you are breastfeeding a baby or child), up to 250 mg of vitamin C, and a high quality probiotic will also help their overall health. Exclusively breastfed infants also have much lower rates of ear infections. Most importantly though, if you are planning on treating your child’s ear infections naturally, it’s imperative to clear the fluid out of the ear and open up the space where the bacteria or virus is growing. Otherwise any treatment is going to be short-lived at best. The conventional medical treatment of this scenario is to insert tubes in the child’s ears. Ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the ear drum (tympanic membrane) to allow air into the middle ear. The insertion of ear tubes is currently the most common childhood surgery requiring general anesthesia. Both general anesthesia and antibiotics are serious medical interventions that are not without risks. Chiropractic adjustments of the neck and skull have been recommended by many doctors, including Dr. Sears, to aid in the treatment and prevention of ear infections in children, and these adjustments may prevent the need for tubes. Dr. Joan Fallon DC, describes her treatment of ear infections in an article for the American Chiropractic Association.
Before yet another round of “maybe-they’ll-work-and-maybe-they-won’t” antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents are considering chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections. Dr. Joan Fallon has published research showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic adjustments, nearly 80 percent of the children treated were free of ear infections for at least the six-month period following their initial visits (a period that also included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks). “Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly,” explains Dr. Fallon. She’d like to see her pilot study used as a basis for larger-scale trials of chiropractic as a therapeutic modality for otitis media. (http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=69)
Chiropractic adjustments for treating and preventing ear infections usually involve the bones of the neck, skull, jaw, and cervical spine. Correcting the alignment of the small bones in the head and neck allow fluid to properly move and drain. As Dr. Trudell explains, “Chiropractic adjustments remove interference within the nervous system by correcting misalignments in the spinal column, jaw and possibly cranial bones, without the use of drugs or surgery. Correcting misalignments also reduces muscle tension, decreases inflammation, increases mobility, and establishes proper blood flow and lymph drainage, all of which can affect the function of the middle ear and Eustachian tube.” These adjustments are very gentle and nothing to fear! Relief can even begin as early as the first treatment.
If your child is suffering from recurrent ear infections, come and see us at Pea and the Pod! There are many factors that impact recurring ear infections and Dr. Brenda can help you find which health and lifestyle changes will help your family. We also are proud to now have an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant on staff, Mona Liza Hamlin. Exclusively breastfed babies have lower rates of ear infections and if you need help with nursing your little one please give us a call!
There is hardly anything more frustrating for a new parent than when your previously sleepy newborn baby turns into a colicky mess. Before we were parents, most of us had heard the term ‘colic,’ may have thought it had something to do with gassy babies, and hoped it would never be something we would have to deal with. Colic typically begins at around 3 weeks of age, and consists of crying spells that last more than 3 hours, 3 or more days per week, and lasting 3 weeks or more. Colicky crying applies to babies who have been fed, changed, burped, are dry, warm, being held by a parent, and otherwise comforted but cannot seem to relax or sleep. They may arch their back like babies with reflux do (note: although reflux and colic often go hand in hand, this is not always the case. See our next post about reflux!), and twist up their face in grimaces of pain. Theories as to the causes of colic include intestinal gas, food intolerances to either mom’s milk or formula, baby adjusting to their new gut microbiome, and others. However, these are all just theories and unhelpful to mom and dad in the middle of a crying spell! Breastfeeding on demand can help soothe your baby. Many babies cluster feed in the evening, and if baby is happy as long as he is attached to the breast, then let him be there! However, if baby is full, does not want to comfort nurse, and is not comforted by swaddling, rocking, shushing, nursing, or any of the usual methods, you might be dealing with colic.
Babies have quite the time of it as they emerge from the womb. Although their skulls and spines are built to withstand (and even benefit from!) the uterine contractions and descent through the birth canal, fetal malposition during labor, instrumental delivery, a supine delivery position, or cesarean section, can all have a detrimental effect on how babies adjust to life outside the womb. A skilled chiropractor will check babies pallet, belly, neck, and spine, and do any necessary adjustments to help your baby feel more relaxed, and have less pain, resulting in less crying spells. Infant chiropractic care is very gentle, yet can make a world of difference in the comfort of you and your baby!
Recent studies have shown that chiropractic care can relieve some of the symptoms of colic and help your baby be more comfortable. Infant chiropractic adjustments by a qualified practitioner are both safe and efficacious! In a pragmatic single-blind, randomized controlled trial in the UK, they found that chiropractic manual adjustment reduced crying behaviors in the colicky infants. The findings showed that knowledge of treatment by the parent did not appear to contribute to the observed treatment effects in this study. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23158465)
A 2011 review of available literature resulted in the following findings: “Our systematic review of the literature revealed 26 articles meeting our inclusion criteria. These consisted of three clinical trials, two survey studies, six case reports, two case series, four cohort studies, five commentaries, and four reviews of the literature. Our findings reveal that chiropractic care is a viable alternative to the care of infantile colic and congruent with evidence-based practice, particularly when one considers that medical care options are no better than placebo or have associated adverse events.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21571236)
A study at the Center for Biomechanics at Odense University in Denmark found that chiropractic manipulation reduced crying by up to 2.7 hours! (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543581) Other studies have shown parent-reported improvement of symptoms of up to 94%.
If you think your baby is suffering from colic, don’t wait it out! Come see us at Pea and the Pod Chiropractic