• The Wonders of the Neti Pot

    Photo Credit: dudeiwantthat.com

    Dr. Brenda Fairchild

    The Wonders of the Neti Pot

    As many of you know… I can talk about the neti pot all day.  I think this product is one of the greatest inventions of modern times!!  Now, I know not everyone loves to see and feel the neti pot doing its job, but it is a wonderful way to naturally rid your sinuses of congestion and infections.  And when you are pregnant and not a lot of options as far as decongestants go, this is a wonderful alternative!!

    The word Neti means “nasal cleansing” and comes from ancient India.  It has been around for over 5,000 years!!!  Yoga masters used this technique to help with mediation. They felt they could get to a higher and deeper state of mind.  Some yogi’s also believed it helped with mood swings and addictions as well.  The neti pot was then massed produced in the early 1970s and has since become a favorite for those of us looking to relieve the sinus pressure naturally!

    Benefits of the Neti Pot

    • Lessen the time of cold, flu, or allergy
    • Relieve the pressure of sinus headaches
    • Help reduce pollen from the nasal passage
    • Remove mucous
    • Allows for easier breathing
    • Great for post nasal drip
    • Allows for easier breathing

    Using the neti pot is pretty simple and oddly satisfying.  You can get a simple pot at most of the chain stores.  And most come with packets of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride.  Usually under $20.  You can get ceramic to metal ones at health food stores or online.  Now, from personal experiences, I highly suggest the packets!!  I have tried just plain water, and it did not feel well.  But, it is all up to you.  I like to use filtered water if I can.  I don’t use it all the time, but I try to as much as possible. 

    How to use the Neti Pot

    Add one packet to the warm water and let them mix.  I like to start with draining my most clogged nasal passage first.  This means the pot is pouring the water into the good side and the clogged side is towards the sink.  And let the magic begin!!  I use about half the pot per nasal passage.  Depending on what is going on with you our your child, the nasal mucous could be green or yellow which could be an infection to clear which could be allergies.  When in doubt, call your primary physician.  If there is a bad infection, there may be some blood mixed in.  When you have done one side, gently blow your nose.  You want to rid the body of the mucus, which is inflammation.  I always tell my patients “better out than in!”  You will instantly feel the pressure release!!!  It is amazing!!!  

    I start to use the neti pot at the first sign of a cold coming on.  I will do this 3-4 times a day if it is really bad.  And use that over the course of 2-3 days if need be.  It really cuts down the time of the cold or allergy.  And can help you get some sleep at night due to your breathing better!  

    Other recommendations to follow the neti pot.  Get Adjusted!!!  It helps with aligning your body and helps with draining your sinuses as well.  Watch your dairy, gluten, wheat, and sugar as they can be inflammatory.   Stay hydrated with water.  Get Sleep and make sure you are getting you vitamin D!

    https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-history-science-of-the-nasal-wash

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  • Supplements Part 2: Sugars.

    8 November 2015
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    Processed sugars can cause our cells to age faster, worsen ailments, trigger health issues, and make it harder for our bodies to obtain a true healthy balance.  This includes the processed honey, inulin, sorbitol, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, xylitol, juice concentrates, maltodextrin, and artificial sweeteners found in our supposedly beneficial supplements.

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    The highest offenders are liquids, chewables, and gummy forms of supplements.  This is due to the need for consumers to enjoy taking them.  Capsule forms typically have far less sugar, but be careful, because they are full of additives and toxins (as you learned in Part 1 of this series).  Vegetarian capsules are normally made with cellulose, a type of sugar.  It’s as if we have to choose between two evils: sugar-filled or supplements containing nothing but fillers.  It seems to be a catch-22.  The overall lesson to take away: KNOW YOUR SUPPLEMENTS.

    The majority of the time, you will find the very first ingredient is a form of sugar in your supplement.

    Let’s learn why this is a danger to our health: While this article is about the hidden sugars in supplements, it is the amount of sugars we are consuming in total that are endangering our health.  Our supplements are just an unexpected place to find excess sugars, adding to the overall dangers, instead of benefitting our lives as supplements should.  The following is a short list of how sugar affects our body:

    (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/20/sugar-dangers.aspx )

    Suppressing the Immune System– As little as 3.5 ounces can suppress your immune system up to 50% by reducing the ability of white blood cells to kill germs. Most sugar is void of nutrients and in turn pulls nutrient from the body. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. (http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-living-article/sugar-s-damaging-health-effects-on-your-immune-system/804129)

    Obesity– Obesity affects one-third of adults and one-sixth of children in the United States and continues to increase.  Increasing sugar intake, increases risk of obesity.

    Mineral Deficiency– Sugar consumption upsets the balance of the minerals in the body.  (Calcium and magnesium especially)

    Cancer– Cancer is fueled by sugar. By lowering sugar intake, cancer growth slows.  The supplements taken to help beat cancer should NOT be allowing it to grow.

    Arthritis– Sugar increases inflammation, which worsens arthritis.

    Early Aging- Sugar causes the caps on the end your chromosomes (called telomeres) to shrink faster than they should.  This prevents the cells from regenerating; causing the skin to looked aged.

    Depression– People who suffer from depression are especially vulnerable to sugar’s evil power. Sugar is also at the root of chronic inflammation, which impacts the immune system, the brain and other systems in the body and also has been implicated in depression. Interestingly, countries with high sugar intake also have a high rate of depression.

    Candida – The slightest sugar intake can feed candida. Maltodextrin, a form of sugar, is absorbed by your body extremely rapidly, just like glucose, and so it quickly affects your blood sugar levels.

    Liver Damage- The entire weight of processing fructose lies on your liver.

    Hormone Imbalance- Sugar affects insulin and insulin is closely connected to all of the other hormones in your body, including estrogen and testosterone.

    Heart Disease– Recent studies have shown the link between sugar consumption and coronary heart disease. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/4/523.full

    Headaches– Sugar acts as a dehydrator, triggering headaches.

    Eczema- When not properly metabolized, glucose (sugar) binds to protein molecules, forming abnormal chemical bridges called advanced glycation end products (AGEs)

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    Your body then starts to produce antibodies against the AGEs that cause inflammation. These AGEs accumulate in the tissues, causing skin to become rigid, wrinkly, less elastic, and have reduced regenerative ability. Glycation leads to cracking, weak skin that takes longer to heal, and future damage such as thinning and dryness (eczema).

    Kidney Damage- Diabetes can damage the kidneys and cause them to fail.

    Cavities and tooth issues– Gummy, chewable, and liquid forms tend to stick and stay on your teeth and gums causing a breakdown of enamel and increasing the rate of cell degeneration in the gums.

    High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been linked to a range of health conditions such as tooth decay, liver damage, obesity, diabetes and ADHD. Additionally, the manufacturing process which transforms corn first into corn starch and then into HFCS involves the use of toxic chemicals. One of those, glutaraldehyde, is an embalming fluid which can induce headaches, dizziness, burning eyes, and asthma. Mercury is also used in the HFCS production process. In a 2009 study, between half and one third of all products containing HCFS were found to have mercury contamination
    http://www.naturalnews.com/034035_childrens_vitamins_corn_syrup.html#ixzz3pKAEEd7v

    Unfortunately, maltitol, one of the substitutes some companies use for HCFC, carries its own health issues. Products containing maltitol technically qualify as “sugar-free.” Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, meaning its chemical structure resembles both sugar and alcohol. Unlike sugar, sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed in the bloodstream so they have less impact on blood sugar. Sugar alcohols cannot cause inebriation but they can ferment in the intestinal tract, causing gas, bloating or diarrhea.

    Sugar actually depletes the body of nutrients, as it requires vitamins and minerals to metabolize.  So any nutrients within the supplement may actually be used before they serve you any benefit.

    What happens to the body as it processes sugar? From www.foodforthebrain.org

    “Eating lots of sugar is going to give you sudden peaks and troughs in the amount of glucose in your blood; symptoms that this is going on include fatigue, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, excessive sweating (especially at night), poor concentration and forgetfulness, excessive thirst, depression and crying spells, digestive disturbances and blurred vision. Since the brain depends on an even supply of glucose it is no surprise to find that sugar has been implicated in aggressive behavior, anxiety, and depression, and fatigue.

    Sugar also diverts the supply of another nutrient involved in mood – chromium. This mineral is vital for keeping your blood sugar level stable because insulin, which clears glucose from the blood, can’t work properly without it.”

    Natural Options don’t mean perfection:  Even some natural-minded supplements can fall into the sugar-filled category.  Activated charcoal, for example comes in a “sweetened” form.  Just because you are purchasing a product that should naturally improve your health or benefit your body, does not mean that every brand is created equal.  Companies are taking advantage of the trends to lean toward more natural living, but the problem arises when these companies sacrifice the true benefits by over-processing and adding fillers, etc.

    I am not just talking about the supplements we, as adults, are taking.  We are poisoning our children with their daily vitamins, and our infants with their formula. http://www.naturalnews.com/034035_childrens_vitamins_corn_syrup.html#ixzz1cl7rsvVB

    Sugars are linked to Learning disabilities: Children classified as learning disabled have one or more mineral deficiencies and require supplementation. A common problem with mineral supplementation is the supplements’ content of sugar. It is important to avoid supplements containing lactate, corn derivatives or sugar. Another way sugar and learning are related is that sugar hinders proper absorption of many B vitamins into the body and its cells. B vitamins are necessary to endorse cognitive thinking, coordination, and memory. When there is a lack of B vitamins, a child’s blood sugar can drop about 20 minutes after eating sugar, which leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain. The lack of oxygen to the brain can cause forgetfulness and affect ability to concentrate.

    Sugar has the potential to be a destroyer of general health and immunity as it robs the body of important vitamins and minerals. Besides, sugar can cause a chemical addiction as severe as other drug addictions. Many children are addicted to sugar, eating it regularly instead of the important nutritious foods. Over consumption of sugar makes children vulnerable to yeast overgrowth, which can lead to chronic nasal congestion, eczema, and ear infections. Yeast overgrowth is linked to sensory integration disorders, high threshold of pain, inappropriate giggling and mental fogginess. The yeast becomes much greater problem with the ingestion of sugar or a sugar source.

    Children’s vitamins: Chewable or Gummy form, these are some of the worst supplements you can have in your home. The sweetening ingredients added to make vitamins more attractive to children also put them at risk for obesity, diabetes, asthma, diarrhea and other ailments.

    Infant Formula: Formula is loaded with corn syrup and sugars, often not included on the label.  Feeding your baby sugar and corn syrup also increases your child’s risk for a wide spectrum of other health problems ranging from dental cavities to high triglyceride levels to nutritional deficiencies. Even the mainstream medical establishment warns of the dangers of added sugars.

    An eye opening video on what sugar is doing to our health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

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  • How Halloween Candy Affects Kids

    12 October 2015
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    How Halloween Candy Affects Kids

    It’s time to purchase ALL.THE.CANDY. I mean, it’s for the trick-or-treaters, right?  Of course it is.

    Whether your children dress in costumes and fill buckets with candy or you choose not to celebrate the holiday, inevitably, the candy somehow still ends up in your home.  Before you allow your children “a few harmless pieces,” take the time to learn the consequences of your actions.  I am not totally ruining candy for you.  There are plenty of great premade, purchasable candies out there, and a plethora of healthier homemade recipes to meet every candy craving.

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    From Kit Kats and Reeses to Candy Corn and Candy Bars, I took the top purchased candies and broke down their ingredient lists.  This is what I found.  The most common ingredients are:

    High Fructose Corn Syrup:  Also labeled as corn syrup, maize syrup, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, tapioca syrup, dahlia syrup, fruit syrup, and crystalline fructose. Corn syrup is derived from genetically modified corn.  It “is heavily processed, using enzymes to turn cornstarch into glucose and then fructose.”   Even though glucose and fructose occur in nature, HFCS does not occur in nature. Cornstarch is converted to glucose, some of which is then converted to fructose. If a substance’s molecular structure has been changed in a factory, it can’t be considered natural.

    A few documented reasons to stay away from HFCS include its links to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, high cholesterol and increased risk of heart attack and heart disease. Additionally, regular consumption of corn syrup may lead to anemia, weakened immune system, fatigue, mood swing and suppressed metabolism. Particularly sensitive individuals may also experience light-headedness or headaches and bowel issues.  (A safe, healthy option: look for honey as an ingredient. It is also known that consuming raw milk combates the side effects of HFCS. http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/corn-syrup-side-effects.htmlhttp://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/Newsletter/100110_High-Fructose_04.html

    Natural or Artificial Flavors: “natural flavor” is the fourth most common ingredient listed on labels – not just in your candy. This is a BIG umbrella folks.  Companies can label absolutely any ingredient, whether it is synthetic, chemical, etc as a “flavor” as long as it is generally regarded as safe by the FDA. The most common ingredients labeled as “Flavors” are as follows, and you may see some of these listed on their own on a label, but if you don’t, do not be surprised if they are in the product.  http://www.livescience.com/   http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/

    • MSG: Monosodium-glutamate is a brain neurotoxin. It is a slow poison.  Known as  flavor-enhancer 621, MSG is now labeled as a “Natural flavor.”  Children are more vulnerable to MSG dangers than adults. In fact, MSG and other flavor enhancers are not permitted in foods produced specifically for infants and young children who are 12 months old or less. MSG can cause or exacerbate brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, learning disabilities, adverse reactions, neurodegenerative disease and more. The short of it: MSG kills brain cells. http://www.truthinlabeling.org/
    • Aluminum Silicate
      Insoluble and used as a refractory in glassmaking. It is used as coagulation in food.
    • Amino Acid Compounds
    • Amyl Acetate
      A pear and banana oil. Many artificial flavors are made using amyl acetate. It may cause nervous system depression, indigestion, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, and irritate the mucus membranes.
    • Amyl Alcohol
      Closely related to Amyl Acetate and also known to be toxic.
    • Annatto bixine (yellow orange): My sensitive child reacts to this!  It is also called roucou, and is a natural plant extract used to dye an assortment of foods, textiles, and body care products. Primarily, it is used as red / orange in a wide assortment of foods. The food additive number for it is E160b, allowing consumers to identify it on a label even when it is not listed by name.  Some children react to this just as they do other food colorings.
    • Benzoates (including sodium benzoate)
      Can trigger allergies such as skin rashes and asthma, and are believed to be linked brain damage.
    • Benzaldehyde
      Almond flavor, and when derived from nature, traces of hydrogen cyanide – a deadly poison – can be found in it. When made by mixing oil of clove and amyl acetate, no cyanide is produced. Nonetheless, both natural and artificial benzaldehyde can cause central nervous system depression and convulsions.
    • Benzyl Acetate
      Also related to Amyl Acetate and may cause gastrointestinal, bronchial, skin, and eye irritation.
    • Borneol
      Artificial flavoring that may cause gastrointestinal irritation, seizures, confusion, and dizziness.
    • Bromates
      Destroy the nutrients in the foods. It can give rise to nausea and diarrhea.
    • Butryic Acid
      Caused cancer in lab test with animals.
    • Butyl Acetate
      Related to Butryic Acid can be toxic in high quantities.
    • Butylates
      Responsible for high blood cholesterol levels as well as impaired liver and kidney function. Ex) Butylated Hydrozyttoluene (BHT), Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
    • Caffeine
      Colorant and flavorant that has diuretic, stimulant properties. It can cause nervousness, heart palpitations and occasionally heart defects.
    • Canthaxanthin: Other names – Canthaxanthine, Carophyll Red, CI Food Orange 8, Colour Index No. 40850, E161, Roxanthin Red 10.
    • Caramel
      Very common flavoring and coloring agent that can cause vitamin B6 deficiencies. It can cause certain genetic defects and even cancer.
    • Carvacrol
      Artificial flavoring that can lead to respiratory and circulatory depression as well as cardiac failure.
    • Cinnamyl Formate
      Also simply known as formic acid, (artificial cinnamon – it may simply say “cinnamon flavor” in the label) has caused cancer in mice and may affect our kidneys.
    • Erythrosine (red)
      See Red Dye below.
    • Red Dye 40
      Red dye is known to cause attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Also suspected to cause certain birth defects and possibly cancer.
    • Mono and di-glycerides
      Can cause birth defects, genetic changes and cancer.
    • Potassium Bromate: banned from China, European Union, Canada, Brazil and elsewhere because it causes cancer in rats and mice.
    • Potassium Sorbate: A synthetic preservative linked to allergies, nausea, eye irriation, and diarrhea
    • Saccharin
      Causes toxic reactions and allergic response, affecting skin, gastrointestinal tract and heart. It may also cause tumors and bladder cancer.
    • Sodium Benzoate
      Also known as E211. Sodium benzonate is a common preservative. The FDA classifies it as safe. However, sodium benzoate forms a chemical known as benzene when in the presence of vitamin C.Also heat converts sodium benzoate to benzene. Fruit jellies, jams, and fruit juices which are made with high vitamin C fruits with heat applied in the manufacturing process can be particularly dangerous due to the conversion to benzene from sodium benzoate. Benzene damage DNA and seems to play a role in a variety of diseases due to DNA damaging capabilities. It’s also a known carcinogen.Some studies have shown that sodium benzoate in processed food along with artificial food colorings can cause children with ADHD to be more hyperactive.
    • Sodium Chloride
      Can lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure, stroke and heart attack.
    • Sodium Nitrite 
      Can be carcinogenic and have other adverse effects on health.
    • Salt (common table salt is refined salt)
      Refined salt has depleted mineral and higher concentration of sodium then unrefined sundried sea salt.
    • Sugar (common white sugar is refined sugar)
      Most commonly used additive.
    • Tartrazine (Azoic yellow): on ingredient labels as FD&C yellow 5, E102 or C.I. 19140.  It is an artificial coloring that is used to make foods and other products more visually appealing or appetizing. It is also used in the printing, textile and paper-manufacturing industries as pH indicators or biological stains.  Tartrazine is tied to anxiety, migraines, asthma attacks, blurred vision, eczema, other skin rashes, thyroid cancer, Eosinophilia (increase in specific forms of white blood cells), clinical depression, ADHD or hyperactivity, hives, permanent DNA damage, heart palpitations, rhinitis, sleep disturbances/insomnia, general all-over weakness, hot flushes and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In severe cases, anaphylactic-like reactions.  When fed to chickens it makes their egg yolks yellower – because, in our society, that is so important. (Sarcasm.)  Tartrazine interferes with the metabolism of Vitamin B6 in the body.
      (A great substitute: Tumeric!)
    • Vanillan
      Artificial vanilla, can cause allergic reactions. It can limit the liver enzyme dopamine sulphotransferase by 50%. Its sources are the waste product of paper mills and petroleum.

    Artificial Colors: (See above for specifics)

    Emulsifiers: linked to irritable bowel syndrome, disruption of the gut, and obesity.

    Nitrites (and nitrates): Synthetic and highly toxic. In fact, these ingredients have been highly linked with a number of deadly cancers.

    Trans Fat: Trans fat is also synonymous with the common ingredient “hydrogenated oil.”

    Hydrogenated palm kernel oil: Besides being linked to deforestation through the plantations creating this oil, palm oil was found to impair the digestive systems of mice during studies. http://humanfoodproject.com/

    Soy Lechithin: Derived from genetically modified soy, lechithin is linked to increase risk of breast cancer, infertility, and impeded brain development in children.

    Preservatives: There is no shortage to the amount or types of chemicals put in our food today, and one of the top things added to our food are preservatives. These chemical ingredients, such as TBHQ and/or BHT and BHA are man-made chemicals that do preserve food for longer, but at a great expense to our health. Preservatives have been linked with a number of problems such as allergies and sensitivities, digestion problems, mental problems such as ADHD and depression, as well as cancer.

    TBHQ: The most common food preservative.  Tertiary Butylhydroquinone is a petroleum-derived form of butane.  It is commonly found in lighter fluid (Oh and Butterfingers… and other of your Halloween goodies.)  5 grams of TBHQ is lethal and the FDA ruled that quantities larger than 0.02% could not be used. (RUN AWAY FROM THIS!)

     Alternative Sweeteners: For those who are diabetic or otherwise trying to cut down on their sugar intake, food manufacturers have created “sugar free” options that have no sugar.  Instead of using sugar, they have replaced it with a non-nutritive, synthetic sweetener. These sugar replacements, such as aspartame, splenda, sucralose, and/or Ace-K act similarly to flavor enhancers in the body, in that they stimulate cells and cause cellular death. These artificial sweeteners wreak havoc in the body and can actually still lead to weight gain and cravings.

    Shellac:  The shiny coating on your candy labeled “confectioner’s glaze.”

    Castoreum: An extract from beaver perineal glands and beaver urine typically considered a “natural flavoring.”  You’ll find this in anything berry or vanilla flavored.

    Gelatin: a thickening agent made from the protein collagen, which is extracted from animal skin and bones.  You will find this in your gummies.

     We need to shift our focus from specific harmful ingredients to the food itself: where is this food coming from, how is it being processed, and most importantly, is it even food?

     The good news:  There are companies providing high-quality candy.  My personal favorite place to shop:

    www.thenaturalcandystore.com

    (I am not affiliated with the above site, I just have a child with gut issues, speech delay, sensory processing disorder, food allergies, and food sensitivities.)

    Just for a chuckle: This is how we feel on Halloween

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  • Headaches: Reasons and Relief.

    15 September 2015
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    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
    • Migraines
    • Tension Headaches
    • Persistent Daily Headaches
    • Cough Headaches
    • Exercise Headaches
    • Sex Headaches

    Possible Lifestyle Triggers:

    • Alcohol
    • Processed Foods
    • Lack of Sleep
    • Poor posture
    • Skipped meals
    • Stress
    • Dehydration

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/causes/sym-20050800

    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.

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    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)

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    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.

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    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

    Source: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2013/05/6-ways-to-relieve-headaches-with.html

    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/

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  • Back to School: Preventing and Treating Lice

    7 September 2015
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    Back to School: Preventing and Treating Lice

    It was only a matter of time before Lice mutated to beat the medications and chemicals used to treat them.  We have seen this across the board in the past few years.  Illnesses, infections, bugs all have been altered due to the overuse of medications, pesticides and chemicals in our society.  (That or they are dying off).  Why people are surprised that there is now a “Super Lice Bug” blows my mind.  It was bound to happen.

    Kids are heading toward the bus stop, being dropped off, or walking with friends to school each day.  They spend countless hours in close confines of other little heads, possibly contaminated with lice.  Even homeschooled children or those too young to be in school but go on regular outings with mom are at risk of exposure to lice.  Extra-curricular activities, library play areas, dressing rooms, anywhere that other people have been or currently are can hold a risk of inviting lice onto your child (or yourself).  The thought alone is enough to give you an itchy scalp.

    Head lice affect as many as 12 million people in the US each year, mostly children.  – According to the CDC

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    What are Lice?

    Pediculosis humanus var capitis, better known as lice, are a bloodsucking parasite specific to humans.  They bite 4-5 times a day and inject an anti-coagulant in their saliva.  Scratching the bites can cause an infection.  Lice are 2.5-3mm long and quite flat.  They are easily transferred from head to head, but they cannot fly or jump.  Sharing towels, pillows, blankets, hair brushes, or play mats are also known ways of contracting lice.  Female lice live up to 3 months, laying up to 300 eggs during their life.  Each egg is attached to a shaft of hair. These eggs are called nits.  Nits hatch 6-10 days after being laid. (https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/lice/ )

    What are Super Lice? 

    The good news: Super lice are not deadly or any scarier than ordinary lice.  They are just harder, MUCH harder to get rid of.  Scientists have reported that lice in at least 25 states have developed resistance to over-the-counter treatments. It was found that 104 out of the 109 lice populations tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.  (Journal of Medical Entomology)

     

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    Symptoms of Lice:

    The most common symptom of lice is itching. Lice may not cause any symptoms at first though. Itching on the scalp may start weeks or even months after lice have started to spread. Scratching can make the skin raw and cause oozing of clear fluid or a crusted over area of the scalp, and it may get infected.

    Preventative Measures:

    Steering clear of chemicals and drugs (the cause of the mutating insects), I’ve created a list of several options you can use to prevent lice from entering your family’s personal space.

    • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo
    • Add ½ teaspoon of witch hazel, 8-10 drops of tea tree oil, and 8 oz of purified water to a spray bottle and spray backpacks, car seats, pillows, and mist the hair each day before walking out the door
    • Rub coconut oil with 2 drops of tea tree oil across hair line before leaving each day

    You found Lice, now what?

    There are many over-the-counter options such as Nix, Rid, A-200 and Pronto and prescription varieties like Ovide or Kwell.  But before you reach for these, know that they are filled with neurotoxins, which kill lice by attacking the central nervous system. Rid, Pronto, and A-200 contain pyrethrins, and Nix contains permethrin, all used in common garden pesticides. Ovide contains an even stronger neurotoxin, malathion, the same pesticide band by many communities. (source: http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/07/back-school-lice-alert-theres-no-need-douse-your-kids-pesticides?cmpid=tp-ptnr-mommypotamus )

    Natural solutions to lice that people swear by can be found all over the internet, but it’s hard to decide the best resolution for you.  There’s no right or wrong answer, and you may find one that becomes your go-to over the years. I’ve pulled the remedies that seem to have the highest success rates:

    • Use olive oil with a drop of rosemary essential oil, tea tree oil, and theives oil mixed in. Run this mixture through the hair and comb in small sections.  Make sure to use a fine tooth comb or a specific lice comb.  Once the lice have been combed out, you can wash the hair with dish soap (blue dawn) if needed to get the remaining oil out.
    • Suffocation: A study showed that coating the scalp with mineral oil and chemicals would suffocate the lice, but that is NOT a natural solution. You can use a coconut or olive oil on the hair/scalp and cover with a shower cap for 12 hours.  You will need to repeat the process again in 2-3 days to catch the newly hatched lice. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933647/ )
    • Create a lotion with a teaspoon of shampoo and 7 drops of tea tree oil. Lather the lotion into the hair and let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then rinse out and use the Nit Comb through small sections until all lice are gone.  A study showed that a lotion containing 1% lavender and 10% tea tree oils was 97.6% effective in killing lice, while insecticides like pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide were only 25% effective.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933647/ )
    • Salt, Vinegar and Oil: Together they work to dehydrate and kill the lice. Create a spray with ¼ cup of salt dissolved in ¼ cup on warm vinegar and coat the hair.  Allow to sit until fully dry and then coat the head with coconut or olive oil and comb out the dead lice. (http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/09/12/getting-rid-of-lice/ )
    • Combine 1 Tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, 8-10 drops of tea tree oil, and water (use a mason jar and mix all ingredients).  Rinse the hair with vinegar and apply “shampoo” to head for at least 5 minutes.  Comb hair with Lice Comb.   (source: http://mommyfootprint.com/natural-lice-prevention/ )
    • Apple Cider Vinegar and Oil: Wet hair and apply vinegar to hair. Allow the hair to completely dry (with vinegar) and coat scalp and hair evenly with coconut or olive oil to suffocate the lice. Pull all of the hair under a shower cap and let sit for either hours before using the Lice Comb and washing out.
    • A great tutorial on the process of removing nits and lice by using a natural product by Hair Fairies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZmHQXcQWUo

     

    The catch:   You cannot miss even one egg or the entire process will need to be repeated.  Make sure to wash EVERYTHING that could be carrying the lice and dry on HOT.

     

     

     

     

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  • Studies Prove 70% improvement of Asthma with chiropractic alignments!! So, why aren’t more children under chiropractic care?

    26 March 2015
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    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 jus11016309_10203917234346625_100385389_nt 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.’”

    http://vertebralsubluxation.sharepoint.com/Pages/1497_0042_impairment.aspx

    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!

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  • Practical Tips for Flu Prevention

    strong immune systemIn 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.

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  • Chiropractic Care Can Help and Prevent Pediatric Ear Infections

    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 und10720886_10203030691383605_1006833486_nerlying 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 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!

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