Before diving into the benefits and confusion of fevers, I will start with explaining a fever by age. You see, a newborn, infant and baby’s temperature is not categorized as a fever at the same numerical reading as a grown adult, or even a child for that matter.
Did you know that a temperature up to 100.4* is completely normally in an infant under 12 weeks of age? A child over 12 weeks, a toddler, even an adult has not reached a true fever until 104*. Nothing under this (100.4*) for a newborn is even considered an elevated temperature. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, the normal range of temperature for an infant is between 97-100.4*F. It is important to remember that a fever is not a form of illness. In fact, a fever is typically brought on by the body fighting off an infection or as a result of an immunization. Because a fever is generally caused by fighting off an infection, this can even be taken as a good sign of a baby’s developing immune system! With a healthy immune system, the fever should break within 48 hours.
When the immune system is weak, or fighting something, it is smart to start supplementing to strengthen it. By adding extra vitamin D, probiotics, and including colloidal silver, you can boost the immune system and have it ready to head into battle.
Fevers show that the body is doing exactly what it is designed to do. They are the body’s way of healing itself. When the child’s body increases in core temperature, it is preparing to battle. The temperature will rise to a level that is necessary to keep the invading virus or bacteria from growing or reproducing more. The fever causes everything to slow down and allows the body a chance to build up antibodies to fight off the disease. Treating the fever with medication reverses this situation and tricks the body into cooling down before it is ready. The fever also acts as a catalyst to speed up enzyme reactions and metabolism. It is during this time that the body begins to repair tissue. Allowing the fever to run its course is the easiest and smartest way to beat the invading illness.
The best piece of advice you will get is to step away from the thermometer. You will know when your baby is under the weather and feverish. Unless that baby is so hot that your mama bear instincts are screaming at you to run to the ER, then knowing a specific number won’t do anything but cause you anxiety. (And have you rechecking that temperature every 10 minutes!) Fevers are more frightening than harmful. They are usually a sign that the body is fighting an infection of some kind. According to www.askdrsears.com the top three reasons for a fever in an infant are:
Viral Infection: The most common cause of fever in children. Roseola, colds, flu, hand-foot-mouth disease, chicken pox, fifth disease, along with many other viruses cause fever. Most viruses are not dangerous. They simply need to run their course over several days. They are not treatable with antibiotics. They are contagious, though, and baby should be kept home until the virus has passed.
Bacterial Infection: Ear infections, sinus infection, pneumonia, bladder infection, and strep throat are all bacterial infections that cause fever. Antibiotics can be used (or homeopathy and other natural remedies), but a trip to the emergency room is not needed, call your pediatrician in the morning.
Teething: A fever up to 101*F is common while teething.
Fever is also a very common side effect of vaccines and should be treated as a vaccine injury if the fever causes a seizure, brain swelling, or any other illness. (Directly from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm )
Being skin-to-skin with baby in a lukewarm bath will assist in cooling baby off gradually and will prevent him from getting too cold too quickly. It is also encouraged to ensure your baby is drinking a lot of liquids and kept in a cool room, out of the sun. If you are breastfeeding, nurse him around the clock. Breastmilk has antibodies in it created specifically for your child and the environment you are currently in. (www.kellymom.com )
If your child is old enough to consume food, is no longer nursing, and is showing signs of illness, most people will recommend you supplement with pedialyte. Before you go grabbing the sugar, preservative, and dye-filled drink, think about making a homemade version instead.
Homemade Pedialyte Recipe: (Source: 100 Days of Real Food)
- 1 quart water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Note: If you fear your child will think this drink is too plain consider adding in a couple splashes of orange Juice. Also, the sugar and salt may dissolve more easily if you warm up the water first.
The main reason to treat your child’s fever is to make him feel better. When he is achy, fussy, crying, not sleeping, or slightly lethargic, you may want to try a handful of natural methods of lowering the temperature to help with his comfort level. Just remember that you are treating a symptom and not the illness by lowering the temperature. Another note worth mentioning, a fever does not always present itself as a hot forehead, a fever can show as lethargy, overly thirsty, a poor appetite, poor sleeping, or a seizure.
Ways to help: (www.askdrsears.com )
- Skin-to-skin, kangaroo care keeping baby chest to chest with you to help regulate body heat
- Rest: Do NOT wake your child up. Rest is best!
- Give your child plenty to drink to prevent dehydration (not enough fluid in the body) and help the body cool itself. Water, clear soups, and popsicles are. If your child isn’t getting enough fluids, don’t force him to eat if he doesn’t feel like it. (Breastfeed around the clock if possible.)
- Keep your child quiet. Moving around can raise the temperature even more.
- Keep the room temperature between 70°F to 74°F.
- Dress your child in light cotton pajamas so that body heat can escape.
Don’t over bundle your child. Overdressing can trap body heat and cause your child’s temperature to rise.
- If your child is chilled, put on an extra blanket but remove it when the chills stop
A fever is the body’s way of testing the immune system. Regular chiropractic care keeps the immune system ready to fight. A study showed the effects of specific upper cervical adjustments increasing healthy cell counts. Along with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, chiropractic care adds to the building blocks of a strong immune system. (http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/FULL/Kent_Model_of_Subluxation.pdf)
Most pediatricians recommend to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help reduce fever. Here is the APA stance of alternating therapies:
“…questions remain regarding the safety of this practice as well as the effectiveness in improving discomfort, which is the primary treatment end point. The possibility that parents will either not receive or not understand dosing instructions, combined with the wide array of formulations that contain these drugs, increases the potential for inaccurate dosing or overdosing. ”
So, it is best to let the fever ride out and don’t panic it’s just a fever.
Contrary to everyone’s belief, taking the temperature rectally is quite controversial should not be done at home. A thermometer must be inserted at least 5 cm to obtain a stable core temp. This insertion temp risks perforating the rectum and can possibly end in death. Perhaps, leave this for the extremely rare instances in the hospital when the absolute most accurate reading is needed. (http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/nixrectl.html )
Above all, trust your gut instincts. If you truly feel that your child is seriously ill, contact your doctor or head to the emergency room. You have every right to call your pediatrician and ask questions to calm your anxiety and have your questions answered.
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/
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
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)
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.
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.
Reflux: How to Help Naturally.
Arching his back while screaming, spitting up when eating, not sleeping, these are all signs of reflux in an infant. While some choose to overlook these symptoms, others want to know more, to understand what their baby is suffering from, and more importantly, to help.
Over 50% of infants suffer from reflux.
Doctors will typically ask parents to cope with their unhappy child for a few months until their reflux dissipates. If the parent is persistent or the child shows poor signs of poor growth, a doctor may perform one of the following tests:
- Ultrasound: detecting an obstruction in the opening between the stomach and small intestine
- Blood Work: to rule out or identify any possible causes of recurring vomiting
- Esophageal pH Monitoring: measuring the acidity in the esophagus by inserting a tube through the nose
- Upper Endoscopy: using a tube with a camera lens inserted through the mouth, the doctor will see into the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. Samples of tissue may be taken for study. This procedure is done under general anesthesia.
Less invasive doctors will first suggest that a breastfeeding mother remove dairy from her diet. A formula fed infant will be given a list of different formulas to try. If the reflux continues, medication will naturally be recommended. H2 Histamine Blockers such as Zantac or Pepsid are prescribed, followed by stronger medications such as Prevacid or Prilosec (proton pump inhibitors). As all medications do, these have a laundry list of side effects from dizziness to vomiting. There have been no studies conducted on children and dosages of zantac.
There are other ways. Natural ways. Ways to help your crying, pained child.
Let’s discuss reflux.
Did you know that reflux is actually the symptom of TOO LITTLE stomach acid? This can be traced back to pregnancy and mom’s morning sickness and heartburn. These ailments can be passed to baby in-utero. As we get older, our acid drops and there is an increase in GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
The medications given are actually making the problem worse by suppressing the acid. The absent acid is hydrochloric acid (HCL), and when low, an organism called Helicobacter pylori or H. Pylori causes a low grade inflammation of the lining of the stomach, and over time the body’s response is to want to get rid of it. This is reflux.
Make sure to wean from any medications gradually, as the body will rebound and worsen the reflux if you quit cold turkey.
Behind ear infections, reflux is a close second as to why parents visit the office. After learning more about the child, mother, pregnancy, diet, supplements, and medication usage, we will discuss and plan dietary changes and a supplement plan. If breastfeeding and keeping the baby’s gut “pure,” the plan will be only for the mother. But infants can be supplemented as well as the mother. If not breastfeeding, infant should be supplemented.
- Vitamin D: More than likely, the mother is deficient in Vitamin D. Without knowing your vitamin D levels, you can follow recommended doses of a liquid vitamin D; however, testing to know your levels is most beneficial. (I usually recommend Xymogen brand.) If you are not as concerned with keeping your child’s gut “virgin,” then you can supplement your child with recommended dosage.
- Probiotics: (AMAZING) They help heal the gut and boost immunity. Did you know 85% of your immunity comes from your gut? You want a probiotic with a minimum of 7-10 strain. You just don’t want to take acidophilus. (We recommend Davinci Mega Probiotic davincilabs.com ) Taking care of the gut, yours and your infant’s will boost your immunity and help with a healthy life. Please follow the label for dosage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166766/
- Digestive Enzymes: Mom can incorporate these alongside the probiotics to help break down fats, proteins, carbohydrates and milk sugars. Our foods today are not broken down like they once were due to over-processing.
- Limit/Eliminate Dairy, Gluten, Caffeine, Alcohol: Dairy can produce histamines, which cause irritation to the lining of the gut and causes a decrease in the production of acid. Gluten also irritates the gut. Stick with organic as far as your budget allows. Look for no antibiotic use, no hormone, and free range with meat and dairy.
- Water: Stay well hydrated for breastmilk supply.
- Unrefined Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt: These salts help produce HCL(hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, fighting off parasites and aiding in digestion.
- Complex Minerals: The body needs an average of 80 essential minerals a day, but the typical person gets 10-15. Also, a diet high in meat and processed foods can demineralize the body; and a diet low in salt will make the body deficient in nutrients. (Schroeder, HA. Losses of vitamins and trace minerals resulting from processing and preservation of foods. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 24: MAY 1971, pp. 562-573.) We recommend Youngevity’s Cheri minerals http://youngevity.com/
- Aloe Juice: Aloe coats the lining of the gut to allow healing from the repeated acidity that has irritated the lining, therefore allowing nutrients to be absorbed. Mom should consume in the morning on empty stomach and before night time on an empty stomach for 4-6 weeks or until the reflux has resolved. Aloe juice can be given directly to the baby, morning and evening.
- Inclined Sleep: place a wedge or small pillow under the mattress of child’s bed/crib to prop her up at a slight This keeps the body in proper alignment for digestion.
Reflux in Toddlers:
Along with supplementing a toddler, helping to close the cardiac sphincter, the valve that allows everything in and out of the stomach, will help control the reflux. This can be done by laying the child down after eating and feeling under the breast bone and sternum (small knob) for a pocket of tissue, no bone. That is the sphincter. Depending on if the child is infant or older, you may use 1 or 2 fingers, pressing down about ¼ to ½ inch and then aiming your hand toward the feet (almost like a scooping motion) using sustained pressure for 20-30 seconds after every feeding.
Chiropractic Care for Reflux:
Misalignments in the upper neck due to childbirth or not being positioned correctly in the womb can be a cause of reflux. Parents tend to place baby in a swing or seat inclined to aid in reflux relief. This then causes the legs to be elevated and the spine to flex and curve forward, putting added stress on the infant’s body that shouldn’t be there. This causes tight and spasming muscles. The chiropractic adjustments will help to calm the muscles down and align the spine, allowing for the body to function more effectively.