Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Asthma and allergies in a preschooler

When our oldest son was a little guy he had a lot of health problems. He seemed to catch every cold that went around. The doctor just kept prescribing antibiotics every month which would help, but we'd be back the next month with yet another illness. Every cold seemed to go to his chest and he'd end up coughing a lot and wheezing. When he was about 2 the doctor said he wasn't going to officially diagnose him with asthma because that would be a problem for him later, but we should keep an inhaler on hand and we did. He needed it pretty often.

At night he would get to coughing so hard he would throw up. This would happen usually twice each night. It was terribly frustrating. One morning I woke to hear him coughing and laid there exhausted wondering if I should get up and wake him up before he threw up, or let him get that last minute or two of sleep before he awoke on his own. Then I just prayed and asked God what in the world we were supposed to do about this. "Go to the allergist" was my answer. Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. It had just not occurred to me that it was allergies.

So we went and they did the skin test which showed him to be allergic to most of his favorite foods--chocolate, rice, oats, bananas, cinnamon, egg whites, and grapes. He was fine with dairy. I want to point this out because so many people assume that if you have allergies you must be allergic to dairy. This is not always the case and switching from cow's milk to rice milk would have been horrible for my son! There were a few other foods that he tested positive for, but the allergist urged us to remove everything he'd tested positive for from his diet for two weeks, then give each food to him one at a time to see if he reacted. Some caused no reaction and we were able to add those back to his diet. The ones that caused reactions we kept him off of. The doctor was hopeful that if we avoided these foods completely, he could outgrow these allergies because he was still fairly young. I believe he was about 3 1/2 at this point. He is now almost 20 and can eat all of the foods he once had to avoid. Sometimes some of them will cause a slight problem, but usually he said he's okay with them.

He also had airborne allergies and got weekly allergy shots. This was absolutely no fun. I can't say if the shots worked because we only did them for about half a year. I'll explain why.

We began to see a lot of improvement right away with avoiding food allergens--he stopped throwing up. We also took him off all artificial colors (all those FD&C colors with numbers) which improved his behavior. He had been a good kid all along, but he'd have these Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde moments where he'd suddenly become aggressive or wild and get in trouble. He didn't like that and when he saw that avoiding dyes helped him stay out of trouble, he was very careful--at age 3-4 yrs old!--to avoid dyes. As he put it back then, "Dyes make me crazy!" But he was still getting a lot of colds, coughs, and wheezing often. He couldn't ever play hard or he'd begin to cough and wheeze. The shots didn't seem to be doing much and I kept praying.

A friend of mine ended up suggesting a doctor who does things all naturally. This guy was great! (Dr. Dorman in Independence Missouri for anyone in that area who might want to try him.) All he did was tell me to give my son some drops in juice 3 times a day for 3 weeks, then nothing for a week, then come back for a re-check.

Each day he was to take 3 drops of Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract (He weighed about 30 lbs then. I have since learned that a dose is 1 drop per 10 lbs of body weight.) and 5 drops of Zand Insure Herbal (now called Insure Immune Support). We did this faithfully and began to see results pretty quickly. After the first month, we went back for a check up and were told to keep doing what we were doing. We continued for 3 months. After the third month he said we could stop the allergy shots if we felt comfortable with that. Boy did we!! And he said he no longer needed to take the drops every day. Just give them to him at the first sign of any illness coming on. Wow! We hardly ever even had to take any of our kids to a doctor at all after that! And it's a good thing because we moved and couldn't go to that doctor anymore. I've never found another one that I liked as well as him.

IF you would like to find these drops (and they have tablets of both formulas for those big enough to swallow pills), my favorite place to shop is iherb.com because they have good prices, reasonable shipping rates and quick service. They usually have everything I am looking for in one place, too. So I'm going to share my referral code just in case. By using this, you save $5 off your first order and I get some small percent of your purchase as credit in my next order--or something like that. I know it's good for both of us. But it would be even better if you can find the drops at a local health food store. Then you are supporting your own community AND you get what you need right away. I would caution you to not try other brands simply because when I have, they didn't work nearly as well. But that's up to you.

My referral code at www.iherb.com is MOM681.

Another change we made was to avoid sugar in our diet. This is something you'll hear from me often. Sugar depresses the immune system and when you have allergies you need to build your immune system. Honey is okay and will help satisfy your sweet tooth. So will fruit. Artifical sweeteners are worse than sugar and should be avoided.

Eat lots of fruit. At our house we call it God's Candy since it truly gives a "real fruit flavor". And a piece of fruit will usually cost you less than a candy bar. Plus it HELPS your health rather than hurts you.

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