NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE FOR CHILDREN
Our naturopathic clinic offers natural treatments / therapies for babies, infants, toddlers, children and adults. Our gentle and kind naturopathic doctor is one of the best in Toronto, and has treated lots and lots of little kids with all sorts of health conditions ranging from ear infections, baby acne to eczema, attention deficit disorder, mild autism, bedwetting and severe allergies, among others and is great with children.
Naturopathic medicine is extremely beneficial and successful in treating all sorts of symptoms and diseases, using natural therapies, but without the use of harmful medication and drugs. Most natural remedies are very gentle and without any side effects, and the effects are seen within days of application. Naturopathic medicine is great for keeping the immune system healthy, especially for toddlers who are in preschool and kindergarten.
Sushma Shah - Toronto Naturopathic Doctor - uses the following naturopathic treatments to treat infants and children:
- Naturopathic Supplements – Vitamins and minerals supplements for children.
- Homeopathic Medicine (in some cases) – Depending on the severity of the symptoms.
- Nutrition Counseling – Our Naturopath offers nutritional healthy eating plans for you and your family, our nutritionist on Staff also offers cooking demonstrations in the comfort of your home, meal plans and diet therapy.
- Botanical Medicine – Use of teas and some herbs for various health conditions. Our naturopath may also offer topical ointments made of herbs for kids and children depending on the health issue.
Here is a partial list of conditions that naturopathic medicine is very beneficial for in children:
- Attention deficit disorder and ADHD
- Allergies (food / and environmental)
- Baby Acne
- Common colds
- Ear infections / Otitis Media
If you do not see a condition you are interested in or are interested in scheduling an appointment to see our Toronto Naturopath - Sushma Shah, please call the clinic for more information at 416 913 4325. Just because its not listed, does not mean we do not treat it.
ALLERGIES IN CHILDREN (FOOD AND ENVIRONMENTAL)
Allergies are the leading cause of poor health in children. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the most chronic childhood disease. Hereditary factors play a big part in determining whether a child has allergies. If one parent has allergies the chance of a child developing them is 30-50 percent. When both parents have allergies the chances increase for the child to 60-80 percent. Children, who have no known family history, can still develop allergies. Environmental factors are the main suspects in allergies in this case.
The single most common allergy among infants and children in the first year is to cow's milk protein.
A child must first be exposed to a substance to become allergenic to it. The first allergens, other than foods, that may affect children are the indoor allergens such as pets, household dust mites, and molds. Once a child gets older, exposure to outside allergens, like tree pollen, weeds, or grasses, increases the chance for seasonal allergies because children spend more time outdoors.PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
Food allergies in infants can cause many problems such as crying, colic, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, eczema and congestion. Other symptoms include: “allergic shiners” a bluish discoloration around both eyes. Puffiness beneath the eyes may appear. Redness and irritation in the eyes may occur as well. Rubbing of the nose, sniffles, sneezing, and have congestion may occur as well. A child with allergies may have recurrent sore throats, chronic nasal congestion, and chronic ear infections.
Because excess mucus secretion and swelling of nasal tissues (nasal polyps) usually occur with allergies, breathing may be difficult for a child when lying down causing a disturb sleep resulting in sleep apnea.
Allergies have been known to be the underlying cause of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in many cases. Studies have shown children with severe allergies are more likely to be aggressive, depressed or irritable, than children with no allergies.DIAGNOSIS
There are various laboratory tests that can help to identify allergies or intolerances to various substances; at the clinic we offer various types of quality allergy tests. Below are the various tests that are available for skin testing in general.Skin Prick Technique / Scratch test
The skin prick test involves introducing a small amount of allergen into the skin by making a small puncture through a drop of the allergen extract. Depending on the allergen introduced, the body will start of a chain reaction, by producing an allergic antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin E), which in turn activates special cells called mast cells. These mast cells release chemicals called mediators, such as histamine, the chemical that causes redness and swelling causing a dime - sized reaction to the injected allergen. If no reaction occurs the body is not allergic to the substance.Intradermal
Involves injecting a small amount of allergen under the skin. This form of testing is more sensitive than the prick skin test method.Challenge testing
Involves introducing small amounts of the suspected allergen by oral, inhaled or other routes. With the exception of food and medication, challenges are rarely performed. When they are performed, they must be closely supervised by an allergist/immunologist.Blood (RAST) test
The gold standard allergy test that is available at the clinic. A blood test, called a RAST (radioallergosorbent) test that is both accurate and very sensitive for food intolerances – i.e. foods that you may suspect are affecting your children but not sure. RAST: An allergy test done on a sample of blood. The aim with RAST, as with skin tests, is to check for allergic sensitivity to specific substances.
In the test, the sample of blood is mixed with substances known to trigger allergies. The test measures the level of allergy antibodies (specific IgE and IgG antibodies) in the blood, which are present if there is an allergic reaction. At the clinic we offer to test over 500 individual substances – ranging specific grasses to specific foods, we also have tests to test various groups of substances, please call the clinic for more information on allergy tests.The following tests are offered at our Naturopathic Clinic:
- IgG Food with IgE Food - IgG antibody levels to 88 foods, IgE antibody levels to 19 foods, and Total IgE. We also have a 93-food panel that checks IgG for 93 foods
- IgG Foods - 88 foods and Total IgE (click here for detailed information)
- IgE Molds - 15 common molds and Total IgE (click here for detailed information)
- IgE Inhalants - 14 common environmental inhalants specific to 18 North American geographic regions and Total IgE
- IgG Vegetable Food Add-On - 21 vegetarian foods with a total IgE
- IgG Spices - 24 commonly used herbs and spices and Total IgE
Ninety-five percent of children's food allergies are due to cow's milk protein, egg whites, wheat proteins, soybeans, shellfish, fish, peanuts, and tree nuts (like walnuts). Other common allergens include corn, peanut butter, citrus fruits, chocolate, and food additives.
Children under the age of three are most likely to have food sensitivities, because their immune systems cannot yet tolerate a wide range of new substances. Fortunately they usually grow out of these allergies. Children with a family history of food allergies should not be given peanuts or peanut products until the age of three for this reason. Also, eggs should not be given to a high-risk child until the age of 18 months.
ASTHMA AND ECZEMA RELATED TO FOOD ALLERGIES
Asthma and eczema are two conditions that are strongly linked to allergies. Allergies can cause asthma flares and worsen eczema. If not managed properly, both can be a life-threatening disease. An asthma attack results in narrowed airways causing difficulty in breathing.
Sometimes if the allergies are severe enough, an anaphylactic shock can happen. Eyes, lips, and face of the child will begin to swell within a few seconds. Also, the throat may swell making it difficult to breathe. Hence parents must make sure that they have an epipen handy if their children suffer from severe allergic reactions to certain foods. Peanuts, nuts, eggs, shellfish, bee and wasp stings, penicillin and aspirin are the main culprits of a child's anaphylactic shock.
Many factors can trigger asthma attacks. Some of them include cigarette smoke, allergic reactions to pollen, mold, animal dander, feather, dust, and food, air pollution - inside or outside, exercise, sudden temperature changes, excitement, or stress.
People with eczema also may have asthma and certain allergies, such as hay fever. In some people with eczema, food allergies (such as allergies to cow's milk, soy, eggs, fish, or wheat) may bring on or worsen eczema. Allergies to animal dander, rough fabrics, and dust may also trigger the condition.
Kids who get eczema often have family members with hay fever, asthma, or other allergies. Some scientists think these children may be genetically predisposed to get eczema, which means characteristics have been passed on from parents through genes that make a child more likely to get it.
About half of the kids who get eczema will also someday develop hay fever or asthma themselves. Eczema is not an allergy itself, but allergies can trigger eczema. Some environmental factors (such as excessive heat or emotional stress) can also trigger the condition.
If you or your child are suffering from food and environmental allergies that were present since birth or have come back all of a sudden, but you are not quite sure what the allergies are, we can help you identify the specific food or environmental allergy, how allergic you or your child is to a specific allergen, what caused the allergy to come about in the first place and help you treat the root cause (such as a weak immune system, genetic potential, etc), we can also help you to decrease allergenic reactions to the environment and foods using natural supplements and homeopathy, along with other naturopathic modalities. *
If you are looking to find out more about allergies that you suffer from and are looking to prevent a recurrence of another bout of allergic symptoms, or would like to treat them using natural alternative treatments, please do not hesitate to call us at 416 913 4325 to book an appointment.
COMMON COLDS IN CHILDREN
The common cold is an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus. Newborn children acquire temporary immunity to cold viruses from their mother. However by six months, this immunity has waned, leaving children susceptible to the over 100 cold viruses. In the United States, adults have between 3 and 6 colds a year, and children have as many as 8 to 10. Young children are unable to practice good personal hygiene, such as hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Sneezing and runny nose from nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Fever (102 F or lower)
People more likely to get colds include:
- Children and those over 65
- Children who have parents who smoke
- Children who attend day care
- Smokers and those exposed to second hand smoke
- Those exposed to industrial smoke, toxic fumes, or other air pollutants
- People with immune system disorders, like HIV, AIDS, or cancer, or compromised immune function, like those taking steroids for a long time
- People under a fair amount of stress
In addition, colds are more likely during the winter months, but not because of exposure to cold air. This is likely because of the increased contact with others who are sick due to more time spent indoors.PREVENTION
Because so many viruses cause them, there isn't a vaccine that can protect against catching colds. But to help prevent them, kids should:
- Try to steer clear of anyone who smokes or who has a cold. Virus particles can travel up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) through the air when someone with a cold coughs or sneezes, and even secondhand smoke can make your child more likely to get sick
- Wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after blowing their noses
- Cover their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing
- Not use the same towels or eating utensils as someone who has a cold. They also shouldn't drink from the same glass, can, or bottle as anyone else
- Not pick up other people's used tissues
Talk to your children’s naturopath about taking homeopathic remedies for prevention and appropriate supplements for the symptoms. At the clinic, we work with you and with your children with various natural therapies such as diet, natural supplementation, and hydrotherapy to reduce their symptoms and improve their immunity.
EAR INFECTIONS / OTITIS MEDIA
Next to the common cold, ear infections are the most commonly diagnosed childhood illness in the United States. More than three out of four children have had at least one ear infection by the time they reach 3 years of age. The number one reason why parents bring their children to see a pediatrician is ear infections (or otitis media).
Children develop ear infections more frequently in the first 2 to 4 years of life for several reasons:
- Their Eustachian tubes are shorter and more horizontal than those of adults, which allows bacteria and viruses to find their way into the middle ear more easily. Their tubes are also narrower and less stiff, which makes them more prone to blockage
- The adenoids, which are gland-like structures located in the back of the upper throat near the eustachian tubes, are large in children and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes
- Weak immune system. Long-term overuse of antibiotics and high intake of sugary processed foods suppresses the immune system. An intake of foods that are intolerant for the individual may also suppress or dysregulate the immune system. The immune system generally protects us from infections – i.e. it’s our first line of defense
There are also a number of other factors that contribute to children getting ear infections. The more common ones are exposure to cigarette smoke, bottle-feeding, food allergies, and day-care attendance.SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The signs and symptoms of acute otitis media may range from very mild to severe:
- The fluid in the middle ear may push on the eardrum, causing ear pain. An older child may complain of an earache, but a younger child may tug at the ear or simply act irritable and cry more than usual
- Lying down, chewing, and sucking can also cause painful pressure changes in the middle ear, so a child may eat less than the normal amount or have trouble sleeping
- If the pressure from the fluid buildup is high enough, it can cause the eardrum to rupture, resulting in drainage of fluid from the ear. This releases the pressure behind the eardrum, usually bringing on relief from the pain
Fluid buildup in the middle ear also blocks sound, which can lead to temporary hearing difficulties. A child may:
- Not respond to soft sounds
- Turn up the television or radio
- Talk louder
- Appear to be inattentive at school
Other symptoms of acute otitis media may also include:
Conventional medicine considers bacteria to be the root of the problem, and therefore directs the treatment to kill the bacteria with antibiotics. Bacterial species require specific environments to multiply – including warm temperatures, moisture, and plenty of sugar. Most children get ear infections because their bodies provide a 'nourishing' environment for the bacteria, not because they have an antibiotic deficiency. Fast foods, sugars in various refined foods that are low in nutritional value create the comfortable environment for the bacteria. By reducing the sugar load on the human body, and bacteria will have harder time infecting it.
From the naturopathic prospective, the single most important thing to understand is that an ear infection itself is a consequence, not a cause. It is a consequence of nutritional imbalances and a weak immune system. For a treatment to be successful over the long run, it should address and remove the underlying causes of the problem.
In the case of an ear infection, naturopathic medicine seeks to address the cause rather than merely mask the symptoms. Therefore, naturopathic treatment for otitis media may include the use of a natural antibiotic if necessary for comfort, but the emphasis would be on a low sugar diet, eliminating allergens from the diet, and strengthening the immune system. *
At our clinic, we offer our young patients outmost care. Our goal is to:
- Help parents understand the disease process related to their child
- Provide information on natural health solutions such as homeopathy, dietary changes, supplements that will shorten the recovery time
- Provide customized treatment protocols that are specific for your child’s needs
Please ask your doctor or naturopath before starting on any supplements. Its is better to first identify the cause and then treat it with the right remedies, even though those mentioned above have minimal side effects.
If you are interested in treating your children's health concerns / conditions using safe and natural alternative therapies, or would like to optimize their health, using nutrition and naturopathic supplements, please contact us at 416 913 4325 (HEAL) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with our Naturopathic Doctor.
* DISCLAIMER: The information on this article is the property of Dr. Sushma Shah, Naturopathic Doctor, and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any diseases or promote any services or products mentioned on the website.