Have you ever noticed that not everyone is sick at the same time in your family? Some family members “catch” the flu and yet others don’t….Why might that be? Did you know that it is actually a good thing to get sick and it’s how our immune system develops and strengthens? Let’s start by talking about why it’s more common for adults and kids alike to get the flu or get sick more often in the cold months than in the middle of the summer and also why it can be a good thing to get sick. Let’s start by talking about kids in particular….
Taking care of sick children can be a rather challenging aspect of being a parent. Waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of your child’s cough, feeling your child’s feverish body against yours, and cleaning up vomit is something you may be familiar with. We all knew there would be times like this in our parenting experience. It’s inevitable that kids get sick. It’s a necessary part of growing up, a normal part of childhood.
The general belief is that kids/adults “catch” colds and flu from viruses that are circulating in the air or passed from others. Many people talk about a cold or flu “going around” as if it were making the rounds infecting every child in its path. The reality is that out of all the children exposed to the virus, only a portion of these children will get sick to some degree and others will not succumb to the disease at all. This is because viruses and bacteria are not the sole cause of disease.
There is much more going on behind the scenes in your child’s body. The “cause” of the illness is not just the bacteria or virus; there are many factors involved. The internal environment of the body determines whether a child will be susceptible to colds, flu or any other illness. Germs will only lead to illness when the body is out of balance and immunity is weakened.
Yes, germs in the form of bacteria and viruses do play a part in illness, but in order to survive and become active enough to cause symptoms, these germs first need to have an environment that nourishes them. They survive and proliferate from feeding off the wastes and toxins that accumulate in the body. The immune system responds with inflammation, triggering an inflammatory response. Vomiting, rash, diarrhea, fever, runny noses, and coughs are signs that the body has begun its process of healing – dispelling the wastes, virus, and accumulated toxins from the body.
In order for the body to generate a sufficient and complete healing response, the immune system needs to be strong and functioning at its best. Factors that contribute to a weakened immune system include poor nutrition, stress, an unhealthy mental or emotional state, excessive toxins and a weakened nerve system (aka a subluxation).
There is plenty you can do to strengthen your child’s immune system and overall health and vitality. The best approach is to provide a healthy environment right from the start. A baby needs to be nourished during the entire pregnancy with organic, whole foods and lots of love, birthed in a peaceful, welcoming environment, then exclusively breastfed and nurtured immediately upon entering the world.
Long-term breastfeeding is, by far, the most important thing you can do. Breastmilk provides the nutritional and immune factors crucial to building and maintaining healthy immunity. Breastfeeding into the toddler, or even the preschool years, provides the physiological and emotional factors necessary to develop and boost the immune system.
Also vitally important is good nutrition – plenty of fresh, whole foods. Processed foods and sugars place a burden on the immune system and create more of a toxic environment within the body.
A nontoxic environment is essential. A body that is less toxic is also less susceptible to illness. In our current world, it is impossible to avoid all toxins. But we can reduce exposure to a great extent if we know how our children are being exposed through their food, homes, schools and playgrounds. It’s also important to avoid unnecessary antibiotics since these substances can weaken overall immunity and add to the toxic load on the body.
Moreover, a child needs a healthy mental attitude, low stress, emotional security, and plenty of rest and exercise.
In addition to all of the above health builders, you can boost your child’s immune system with herbs, homeopathy, or chiropractic care. Certain herbs, including echinacea, astragalus, elderberry, and garlic have been found to have remarkable immune-building properties. These herbs support the body’s vitality and help prevent development of disease.
Chiropractic adjustments help to strengthen the immune system and overall health.
It’s our job as parents to keep our children’s bodies healthy and in balance. We need to provide what the immune system needs to function properly and to reduce the toxic exposures from food and the environment.
When your children do get sick, you can help facilitate and support the healing process by gently supporting the immune system and assisting the cleansing process. Keep in mind that the symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose, etc. are exactly what need to happen to dispel and heal the disease. You don’t want to suppress this healing by giving them fever reducers or cough syrup. Antibiotics can also suppress the healing process and weaken the immune system. Instead of trying to control and suppress the symptoms our children are experiencing, we can try to stimulate their immune systems to enable their bodies to heal themselves.
Childhood inflammatory diseases are an essential part of the development of the immune system. Every time the immune system works to dispel a cold virus or other inflammatory illness, your child’s immunity is strengthened. The more the immune system does this clearing process, the stronger it will be. Studies have shown that the more acute inflammatory diseases a child has, the less the likelihood of getting chronic inflammatory diseases, such as allergies and asthma, later in life. Another great benefit is that after successfully discharging and healing certain diseases like chicken pox or whooping cough, your child will most likely receive lifetime protection from these illnesses.
Childhood illnesses can certainly be demanding and frightening at times. But you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it’s a normal part of the growing process and your child’s immune system and overall health is developing naturally and becoming stronger in the process.
Use the information provided in this article as an educational resource for determining your options and making your own informed choices. It is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness. If there is any chance your child is seriously ill, take him or her to a qualified health professional for evaluation.