Wednesday, April 8, 2009

alternative medicine

i don't know about you, but around our house we hate antibiotics. i mean, while you are taking them, it's awesome. you feel invincible. nothing can get you. after all, you are taking ANTIBIOTICS. but then, after the last dose, something ominous happens--we seem to start getting sick over and over for about 3-6 months, depending on the season (allergy season is the worst).

back when i was teaching--way back, before having kids, when i just had about 100 high schoolers every day to contend with--i got sick a lot. so once when we were visiting some really good friends, supposedly on spring *break* but i was sick as a dog, couldn't breathe, had bronchitis for about the zillionth time that school year already, our friends told us about how antibiotics strip all the antibodies, good and bad, out of our system and how it leaves us a bit weaker after they are all done. (jen, my dear friend in the throes of med school right now, if you are reading this, i know i'm not explaining it right, so just give me some grace--or lots of grace...)

so i started taking probiotics (the kind you keep in the fridge) for a couple of weeks after i would finish a round of antibiotics. seems right, doesn't it? anti-, then pro-. well, lo and behold, i stopped getting sick. every time i would feel that thing at the back of my throat, which for me indicates, "oh crap, here comes a sinus infection," i would start loading up on probiotics and i would prevent my body from getting sick.

fast forward 6 years and 2 kids later. when aedan was between 2 and 3 1/2, he was sick constantly. and for those of you who live near us, you can attest to the fact that i'm not exaggerating. he would get a sinus or ear infection and the pediatrician would put him on a 10-day, then 14-day, then 20-day rounds of antibiotics. sometimes they were so strong it would make him throw up for a week straight. it was horrible. i thought my child was dying. 

then, one day, i was distraught, talking to my mom, and she said, "you need to put them on a vitamin and keep them on it." i thought, "well, that sounds insensitive, mom; here i am telling you how my kid seems like he's dying, and you are telling me to give them vitamins." but like most things moms say, they are usually right, so it got me thinking about how if i had given myself probiotics when i was sick, maybe it would work for my kids.

so i started giving them the following regimen EVERY DAY:

2 gummyvites
1 Nature's Own chewable probiotics tablet 
1 seabuddies immune defense tablet (pictured at the top of the post)

i picked this last one sort of by accident, because i was worried about aedan's immune system and figured it couldn't hurt to have him take something that would give him a boost. 

i am not the kind of mom who gives unsolicited advice about how to parent or take care of other people's kids, but i'm sharing this with you because lately i have found myself telling a few other moms whose kids get sick a lot, "you HAVE to get these things and give them to your kids!"

don't try the seabuddies vitamins--they are gross, and your kids won't eat them. and don't bother trying other immune-boosting vitamins. i have tried several other brands and they don't work. i think the key to this one is that it contains elderberry, which in my book is now considered the magic potion of all kid vitamins.

since i have been giving my kids this regimen of vitamins, they do not get sick. aedan has taken antibiotics maybe twice since he was 4, and he just turned 6. gillian doesn't get sick very often, but i still give her the same regimen.

anytime either of them gets a fever or runny nose, at the FIRST sign of this, i start giving them 2 probiotic tablets and 2 seabuddies. if i do this, they do NOT get sick. it's crazy-sounding, but i promise it's true.

several friends recently have asked me if i do the same thing for rhys, who is 20 months, and i have done this for him, although not with as much frequency (i just forget sometimes with him). i don't regularly give him the tablets or vitamins, but if he starts getting sick, i have baby probiotic powder that i mix with yogurt and i smash up a seabuddies tablet and mix it in there too. this seems to do the trick for him too.

recently, i ordered seabuddies from, and they seem to have great prices on the probiotics tablets as well. just make sure you don't get the seabuddies vitamins by accident.

one other home remedy that i am continually amazed by: if you have a baby still in diapers, and you have trouble getting rid of diaper rash, try mylanta. i know, it sounds weird. when we lived in boston, we had a great pediatrician who told us to skip the diapering creams and just use bag balm (comes in a green tin can, available at any pharmacy) daily and if a rash occurs, squirt or dab some mylanta on the red areas. 

i still sometimes doubt this advice, and i will try burt's bees diaper cream or just bag balm to relieve the redness, but after a couple days, when it starts to get worse, i always tell myself, "okay, just try the mylanta." and EVERY SINGLE TIME it goes away overnight. i had never really thought about why this works, but i was telling my parents about it over the holidays and they said maybe it's because the mylanta is designed to balance out acid or something, so it works that way on our skin too.

well, i have more work to do on this project i still haven't this is doctor kristi, signing out. look for pictures from aedan's 4-day-long birthday celebration later this week!


Amelia Plum said...

hey kristi, i take probiotic (the kind you keep in the frig) daily as well and have gotten the cherry primadophilus for my kids as well. i'll have to look into the elderberry being a magic potion. probiotics are amazing for anyone with GI issues. i met with a doctor who specialized in integrative medicine a while back and she recommended the refrigerated probiotics over those yogurts which contain probiotics (she said there's not enough of the probiotics in those) they're overpriced as well. i also eat a ton of prunes, yeah i grimaced at first too but they actually grow on you, they're quite sweet and loaded with antioxidants as well plus they're another great food for anyone colonically challenged. i try to get my kids to eat them but they refuse BUT they do drink plum juice like nobody's business.

Pixie said...

what age can you start? I would like to protect Preston against the black market germ trade in daycare that he then shares with us.