When Ross was 10 months old he woke up one morning with a runny nose. It was his first real cold. By 10 PM I was in the emergency room because he could hardly breath. In about 12 hours he had developed a sever bronchial infection. The was immediately given oxygen, steroids, and IV antibiotics. He was fine by the next day and released after two. But the infection had weakened his lungs and the antibiotics ruined his stomach. They prescribed him an inhaler for asthma, but the pharmacist did not recommend it for infants, so I did not by it and started looking into more natural cures. I have found that Elderberry works very well for both of my children to prevent persistent coughs and broncial infections. It took over 7 months of probiotics and avoiding dairy to get his stomach and stools regular. That was the first and (so far) the last time he has had antibiotics. Claire had a similar, but much less sever problem around the same age and was also prescribed an inhaler for asthma. Actually ever since I begun using natural supplements and diet to manage their health (over 2 years now), neither of them have had an infection or asthma symptoms.
Asthma and broncial infections are most commonly treated with anitbiotics, steroids, and antihistamines. Sometimes anitbiotics are necessary and save lives. But they should be used sparingly. There a two very significant side effects from poor digestion which can result from taking anitbiotics: 1) suppressed immune system and 2) poor nutrition. Both of which can hinder growth. Antibiotics kill bacteria (not viruses) and they kill all bacteria, not just the bad ones. When the “good bacteria” in the gut is lacking, this allows the bad bacteria to take over (such as yeast) or just leaves the gut unable to fully digest foods and therefore less nutrients are absorbed by the body. In addition, most of the immune receptors in the body are in the gut, so if the gut is not functioning at full capacity your immune system is already compromised. You will be less able to fight off the common cold or virus and more likely for it to lead to an infection. This may even lead to an increase in asthma due to a suppressed immune system, and the cycle begins. I would strongly encourage use of probiotics during and after any antibiotics are taken. I have listed a few articles on Asthma and Antibiotics below:
- Infants and Antibiotics
- Link between Antibiotics and Asthma
- Antibiotics and Children
Steroids are also very valuable in saving lives, but should be used sparingly especially in children. Steroids suppress inflammation, but do not treat the underlying cause of the inflammation. Asthma is almost always caused by an allergic reaction. The body produces steroids naturally to suppress such reactions, but as long as it is receiving steroids from an outside source, the body will not have to produce them. Therefore ultimately prescribed steroids suppressing the body’s natural ability to produce steroids (in the adrenal glands), and the cycle begins again. The adrenal glands influence many, many systems and reactions necessary for growth and development, including the hormones. If your child is on steroids regularly, I would ask your doctor about the recent studies linking adrenal suppression and growth impairment to prolonged use of steroids in children (Inhaled Steroids in Children, European Respiratory Journal).
I have not found (but really haven’t looked very hard) any conclusive research on the difference between synthetic antihistamines and natural antihistamines. All antihistamines suppress histamine which is the body’s natural reaction to an allergen. But I prefer the natural remedies to synthetics, so we take a homeopathic antihistamine with Quercetin. Also, I still use them sparingly because I don’t want my children’s immune system to become dependent on them.
I have read from several sources that Vitamin C, quercetin, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Omega-3 fatty acid are good for fighting Asthma. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine. I use it myself and like Source Naturals Allercetin Allergy and Sinus. I would ask a doctor or a holistic pharmacist about doses for a child. Most multi-vitamins have some magnesium but not much, but the Hemp milk has a good amount. You can get vitamin B6 in a multi-vitamin or on it’s own. Kirkman Labs makes two different multi-vitamins which are high in the Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, magnesium, and selenium, Super Nu-Thera and Nu-Thera. My children had a negative reaction to Super Nu-Thera, but Claire has had no reaction to the Nu-Thera. I get it without Vitamin A and D, since my children get this from other sources, and it is easy to get toxic levels.
Also, Elderberry syrup is great for respiratory illness. It is an anti-inflammatory, has anti-viral properties, and helps build the immune system. We all take it twice a day at the first sign of a cold or virus and we usually recover quicker, coughs don’t linger, and no one has had a secondary infection in years. It can be taken regularly during an allergy season. I also give it to my children for a few days to a week before and after getting immunizations. For babies I recommend Herbs-for-Kids brand or for older children and adults Natures Way’s Sambucus.
These are just a few things to think about if your child suffers from asthma or other respiratory illness. Fortunately, I have never had to experience my children suffering from an asthma attack and hope I never will. But I can imagine no worse feeling in the world. I am in no way suggesting that any one refuse all antibiotics, steroids, or antihistamines, but I would recommend trying to build your child’s immune system and working with your doctor to ween your child off regular use of steroids and antihistamines.
UPDATED POSTS ON ASTHMA and NATURAL CURES: