When Would You Take Your Child to the Doctor?
I had an interesting conversation with another mom at gymnastics the other night. She and I were discussing various health-related topics, when she suddenly turned to me and said, "Wait a minute … do you EVER take your kids to a doctor ?!"
I sheepishly responded, "Well …. they've never been to one, if that's what you're asking!"
Then I remembered that there was that one time, when our daughter had just turned 1. We took her in to see a friend of ours (a family doc) just to confirm what we had already suspected – she had developed Rubella after exposure to a recently vaccinated child. He did not have to do any tests, and she certainly was not prescribed anything. She was fine … we knew she was fine. We were leaving for a trip the next day and wanted a 3rd opinion about taking her on the airplane. The whole thing is done and over with in 3-5 days. No biggie at all. Life time immunity. Even our doc said that he can not understand why on earth we vaccinate against Rubella! We went on our trip the next day and everything was perfect.
Anyhow, I digress!
My fellow gymnastics mommy friend was listening with very wide eyes as we talked about various childhood illnesses and how we 'handle' them in our house. Let me point out, by the way, she is one smart cookie and a very healthy person to begin with. It's not like the concept of natural health was far-fetched for her.
She rattled off some "But what about ….?" questions pertaining to specific conditions and I explained that my answer to each and every one of those is the same. First, let's see how their bodies handle the situation on their own. Most 'conditions' are self-limiting and the usually-healthy body is perfectly capable of dealing with them highly effectively. Anyone who understands human physiogy and immunology will tell that this is the preferred method of 'treatment' – it's what builds powerful immune systems. This is what I'd call "Tier One" of our approach.
"Tier Two" would be set into action only if it did not seem like the kids were getting better on their own after some REASONABLE amount of time. I do not get a jumpy 'trigger finger' here. I think when we jump in to 'treat' things too quickly, without affording our bodies the opportunity to do so on their own, we lose a chance a creating a stronger system overall. This principle rings true whether the 'treatment' is allopathic or holistic. So, in Tier Two, I would pull out a natural remedy of some sort. For example, hydrogen peroxide for a potential ear infection, or to gargle with for a sore throat, or honey / lemon for a cough, or euclyptus oil on their feet at night for a cold or cough (yes, it works), or Agrisept for any of the above.
I knew what was coming next. "But what about something really serious, like strep throat or a high fever? Would you take them to the doctor then?" Well, neither of them have been officially diagnosed with strep throat. We have not really had to deal with many sore throats (or ears, for that matter) at all. I'd have them gargle with Agrisept, put it in their water or smoothie, and put it in a humidifier … the stuff kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, candida … it's awesome! I used it for strep throat when I was pregnant and it cleared up within a day and a half. Many, many of our practice members tell similar stories.
In the case of a high fever, nope. Not going to a doctor. High fever is the innate design we were provided with to allow our bodies to fight off any invading infection. Fever "burns off the bad guys." I'm not giving them anything for a fever … why on earth would I want to suppress it if it's helping their bodies? I've had many doctors and nurses in our practice confirm (for other parents who could not it!) That the body temperature needs to get up to 101 – 102 degrees for a fever to even become effective at doing its job!
The conditions surrounding the fever need to be considered as well. How long has the fever been present? Is it spiking high or remaining high? Is the child just lethargic and mopey, or he / she becoming completely delirious (hard to tell the difference with my two nutburgers sometimes!)? Also, sometimes very minor infections will cause a high temp, while a more serious condition may cause very little change in temp. Guess that's why I do not get all bent out of shape about fevers!
NOW, let's talk about Tier Three. IF I ever thought for a second that my children were in danger, of COURSE I'd take them to the doctor! If the fever continued to rise for days and days, and the child did not appear to be 'winning the battle' after a few days, even after Tier Two (which would include dressing them warmly in their core areas, but exposing their limbs , then rubbng their limbs with arnica or lemon juice to help the body release some heat while continuing to work on the cause of the problem … ONLY if I'm convinced it's getting to be too much for them), then I'd take them somewhere for further evaluation. Heaven forbid. Or, if the fever got up to 105 for too long, or higher … First, I'm still just going to be very, VERY carefully observing MY child because I know MY child better than anyone. I also care the most, so I'm not going to be an idiot.
It's the same with anything they could throw at me: if it does not go away on its own, and a natural approach is not helping enough, and my child seems endangered in some way, I'd take them to our very holistic , very common-sense oriented friend-doctor.
What if antiobiotics were prescribed for a PROVEN bacterial infection? (Remember, the VAST majority of infections in the head, neck and chest areas are VIRAL, not bacterial!) Again, I trust several other remedies for safer bacterial fighting. BUT, if I HAD to put the kids on antiobiotics for any reason, they would definitely be taking high dose probiotics and eating more-than-usual probiotic-rich foods to repair the damage caused by the antibiotics.
The one time I do not hesitate about taking them to a "medical" person or place is in the case of a serious trauma. When the body has been acutely traumatized in some way (broken bones, deep lacerations, etc.) this is no time for a boo-boo pack, Dora and Diego band-aids and aloe vera juice! The safer, natural approaches will come in very handy in helping the body heal … but first, it needs to be mended!
We've been to the emergency clinic in our town 3 times for various lacerations that have all required stitches or glue. Not a question in my mind that it was the necessary action to take.
You might have guessed that we did not fill the prescriptions for pain meds and antibiotics. We prefer careful observation and providing the environment for the body to heal properly, with no interference, and no need to develop infection.
So, my friend just nodded her head at me and said, "You know, that makes a lot of sense. I think I get caught up in the fear of 'what if' too quickly and do not give it a chance to work itself out. "
Believe me, I'm a mother. I know the fear.
I think the major difference is that I not only worry about my children suffering in some way (like all parents do), but I'm afraid of the conventional system's approach toward my children when it comes to simple childhood illnesses! I'd never assume they're safer in the hands of "the doctor" or hospital. With very few exceptions, I'd have to say, quite the opposite is true.
I have much more faith in the innate design and capability to heal. It's not at all a 'religious' thing – it's a common sense, physiological fact thing! Kids who are healthy, happy and are in a healthy environment – they eat well, move well and think well – will generally have few challenges in handling childhood illnesses flawlessly, WITHOUT the need for harmful drugs.
Maybe more attention needs to be placed on creating that healthy environment for children so this type of self-healing and independence from drugs and excessive visits to the doctor can happen more readily. Just a thought!