are a hyper-reactive immune response to an environmental
agent either in the air or in the food we eat
that triggers a pre-existing infection to become
once again symptomatic. And as you read on the
Treating Kids page, the root of healthy immune
function starts in the gut. In other words, it
is all about healthy digestion!
Starting early on in an infant’s
life, digestion can be impaired by the over-consumption
of breast milk or through feeding on demand rather
than by a schedule. With an immature digestive
system, these patterns can easily lead to Food
Stagnation and a further weakening of the digestive
Another way to adversely affect
digestion is through the improper introduction
of solid foods, ie more than one at a time. Start
with one solid food at a time for at least a week.
See how they digest it before introducing a second
food. If this occurs too quickly for their system
to handle, it can easily lead to an allergic reaction
to the food itself.
As the child develops and begins
to eat solid food more comfortably, they are often
exposed to sugary and overly sweet foods, the
consumption of which can easily lead to an over-growth
of yeast and fungi in the gut which increases
intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut) allowing
large food particles to enter the bloodstream.
The immune system now sees foreign invaders to
attack producing inflammation. As the immune system
is confused and overworked, it is more susceptible
to other triggers. When those yeast and fungi
die off, they themselves release toxic proteins
that provoke yet another immune response.
Overuse of Antibiotics
ABx can play a crucial role in
combating disease and infection. Leading up to
their use, an environment has been created where
the “bad” bacteria outweighs the “good.”
And upon their use, the whole system is cleaned
out, not just the bad stuff but also the good,
wiping the slate clean. This is certainly necessary,
but without addressing the underlying reasons
for the original imbalance, you set the stage
for a return of subsequent infections and a weakened
immune system. In Chinese Medicine, it is important
to not just treat the branch but also the root.
With repeated ABx use, the stage
can be set for an even stronger overgrowth of
yeast, fungi and bacteria in the gut which can
further compromise immune function. Subsequent
allergies can form like hay fever, asthma, food
allergies and sensitivities, candida, hives, eczema,
and psoriasis. In my experience of working with
adult patients with candida, they have all reported
frequent overuse of ABx as a child.
I do about my allergies?
Conventional Western treatment
consists of symptomatic relief through the use
of antibiotics, antihistamines and other medications.
It is excellent at the immediate treatment of
acute attacks, but is lacking in healthy options
for treating long-term chronic conditions.
Food is always
the first to hurt and the first to help. On the
Treating Kids page, I list some general advice
for healthy immune function. The first step is
always to cut out the offending agents with dairy
and sugar being the most likely harmful substances.
Sugar feeds all infections and dairy is mucus
producing and replete with bacteria and viruses
that further compromise the immune system. Cow’s
milk is for cows, goat’s milk is for goats
and human’s milk is for humans. Once we
are past the infant stage, there is no reason
to continue consuming it.
Ideal for self-care at home is
acupressure. Gently rub these
points in order with focus for 5 minutes each
2x/day for good preventive care. The Miriam Lee
tune-Up listed below is what I use in my office
to strengthen digestion, boost the immune system
and treat allergies and the common cold.
Spleen 6: inside lower leg just above the ankle
Stomach 36: just below the knee, in the depression
lateral to the tibial crest
Large Intestine 11: in the depression at the lateral
Lung 7: just proximal to the wrist behind the
Large Intestine 4: in the webbing between the
index finger and the thumb.
If there are food allergies: add Stomach 43: in
the webbing between the 2nd and 3rd toes. This
is the best 911 stomach point!
If there are air allergies, rub the points
listed for Pediatric Asthma
For sinus congestion, use LI 20 right
next to the nostrils
With sinus congestion and headaches,
irrigation is a must! You can get a variety
of saline solution products at your local drug
store, but NeilMed.com makes an excellent infant
product called NasaDrops. Rinse at least 2x/day
while acute and for maintenance 1-2x/day (before
bed and in the morning). Ideally rinse as many
times as is necessary until what comes out is
clear and watery.
When I see kids, my preferred
method of treatment is Chinese Medicinal
Herbs to clear the lingering sinus or
lung infections, strengthen digestion and immunity,
and repair any damage from ABx use. I will also
use acupuncture as needed for
acute symptomatic relief.
The overall goal with allergies
is to identify and eliminate as many distractions
from your child’s immune system as possible.
Let your kid’s immune system develop unencumbered
so that it may do what it is designed to do. And
in this case, that is to clear the underlying
infection so that allergies become less over time
and are less severe in the short term. So start
with better food choices and use Western and Eastern
medicine as you need for additional support and