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Find the silence
   which contains thought.
       --Hakuin       

    

Pediatric Allergies

Allergies 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!

What causes poor digestion?

Diet:

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 process.

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)

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.

What can 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 elbow
Lung 7: just proximal to the wrist behind the thumb
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.

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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 help.




 

© Jordan Hoffman, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

The information presented here is not medical advice, is not intended as medical advice, and is intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of this information.

 

 
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This site and any articles on this site are not medical advice and are not intended as medical advice and are intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and acupuncture and are not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of the information on this site and any articles.