My son, who is 4.5, developed a rash on his face. Not an obvious rash–there were spots that looked like small sores, some splotchiness under his nose, and even some small pink bumps in some spots. My husband suggested it was from the swimming pool, since he did not get a full shower after the last time he had gone swimming. It really didn’t look like anything serious and I didn’t think too much about it. I thought it would clear up soon. But the rash did not go away; it got worse. I thought it might be an allergy, but as time wore on I considered that he might have a virus, or worse, a bacterial infection. I decided to take him to a doctor.
The doctor examined him and said he had a sinus infection, likely strep.
The word I dread to hear. Followed by the word antibiotics. UGH.
The doctor didn’t do a culture, so when I got home I did what I told myself I would do the next time my son got prescribed antibiotics. I made an appointment with a naturopath for a second opinion.
Unfortunately it was a Friday and there was no ND that could see him until Monday. So during the weekend I treated him myself. I bought colloidal silver nasal spray and used that on him (he did not like that), and I used a colloidal silver spray for his throat to prevent the infection from moving downward. I put garlic oil drops in his ears to prevent an ear infection. I rubbed essential oils of tea tree and eucalyptus on the sides of his nose (he didn’t like that, either) and around his ears, and essential oil of geranium on the sinus points on his feet. I also gave him vitamin C, D, zinc, and an herbal tincture that immune-boosting herbs in it like echinacea, goldenseal and ginger, and also contained peppermint oil, which I figured could help kill any strep in his throat as he swallowed it. I made gummy treats with raw lemon juice and raw honey. I gave him kombucha and kefir and bought him some new probiotics. My treatment plan was threefold: attack the strep with colloidal silver, essential oils, garlic, honey and lemon; boost his immune system with vitamins, minerals and herbs; and feed beneficial probiotics into his body in hopes they would overwhelm the invader. It was a lot to do.
By Monday he was looking a lot better. The rash was fading a bit and the circles under his eyes had lightened up. He also had more energy. My regime seemed to be working.
I took him to a naturopath I had never met before. I chose this one because of his close proximity to us, thinking that if I liked him, it would be convenient to see him for other things. I found the visit to be very interesting. This is the fourth naturopath I’ve been to (if you count the midwife ND I met with last summer), and they’ve all been so different. He examined my son while I gave a history of his rash, the diagnosis he was given at the other doctor, and what I had been doing to treat him, except I got interrupted before I could tell him I’d been using colloidal silver and essential oils. But what I did get to tell him–the vitamins, herbs, and probiotics–he told me I was very smart and seemed impressed that I would know to give him those things.
He told me he didn’t think it was strep, but offered to do a culture. I said yes, please. Turns out, it was strep. And what did he prescribe? Antibiotics. Ugh.
But that’s not all he prescribed, and that’s not all he said. First I want to say one thing I did not like about this visit, and that was that the naturopath didn’t go over my son’s general health history, which is the whole point of paying extra for a first time visit. He barely asked about my son’s diet (I think he only asked about dairy), and at some point I remember mentioning that we had been on GAPS, which he had heard of but didn’t comment on, and he asked how my son slept at night, to which I answered “Not great.” And that was pretty much it.
But he did say some interesting things. He told me that 100% of sinus infections are the result of allergies. He figured it was the pollen in the air, since the weather had recently warmed up. But he said it could be food related, too. I told him he had recently been eating a lot of grain when he hadn’t before. The doctor nodded his head, and said “Could be.” I also suggested chlorine because he had just finished a course of swim lessons. He said, “Could be.” My son has never shown signs of environmental allergy before, but has shown symptoms of food sensitivities, so I’m kind of thinking food. I really hope it’s not pollen. I don’t even know how it could be pollen. The diet we’ve been on has cured me of pollen allergies, so it seems unbelievable that my son would develop pollen allergies while on it. Unless eating wheat somehow ignited a pollen allergy. I guess I have heard of that before.
Anyway, he said my son’s immune system wasn’t up to par, which is just so disheartening to hear after working so hard on his health. The ND, who is also a homeopath, prescribed some homepathic remedies for allergies and sinus infection, as well as vitamin C and liquid B vitamins (we did not end up getting the latter), cod liver oil (which he already takes), probiotics, and he strongly suggested I get my son on a rotating diet. He said it would change his life. He said that if I did it for myself, it would change my life, too. The interesting thing about this is I had just recently been thinking I need to rotate our food better. It’s not like we eat the same thing day after day–I think we eat a fairly varied diet–but probably not varied enough. I’m stumped what to do about milk though…we have that every day, and I feel like it’s too nutritious not to have daily. Does it count that the cows are on pasture and eat a varied diet themselves??
After the food discussion and prescribing the above mentioned items, he asked about my son’s sleep and then prescribed magnesium liquid for him. I had been wanting to get him on magnesium anyway, so this sounded great (I didn’t realize it also had equal parts calcium, which I don’t think he needs).
Then there is the part about me. This is the part that kind of makes it worth paying the new visit fee, because he gave me some advice, too. He noticed that I looked tired, so he looked in my throat and said I had the same thing as my son. Great, strep for me, too! He also measured my blood oxygen and noticed that my pulse strength was extremely low–1.6 on a scale of 0-20. He said that no one is as high as 20, athletes may be around 17, and average healthy person would be around 14. Apparently pulse strength is an indicator of how well your blood delivers nutrients to the cells in your body. A really low number, according to him, means that disease is imminent. Wow, that was a scary thing to hear.
I told him I was planning to get pregnant and he told me that was a bad idea until after I got my pulse strength up to at least 5 or 6. I’m wondering if having the strep infection caused the number to go down so low. I was extremely tired that day and the next day I was horribly sick. But even if being sick lowered it, I couldn’t have been very high to begin with. It seems this would be something I need to work on. I haven’t been able to find out much information on it, and I wish I had asked him more questions. He did, of course, tell me I could make an appointment for myself and get a more thorough exam.
He prescribed me L-taurine, which is an amino acid that is found in high amounts in heart tissue. I knew this because I make raw cat food for my cats and it’s an extremely important nutrient for them. He also suggested something called CoE1 to help boost my energy. He said I should take the same vitamin C he prescribed my son (an adult dose is about 2 grams) and that I should take liquid B vitamins also. He said I didn’t have to take antibiotics but gave me something he calls “nature’s antibiotic” which is a compressed pill of echinacea, garlic, ginger and other immune-boosting herbs and minerals. (I also ended up treating myself with essential oils, garlic oil ear drops and colloidal silver.)
This was all very expensive, of course, and I didn’t even buy everything he suggested. Out of convenience I bought most of the things he recommended from him. As I paid the bill I wondered what the heck I had just done, buying all these supplements. I’m most skeptical of homeopathic medicine because in my experience it can work really well sometimes, but other times, I just can’t even tell. This would be an instance where it either sort of worked, or it was just a placebo effect because I’m not really sure. The other stuff I think was good, though. What I didn’t like was leaving with all these supplements and having no idea what the root cause of our strep was. Sure, he said allergies, but what was causing the allergies? I feel like I left a little wiser and with some tools to help us get better, but now I just have more questions than I did before.
I started my son on the antibiotics, which I wasn’t even sure he needed, and I just kept getting this feeling that I shouldn’t. But how do you argue when a naturopath prescribes antibiotics? Soon, my son was an emotional mess. He reacts the same way I do to antibiotics–with crazy mood swings. The drug also seemed to amplify his night terrors. It’s really great being startled out of a deep sleep when you’re sick by a screaming child across the hall (thank goodness my husband deals with these).
On one hand, I was glad I could drop the intensive treatment regime I had been giving him over the weekend because I was now pretty sick myself. On the other hand, I felt like those antibiotics were doing something bad to him. Every night I prayed to God and asked if I should keep giving him the medicine. I did not get a clear answer. Probably because I was so enveloped in fear. I was afraid how the antibiotics would damage his gut. But I was also afraid of the strep not getting resolved if I stopped giving him the antibiotics. It go to the point where I would break down into tears whenever he would have a violent mood swing. I felt like I was wrecking my child. (I may have been slightly irrational due to being sick myself.)
But, he was soon better. I, on the other hand, got to be sick a lot longer, and I’m not even sure I’m done with it yet. There was one thing I needed more than anything to get better, and that was sleep. Which I was having a hard time getting enough of. On day two of feeling ill, I got a low grade fever, and I was so happy my body was doing what it was supposed to, and also grateful having just learned that fevers help kill cancer cells (getting cancer is one of my great fears). I did wonder if it was dangerous to leave my body to its own defenses. I know strep can be a mean little bug. I’ve been taking my probiotics and even putting probiotic powder in my mouth at night to work its way up to my nose, sinus and ears. It all seems to be working, just slow going. It’s hard taking care of myself AND a little boy. After about two weeks I began to feel much better and now I just need to take care of anything that might be lingering.
Anyway, this post has gotten very long, so bravo if you made it to the end. In conclusion, this is what I’ve learned: Strep does not necessarily require antibiotic drugs but antibiotic herbs and oils are a good idea, as well as boosting the immune system, probiotics, and getting lots of rest. Even NDs will prescribe antibiotics for strep in kids without a second thought, even if the kid is showing signs of getting better without drugs. Allergies are the culprit behind sinus infections, so the immune system needs to be built up to prevent future occurrences. A rotating diet can reduce or eliminate food allergies. And, low pulse strength is a bad thing.
I did like this ND and found him interesting and appreciated that he wanted me to learn. But I don’t think he’s the best fit for us and I’m hoping to find a different ND for my son. But at least we could go back in a pinch.