Deborah Bain Cold and flu season is the busiest time of year for pediatricians; school is in full swing and so are the germs and viruses. Of course it’s 5 p.m. when our child tells us their throat hurts or develops a fever and the doctor’s office is closed, but it’s okay to wait and not rush to get assistance. Instead, allow their immune system to do its job of mounting its own defenses by creating a fever to destroy the invading organisms. Allow a child to run a low-grade temperature, and unless it is around 103 degrees or higher, do not use antipyretics (medication). Instead, put them in a tepid bath with a cup of Epsom salt or use cool washcloths on the neck and chest to make them more comfortable.
Even if strep throat is the cause of fever, it is best not to treat it in the first 12 hours with an antibiotic before our the body’s defenses kick in, because that may lead to more recurrent strep infections in the future. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not testing for strep throat under the age of 3 years old, especially if there are concurrent viral symptoms of runny nose and congestion, because the likelihood of true strep throat is low in this age group, complications are rare and false positive tests are high.
When in doubt, boost the immune system. Here are some tips on helping to fight off anything that a child encounters—viral or bacterial. First, don’t wait for a full-blown illness before reaching for vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics. Colloidal silver may help too, depending on the age. Elderberry is a good choice for viral illnesses.
Also minimize sugar intake because it suppresses the immune system for several hours after consumption and makes it more likely for a child to succumb to germs.
Deborah Z. Bain, M.D., FAAP, is owner of Healthy Kids Pediatrics, an integrative holistic pediatric practice in Frisco. For more information, call 972-294-0808 or visit HealthyKidsPediatrics.com.