Cold season is upon us, but don’t fret |

Cold season is upon us, but don’t fret

Dr. Eliza Klearman
Vail, CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/

EAGLE COUNTY ” Cold season is here. As the seasons change and kids return to school, we all become more susceptible to colds. If you are a parent, you know that fall is just the beginning of the battle against the cold. This is because the average child gets sick six times a year … and most of these illnesses occur in the colder months. So, brace yourself for wiping noses, receiving calls at work to come pick up your sick child, and the seemingly endless trips to the doctor.

Don’t fret too much. Getting all of these colds actually serves a purpose. Kids get sick so often because they are building immunity to the millions of germs we come into contact with every day. Every aspect of a child’s body is under-developed, including the immune system, which works to fight off disease, infections and germs in general.

Like any other part of the body, the immune system needs exercise in order to become strong. I would argue that getting sick is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. If you don’t get sick at least once a year, your body may be too weak to respond to the onslaught of germs in our environment.

One of the most common reasons for visits to the pediatrician or family doctor is ear infections. While the occasional ear infection is normal for a child, recurrent infections are not. Aside from the misery it causes your child, recurrent ear infections are a source of frustration, and are a legitimate concern, for parents.

The conventional solutions for ear infections typically include antibiotics, antihistamines and, occasionally, the implantation of ear tubes. While antibiotics have their place for treating severe bacterial infections, the most common childhood illnesses, including ear infections, are best treated using other methods.

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Studies indicate that antibiotics are no more effective than a placebo in shortening the duration or reducing the frequency of ear infections. In fact, some studies have concluded antibiotics are over-prescribed and hamper the natural development of the child’s immune system, thereby actually increasing a child’s risk for recurrent infections.

Most colds, flu, ear infections, and other common childhood illnesses do not cause serious complications and can be treated successfully without the use of antibiotics. Naturopathic medicine offers an excellent alternative and usually proves effective in eliminating risk factors and strengthening the immune system.

The primary goal in working with patients is to identify and eliminate the cause of the malady. And when it comes to kids, the risk factors for recurrent ear infections include: attending day care (increased germ pool), exposure to second hand smoke, not being breast-fed and, most importantly, the elimination of food allergies.

Some of the most common food allergens ” cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, citrus and peanuts ” make up a large portion of many children’s diets. The link between allergies and diseases is increasing. Identifying and eliminating the appropriate allergen not only helps to shorten the duration of an ear infection, it can help to prevent the recurrence of ear infections, eczema, asthma, and even attention deficit disorders.

Aside from removing these potential causes of disease, using vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathy and acupuncture will activate a tired, sluggish, and/or immature immune system. However, these substances should be considered “medications,” and self-prescription or self-treatment is not always a wise choice.

With the above in mind, perhaps the best thing you can do for your family is improve their lifestyle. I frequently work with parents, helping them optimize their family’s diet, and helping them choose the most effective supplements to promote optimal health. When children get sick, I encourage parents to begin treatments with natural, non-invasive medicines as soon as possible. Initiating treatment quickly significantly reduces the duration of the illness and gets your youngsters back on track.

Dr. Eliza Klearman is a Naturopathic Doctor and acupuncturist practicing in Eagle. Call 328-5678 or email today for a free consultation.

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