The cold and flu season is upon us and this is a really important time of year for adults and children alike. As a doctor, and as a mother, I know that if our kids get sick or if I do, it is an unpleasant situation with sleepless nights, hacking coughs, plugged noses, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dreary mood and energy.
Often times we feel like we just want to quickly make it all go away so we can get back to feeling good again. If your go-to treatment for yourself or your children is antibiotics when the going gets tough, you might want to start considering an alternative.
With growing concern over resistant bacteria, antibiotic treatment is starting to fall out of favour. Dr. Mercola wrote a great article about it. More and more medical doctors are taking a “wait and see” approach and limiting antibiotic prescriptions. This often leaves adults and children to drudge through a cold or flu on their own without much else recommended than rest, fluids and maybe some vitamin C. Sometimes symptoms can linger for weeks after the “acute” or immediate stage of the infection is over.
I have been fortunate in my practice to see that people treated with naturopathic medicine during a cold and flu often experience a shorter duration and intensity of symptoms. They get over their infection quickly and efficiently. This also goes for urinary tract infections, skin infections and sinus infections.
Furthermore, for those families who have consulted with me each time they or their children have been sick, rather than going for an antibiotic, the number of colds, flus, sore throats, ear infections, skin infections, etc., become less and less frequent. These patients bodies become very efficient at defending themselves against infection and resolving infection without antibiotics.
When I work with families I give specialized remedies to address the way the body manages bacteria, viruses, fever, mucus, lymphatic drainage and/or lung function. In the case of specialized infections like gastrointestinal, ear infections, strep throat, mononucleosis, shingles, cold sores or other acute infections, I tailor the plan to address this. My recommendations are different than vitamin therapy, since I’ve seen that vitamins alone may not be assertive enough for some people to get over their symptoms. It’s a fresh and flexible way to help people resolve infections without any concern for superbugs, toxicity or adverse reactions.
Antibiotics are like… “If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” All infections are treated the same. In some cases, multiple rounds on antibiotics are given to clear the infection. When we go after the “bugs” we are destined to fail in the long run. Why? Because this therapy never teaches the body how to fight an infection. It also never teaches the body how to prevent an infection. Conventional medicine does not change it’s approach when treating an ear infection, bronchitis or strep throat. Naturopathic medicine does. I often see people who get sick the same way every time. When we treat the individual we see the body learns what it needs to do to deal with this obstacle it keeps coming up against. Over time, people do not get sick the same way, as it becomes less frequent, more generalized and definitely easier to resolve.
In addition, when we rely on antibiotic use we may be experiencing short term gain but we are setting ourselves up for long term pain. The examples of this being “superbugs,” the limitation of antibiotic prescribing, antibiotic allergies and generations of people whose immune systems are not trained or strong enough to fight off infection.
In Naturopathic treatment we consider the whole person while simultaneously individualizing their plan. This approach trains the body to fight and helps it gain a “memory” so that the next time it encounters an unfavourable organism it knows exactly what to do. This broader approach to health care is what makes me so passionate about Naturopathic Medicine.