Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello everyone!  For integrative health news and tips, please visit my Facebook page, All Worlds Pediatrics and "like" it. For more information regarding the practice, please visit the practice website.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Other ways, besides acetaminophen, to treat fever

There is increasing evidence that acetaminophen use may be linked to childhood asthma.  Even a single dose of acetaminophen can decrease the body's stores of glutathione, which is an important antioxidant that helps decrease oxidative stress within the lungs and throughout the body. Glutathione is also important in metabolism such as protein synthesis, as well as immune function, DNA synthesis and repair, amino acid transport, and enzyme activation.  Perhaps, we should rethink the popular medications that have become rooted into our culture.  Read this full New York Times article to learn more.

Acetaminophen, also known by the common brand name Tylenol, is often used for fever reduction in children. However, fever is one of the body's natural ways to fight off an infection. Should we really be treating the fever? We don't really have enough evidence either way. Yes, it is true that there are some circumstances in which the fever can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit or above. The higher the fever, the more discomfort a person tends to experience, although kids tend to tolerate fevers much better than adults do. There are also some kids that are prone to febrile seizures, which may warrant more aggressive fever control. Each child and family is unique, and all these factors need to be taken in account when advising fever control.

Ibuprofen is not necessarily the solution to avoiding acetaminophen, because ibuprofen has its own slew of side effects including decreasing the good bacteria in our gut and increased risk of bleeding.

Consider more integrative approaches to fevers and illnesses. Homeopathic remedies, when chosen appropriately, can have amazing effects on fever. Perhaps some healing touch may help. Or, an osteopathic treatment to help open up the lungs and drain the sinuses. Or, antibacterial and antiviral herbals can decrease the burden of infection. And as always with a holistic approach, don't forget addressing the spirit with a bit of prayer, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyday!

Each Thanksgiving, we often start to ponder what it is in our lives we are thankful for... from the sun and stars, to the warmth of a good meal, or just a random friendly face. We are thankful for just being. We can choose to smile, to laugh, to breathe deeply for the chance of a new day.

Sometimes when we get down in the dumps, or feel the holiday stress, it is easy to lose sight of what we could be thankful for.  Consider taking the time during this Thanksgiving meal to let each person give thanks in his or her own way, whether out loud, in writing, or perhaps song, dance, or other expressive art. It is also a good idea to be thankful for yourself as well -- not in an egotistical way, but in a gentle way that lifts the soul.

When you are ready, consider bringing the spirit of Thanksgiving Day to everyday! A great way to do this is by starting a gratitude journal. If you tried out the practice above, then you already have your first entry. Write down or say aloud a few things you are thankful for everyday.  Try it out with your kids and see what happens after a couple of weeks. Often, such a simple exercise can keep spirits high and help lift cloudy days.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Using your head... Concussions and other head injuries

Concussions are a type of brain injury that are often caused by a bump or blow to the head. They may also result from jolts to other parts of the body, which then causes a whiplash injury in which the head moves rapidly back and forth. It's just plain physics. An injury to any part of the body can be felt by the whole, including the brain which can get jostled around. Even seemingly minor injuries can add up over time, as addressed in a health special in Time magazine entitled Kids and Concussions

Cranial osteopathy can address the strains in the body and the head. Many of these strains can persist for months or even years. The effects of these strains may be more obvious such as in ongoing headaches or neck pain.  Sometimes the impact of the strains may be subtle, causing a "fogginess" that goes unnoticed until it is cleared. See to look for a cranial osteopath in your area.

Lastly, don't forget our good friend arnica, which is useful after any bumps or bruises.

*Photo credit: National Institure of Health

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food Allergies On the Rise

Many of us have suspected that allergies have been on the rise for some time now. A new study finds that about 6 million kids in the US have a food allergy. That is 1 in 13 kids. The severity of those allergies has also been increasing. Food allergies are not simply another nuisance to be brushed aside. We need to take them seriously because they can be life-threatening. For some, keeping an Epi-pen handy may save a life. Symptoms of a food allergy may range from an itchy rash (hives), itchy throat, swelling, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea. If you suspect you or someone in your family has a food allergy, please discuss this further with your physician.  If not, please be compassionate to others with food allergies and help them avoid a situation which may threaten their lives.

It is great that the medical journals are now clearly recognizing a true increase in food allergies. However, we also need to look more closely at the WHY as well. What has changed in our world that is different from decades ago? One, the toxic chemicals we are inundated with has also risen astronomically with little regulation. Many of these chemicals can affect our immune system in adverse ways. Second, the food that we eat is different. There is an abundance of processed foods, sugary foods, and artificial additives. Even produce has been genetically modified. Third, our interaction with the natural environment has changed. We live in highly sanitized areas with its obvious benefits. We do find that allergies are more common in city kids than farm kids. Are we lacking in exposure to beneficial bacteria?

Although we do not have all the answers yet, we need to continue to ask the question well-known to our kids: "Why?"

Austin Robin O'Brien is one mother who refused to stop asking why. She talks about the truth she uncovered in this succinct, empowering video. Please watch this video.

*Photo credit: National Institute of Health

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cell Phone Radiation

With the convenience and entertainment of our modern gadgets -- cell phones, computers, TVs, microwaves, and other electronics -- we sometimes receive more than we bargain for.  It is true that radiation can be a natural phenomena, such as radiation from the sun or the earth.  However, with our cell phone obsession, we are increasing our chronic exposure to low doses of radiation.  Children and young adults are more susceptible to damage from cell phone radiation due to their small skulls and developing brains.  The World Health Organization now recognizes cell phone radiation to be just as carcinogenic as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.  To reduce cell phone radiation exposure, keep the phone at least an inch away from the body, place the phone on speaker, use an earpiece, and decrease time spent on the phone in general. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Junk Food in Hospitals

I am amazed that our hospitals, which are supposed to be places of healing, serve junk food.  One of the hospitals I trained in had a McDonald's, which I thought was a fluke. Then I happened to deliver in another hospital in a different area of the country which also had a McDonald's. Why do our hospitals not place more value and support on prevention?   Here is an interesting article by a UK cardiologist entitled I mend hearts. Then I see my patients served junk food by our hospitals. 

I would also highly recommend the documentary Super Size Me, which examines the influence of the fast-food industry.  The film is available for viewing and download for free.

Photo credit

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Simple Black Beans

This is a great easy recipe to learn how to cook beans. Place 3/4 cup of dried black beans in a pot or bowl. Pick through to remove any small stones. Add water to cover the beans by about two inches. Add a splash of vinegar (~1 Tablespoon) or squeeze of lemon to help break down the phytic acid in the beans. Phytic acid can interfere with the absorption of valuable nutrients.  Soak beans overnite for about 8-10 hours. After the overnite soak, rinse and drain the beans. Then add 3 cups of water and simmer beans for about 1.5-2  hours. I usually keep the pot covered for the first 1-1.5 hours then uncovered to boil off the remaining water. Once the beans are soft, add 1/2 jar (~6 oz) of your favorite peach or mango salsa. I use the peach salsa from Trader Joe's. You gourmets can also make your own if you prefer. 

Voila!  These beans are ready to use as a dip, burritos, tamales, salad, as a side dish or hearty meal with brown rice and greens.

Black beans in particular are packed with antioxidants, fiber, protein, magnesium, folate, and iron.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Preventing Swimmer's Ear

Swimmer's ear is a painful infection of the ear canal. The ear tends to be tender when tugged or touched. It occurs more often after swimming as water gets trapped in the ear and promotes growth of certain germs. After a prolonged bout of swimming, consider a simple step of prevention: Place 2-3 drops of a 1:1 solution of plain vinegar and rubbing alcohol. The solution helps restore the slightly acidic pH of the ear which helps ward off infection. It also encourages the ear to dry more quickly. Do not place this solution in your child's ear if he or she has ear tubes, a perforated ear drum, or any ear drainage. Also, keep in mind swimmer's ear is different from a middle ear infection which tends to be associated with colds and/or allergies.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun in the Sun... Sunscreens

Sunscreens can be tricky as the sunscreen industry is not as regulated as you may think. Some sunscreens, even those advertised for babies, do not protect from both UVA burning rays AND UVB cancer-causing rays. Some sunscreens also contain certain chemicals like oxybenzene which may be potential hormone disruptors.  Check out these sunsafety tips from the Environmental Working Group. It includes a guide on what to look for in a sunscreen. I also recommend EWG's Sunscreen Guide to choose your sunscreen. You are more likely to find these sunscreens at your local health food store. Don't fret if you can't find the ideal sunscreen right away -- just use what you have in the meantime. In general, AVOID Oxybenzone, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), added insect repellent, sprays, powders, and SPF above 50+.  LOOK FOR Zinc, Titanium dioxide, Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX, Creams, Broad-spectrum protection water-resistant for beach, pool & exercise; and SPF 30+.