Teens and Colds & Flu
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Teens and Colds & Flu
My 15-yr. old daughter has gotten every illness in a big way
and it's always something. We've been to many specialists.
Does anyone have a good western doctor that can assess her
immune system, and also I'd like names of alternative
therapy practitioners that have demonstrated an ability to help.
Thanks, and I'll take my answers online
I can highly recommend Anasuya Batliner a nutritionist in
Berkeley. Her number is 848-8439 and her website is
http://www.mybodywisdom.net/index.html. She is VERY
practical and talks very honestly with teens. She is
reasonable and doesn't expect them to follow every single
thing she recommends but does make clear why she is
She might recommend a combination of supplements and diet
My daughter has seen her, as has a friend's teenage
daughter, both were helped by Anasuya.
The most effective way I know of not ''catching every little thing'' is a simple
salt nasal rinse called ''Neil Med Sinus Rinse'' which is available online or at
any pharmacy. After years and years of being sick all the time I now never
catch anything -- even though I teach!
The inexpensive ($15) package includes a plastic squirt bottle and a month's
worth of of saline rinse. Just add the packet to the bottle and fill with the
hottest water your can stand. Used every night and every morning, you are
guaranteed not to every catch anything that's ''going around'' again.
it's based on simple science: viruses can't live in 1) heat or 2) salt, both of
which are utilized with this simple method.
No, I don't own stock in the company, but I use it myself and recommend
that all my singers use it. And the ones that do no longer get sick and miss
Try it for a month -- you'll be amazed. Truly!
I highly recommend Roberta Lewis, who is a very experienced
acupuncturist/practitioner of Chinese medicine. I have
referred her patients over the years and received great
feedback. I know she has had success with this kind of
problem. She also has a great manner with young people. Her
number is 540-8528
My 12 year old daughter has had at least 10-12 colds in
the past 6 months. She has also had ear infections in
both ears, unusual at this age. This is the first time in
5-6 years she has been so sick continuously. She gets
well, then catches another cold. She is mildly asthmatic
and the colds go to her chest so we have frequent
I have taken my daughter to our pediatrician 2 or 3 times.
The ped. is nice and seems competent (she is new to the
office), but says things like ''it's GREAT she's getting
colds, not a problem, because she is developing
immunity.'' She means well but sounds facile. Of course,
I hope she is right and that is all there is to it.
I'm worried that there may be some underlying problem.
Does anyone have any advice/suggestions on what has worked
with (1) building immunity; (2) alternative treatments
(homeopathic, etc.) and experience/recommendations on
alternative practitioners; (3)any other issues I should be
aware of, such as underlying conditions (4) any other
advice on this problem.
Anxious and worried mama
After a move (from Berkeley to Palo Alto) I was chronically sick and
couldn't figure out why. Eventually, I went to an allergist and discovered I
was allergic to many things (mostly plants) in my new environment. I had never had
allergies before, so it took me (and my doctor) awhile to even consider allergies
as a possible trigger. Check with the allergist, but I think it's possible
for it to take up to three years in a new location before your body starts to have
allergic reactions. For an allergist here in Berkeley, we really like Dr. James
510-644-2316 for children and adults.
I don't want to alarm the mother whose daughter has frequent colds, but there
are sometimes underlying reasons for immune-system deficiencies. My
daughter was frequently sick from babyhood on and was later diagnosed with
chronic-fatigue immune-dysfunction syndrome. This explained a lot to us. We
had also often taken her to the doctor and had been reassured with some
platitudes. But there was no way the doctor could have known. I hope your daughter
is merely going through a tough period and will soon be better.
Is she getting enough sleep?
Mother of CFIDS/FMS
This sounds very familiar. My daughter had just this kind
of year in 7th grade. She had been a kid with ear
infections as a younger child, but had ''grown out'' of
them. Then came her 7th grade school year where she got
sick and it migrated from her head to her ears to her chest
(bronchitis) back to her head, around and around. She had
so much fluid in her ears that she was functionally deaf
for a couple of months. The answer was to remove her
tonsils and adenoids, drain her ears and put tubes in.
Just like that it was over. The dark circles under her
eyes went away, and she looked more rested on far less
sleep. it may not be the answer for everyone, but it was a
miraculous end to a nightmare of a year.
worth looking into
When I was about 13, I suddenly started getting sick all the
time, mostly colds, bad headaches, bronchitis, a lot of ''flu like
symptoms'' without the fevers, some asthma, and strange things
like lots of canker sores, and finally a few years later almost
constant yeast infections, and I just felt run down all the time.
I was at the doctor constantly, mostly to treat the current
problem but occasionally to try and find out what the heck was
going on. I heard everything from ''you're getting older now so
you'll have less energy'' (at 14!!) to ''could be a brain tumor''
but nothing turned up. FINALLY, some brilliant doctor suggested
food allergies. Although anaphylactic shock reactions are picked
up on skin tests (what I had) more subtle symptoms can be missed
and even the blood tests can be inconclusive, and the docs
usually don't go this route unless there are stomach issues
(which I didn't have). I cut out a gazillion things and after
about a year I was 100% healthy. I'm 34 now and still can't eat
wheat or corn, but I was able to bring some foods back.
Diagnosing this really saved my life (and my sanity). Might be
worth checking out.
I would have several concerns about this- one would be that her
immune system is suppressed. This could happen if she's taking
steroids for her asthma or from something as serious as leukemia.
Make sure your doctor does some blood testing to rule this out.
She could have a simple vitamin deficiency or be anemic from
menstruating. There are good food-based multivitamins w/minerals
you can buy - at whole foods or elephant pharmacy - the staff
there could help you choose one. Another possibility is a food
allergy - wheat or dairy allergies are not uncommon. You could
also try giving her probiotic supplements (flora found naturally
in our intestines) to strengthen her immune system.
I recommend a nutritionist who has really helped my daughter. Her name is Anasuya
Batliner. Her website is http://www.mybodywisdom.net/index.html. She's in
Berkeley, her number is 848-8439. She might have suggestions about supplements
and foods, etc. Maybe she can help identify any allergies that your daughter may
have. They can wear down the immune system.
I'd look into allergies...particularly dairy. I have many
allergies, but my allergy to dairy is the worst. I grew up with
asthma and it took me years to identify much of my asthma was
caused by an allergy to dairy.
I used to have a few chronic issues that the traditional
doctors just weren't helping either. They kept telling me I was
just fine, when I was absolutely not fine. I felt lost in a
system that didn't really care about me.
Then I went to a homeopath. He quickly discovered what was
going on. It did take a few months to get everything taken care
of, but those chronic problems went away for good. Only one of
them returns from time to time, but I know how to quickly
address it on my own now.
You need to see a naturopath or homeopath. They will be able to
address it from a different perspective. I think your doc is a
little nutso to be saying how good it is your daughter keeps
getting sick. I disagree.
As for some simple advice... kefir is a wonderful immune-
builder. Even a little a day is helpful. Better to make it
yourself (more potent/cheaper), but even the stuff in the store
I'm willing to bet your daughter has food allergies. That many
colds is not ''building the immune system''....it's a weak immune
system not being able to get strong enough to fight off germs.
You might start with dairy. ALL DAIRY! You can try Goats milk
instead of cow. Often people with dairy allergies can tolerate
Goats milk which is a much more human friendly milk than cows
milk. Try it for a few weeks at least, or longer. See if that
changes anything. Next, you can try gluten (flour products,
oats, barley, grass grains)....not easy to take kids off of
gluten, but definately do-able. There are lots of gluten free
You might want to look into some supplements that will help
build her immune system. How about a mold allergy? Any mold in
your house? Her closet? Rug? What about a dust allergy.
These are the common ones that could cause frequent cold
Also, does she get enough sleep? Kids that don't get enough
sleep (like mine) don't get a chance to recharge their battery,
so to speak, so the system is always weak.
My son's constant colds stopped when we took him off of dairy.
(at 5 yrs ) NOw at 12, he can eat dairy, though he really
doesn't like cows milk...we're so used to Goats milk (Meyenberg
brand). There are many on line sites that can help you.
Check www.abouthealth.com...you'll find lots there. Good luck.
Although my son is younger than your daughter, he had 2
difficult years in a row with catching every illness and cold
that came along. He even got pneumonia and viral asthma at one
point. We have a wonderful Naturopath that helped us throughout
the ordeal, and consistently gave us tools to help build his
immunity. Now, over a year later he is doing great! He has had
2 colds this season, but they've been minor. Also- His overall
health and energy are so much better than ever before. Anyway, I
just want to share with you the name of our Naturopath so that
you can hopefully get some immune building support for your
daughter. Her name is Dr. Tara Levy and she has offices in
Concord and Berkeley. I'm not sure what the number is for the
Berkeley office, but the Concord # is 925-602-0582
the website is taranaturalmedicine.org I believe
I can also say from experience that the power of prayer and
positive visualization are wonderful, effective tools also!
Thankful for Natuopathy
I am wondering about mold exposure. I had a problem like this
once with the head of my bed near a window that tended to sweat
in winter and had a light layer of mold on the inside frame.
Reversing the pillow to the other end of the bed was curative
in my case as was thorough clean up of mold with bleach and TSP.
Dr. Richie Shoemaker in Maryland has alot of infomation on
mold illness. He has a site called www.chronicneurotoxins.com
that might be worth a look if you think mold could possibly be
a suspect. He offers some testing kits I believe. Other sources
might be in the heating/AC system and ducts. If others in the
home are not ill try relocating the child to a different room
at least temporarily. Drafts are also suspect. Have the child
wear a stocking hat at night to keep her head warm.
If you are not comfortable with your doctor, that is the
first sign that you need a new one! I think you are right to be
concerned as constant colds is not normal. Shop around until
you find a doctor you feel confident about. That may take
awhile but will be well worth the search when you find the
If the colds are more in the winter have you considered a
humidifier? If you already use one is it sterile and clean. The
newer ones use an ultraviolet to purify the water and kill
I hope these ideas are helpful and that you get the issue
resolved. Taking a trip away from home for awhile can help rule
out environmental concerns if curative. Best Wishes
First, I don't think it's normal to have colds that frequently.
Have you checked her room for mold?
I have heard that sometimes people with deviated septums have
I have also heard that ''nasal irrigation'' can help prevent
colds -- I just started doing it a month ago, and it helps me to
breathe better. Don't know if that will solve the problem, but
it might be worth a try.
Be insistent with your pediatrician about following up on this if
you feel like this is abnormal for your child. It could be normal
or it could be a symptom of something more serious. better to be
Ask, for example, If this were a symptom of something bigger,
what would you test for first? What are the tests? If she doesn't
answer it may be that she doesn't know. Ask her how to find out.
Ask her if she feels comfortable asking another doctor in the
practice. Ask her what kind of pediatric specialist might be able
to shed some light on the situation. Ask her for a referral. Be
polite but firm.
If, in spite of your parental instincts and insistence, she
continues to brush you off, see a different doctor.
My daughter had a year with so many infections so I started doing
a thorough cleaning of her room (I mean I cleaned it every week,
but I started washing walls). I discovered a bit of mold near
Removing this seemed to help her immune system. She was also a
bit depressed that year and so I took her to a counselor which
helped us make a decision about her future school. This also
seemed to help.
Here is a good way to protect children from colds. You can watch the
video at this
Cough Etiquette video.
health professional and mom
Another thought on constant colds is school environment. You
mentioned the last 6 months (since school started) and wondered
if a new middle school could be part of the problem. I remember
we experienced a similar incidence of increased viral/bacterial
infections when transferring a 12 year old from an elementary
school of 300 to a middle school of 1000 students. The
cleanliness of the larger school was not nearly the same as the
smaller school and as a result both students and staff were
constantly ill with colds. Many students attended while ill due
to lack of childcare if they stayed home. If you started a new
school in the Fall this may be what you are experiencing. We
dealt with the problem with hand sanitizer in her backpack and
lots of hand washing and regular gargling upon any sign of sore
throat. Good luck sorting it out.
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