Pediatric Cold and Flu
It’s often frustrating and worrisome for parents to see their children suffer from colds and flus month after month. Colds and flus have similar symptoms as both are contagious viral infections of the upper respiratory tract. Colds and flus can resolve on their own; however, symptoms can linger for weeks, and sometimes complications can develop. There are limited conventional treatments for treating colds which only treat symptoms like cough and congestion, doing nothing to eliminate the offending virus. For the flu, anti-viral medications are available but they have side effects including nausea, vomiting, bronchitis, sinusitis, and ear infection. Tao of Wellness provides a host of solutions for treating colds and flus in children that boost the immune system, shorten duration and lesson symptoms. Chinese Medicine has a history of over 2000 years in treating children with therapies like acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, and pediatric tuina bodywork.
How We Successfully Treat Cold and Flu in Children
Your child can contract either a cold or a flu at any time of the year, but most colds and flus occur during the winter months from October to February. A cold is generally milder than the flu and develops slower. The course of a cold is 5 to 10 days but symptoms can linger up to 14 days or more. Common cold symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, cough, dry or sore throat, body aches, headache, watery eyes, sinus congestion, ear congestion, and low grade fever. The flu usually comes on hard and fast, and includes symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A course of flu is usually 3 to 4 days; however, complications such as encephalitis, pneumonia, croup, or seizures can occur.
When looking for solutions for your children, antibiotics aren’t appropriate because colds and flus are viral infections, not bacterial infections. In fact, studies published in medical journals estimate that up to 90% of antibiotics prescribed for colds, flus and ear infections are medically unnecessary. Parents are also advised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to avoid or use extreme caution with over-the-counter cold medicines, especially for children under 4 years of age. These medicines include nasal decongestants, anti-histamines, cough suppressants, and expectorants. This is due to their lack of safety and efficacy in treating cold and flu symptoms, and can lead to accidental overdose or harsh side effects.
Because your child’s immune system is in the process of developing, it is not unusual for a child to catch a cold week after a week. As your child grows, the immune system and its defenses grow to be stronger too, and your child will catch fewer colds and flus. At Tao of Wellness, we treat many children from infants to adolescents when they suffer from cold and flu symptoms. Although colds and flus can resolve on their own, utilizing Chinese medical therapies can speed up the recovery time, prevent complications, minimize relapse, and help children feel comfortable by easing their symptoms.
Tao of Wellness is an integrative clinic that works alongside your child’s pediatrician. For the best results, we recommend your child receive treatment at the very first onset of symptoms. You’ll begin by setting up an initial consultation where one of our doctors will review your child’s current condition in addition to your child’s medical history. Since each patient’s cold or flu experience is unique we will offer an individualized treatment plan that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapy. Pediatric tuina bodywork may also be recommended. Your doctor will then answer any questions you have before beginning your child’s treatment.
Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming Cold and Flu in Children
Customized Treatment Program
Chinese medicine is a group of holistic healing modalities that focus on healing symptoms and supporting the health of the entire body and mind. There is no singular program for every child suffering from a cold or flu. At Tao of Wellness your doctor will work with you in developing a plan that is personalized just for your child. The therapies will be performed at our clinic but we will also teach self-healing tools for your child’s daily life to support long lasting health.
There are therapeutic points all over the body that ease cold and flu symptoms. Since each child’s experience of a cold or flu is unique, each acupuncture treatment will be just as unique. Frequent concerns of parents are whether acupuncture hurts and how best to work with a child’s fear of needles. At Tao of Wellness, we have acupuncture tools developed especially for children that cause little to no sensation. If it’s still a concern please consider the other treatment options listed. Almost anywhere acupuncture is applied it fosters a very relaxing experience that stimulates the immune system into action. With regular acupuncture treatments, your child’s body will learn to rebound quicker and suffer fewer of these viral infections. Learn more about acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is an effective therapy for treating symptoms of cold and flu. We customize each herbal formula for each child since symptoms can be different. The strength of the immune system is also unique to each child, so we may also work to support immune function with herbs like astragalus or reishi mushroom. Herbs that can relieve cold and flu symptoms include honeysuckle, forsythia, schizonepetae, kudzu, and peppermint. Herbs that help to resolve cough and sinus congestion like magnolia buds and mulberry leaves are also available. Your doctor will construct the right formula for your child, in child-friendly formats including drops, pills and powders. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.
Nutrition is important for facilitating a fast recovery from cold and flu. Each patient receives nutritional guidance but a nutritional consultation goes further to understand your child’s likes, dislikes, and eating habits. With this, our doctor certified in Chinese nutrition, can construct a week-long menu from the ground up, complete with healing meals and snacks that are easy to prepare and child approved.
Here are some nutritional tips for healing colds and flus. Start by drinking plenty of fluids. Limit refined sugars because they will create acids in the body that can cause a cold to linger. Avoid dairy foods as they allow mucus to thicken or proliferate. Eliminate fatty and greasy foods which are challenging to digest and could further burden the body while the immune system works to resolve the cold or flu. Soup, porridge, and tea are easy to digest for children and should be encouraged. Your doctor will recommend specific nutritional guidelines that are right for your child’s unique condition.
Your doctor may recommend nutritional supplements as a part of your child’s cold or flu treatment regimen. Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin B complex are antioxidants that help support healthy immune function. Thymus extract may be used to help build the immune system. Your doctor will recommend a specific supplementation plan that is right for your child’s condition. Learn more about nutritional therapy.
Pediatric Cold & Flu Success Stories
No More Drugs or Monthly Colds
Kevin is 7 years old and has caught a cold almost every month. Each time he got sick, it quickly settled into his chest and caused bronchitis and asthmatic episodes for which his pediatrician prescribed breathing treatments and steroid medications. His mother was concerned about having him use steroid medications so often. Kevin had to take many days off from school, which made him feel depressed.
He came to Tao of Wellness and, after his consultation, we initially focused on treating a lingering cough from his most recent cold. Kevin was given acupuncture on his back, neck, arms and legs. Kevin was also given a custom Chinese herbal formula in tincture form that included pinellia, poria, tangerine peel, and apricot kernel to reduce bronchial inflammation, cough, and congestion. Kevin’s nutritional recommendations to improve lung function and clear out excessive mucus included avoiding sugar, dairy, and wheat while recommending broccoli, cauliflower, apples, pears, Asian pears, and soups. After one treatment his cough went away and he no longer needed his steroidal medication or breathing treatment.
We then advised his mother to bring Kevin in at the first sign of his next cold. Kevin came in a few weeks later with a sore throat and a mild cough. We began the treatments immediately. Within the week, his cold resolved and did not turn into bronchitis or lead to asthma. Over the next 6 months, Kevin got only two cold, and his mother brought him in at the first sign. Each time his symptoms went away quicker.
Recurrent Ear Infections Gone
Dylan is 13 months old. Three months ago, he started getting recurring colds that always turned into ear infections. He was put on antibiotics each time by his pediatrician. When his mother brought him to our clinic, Dylan still had symptoms of an ear infection even after his recent antibiotic treatment. Dylan was fussy and irritable. His mother was also frustrated that his ear infection had been difficult to manage and slow to heal. After his initial evaluation, Dylan was given a custom treatment plan. His pediatric acupuncture involved momentary stimulation of points on his neck, arms, and legs. Dylan received herbal drops for his ears that included antibacterial and antiviral herbs. He also received oral drops to reduce inflammation and improve immune function. Dylan’s nutritional recommendations included avoiding sugars, fruit juice, cow dairy, and wheat while focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soups, and easy-to-digest protein like chicken, turkey, and fish. After his first week of treatment, Dylan’s ear looked much better with less swelling and redness, and he was no longer fussy and irritable. Over the next three months Dylan continued his treatment and successfully prevented further colds and ear infections from returning. As a management plan for Dylan’s future, we advised his mother to bring him in when she notices the first sign of a cold.
Natural Healthcare for Cold and Flu
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address pediatric colds and flus. We strive to support your children in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for their health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.