You may wonder where all of this is coming from. A local area school system has already closed due to illness, and we are less than 1 month into the school year. It's insane. I know that I am not the only 30-something out there who is saying "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON HERE?" Can you ever remember having the flu in the summer? Before we write this off to this new scary swine flu, it is important to understand that the regular seasonal flu is also circulating and while much is reported about all of these swine flu cases, few of them have actually been confirmed as swine flu as the cases can only be confirmed by the CDC. They are rather assumed or suspected to be H1N1. Not confirmed. Nevertheless, kids are super sickly these days. I could go ON & ON about all of the ailments--autism, ADHD, asthma, allergies, eczema, reflux, diabetes, chronic ear infections...etc.
It is so strange to me that parents just accept that children are sick all of the time. Perhaps this phenomenon is like the slow boiling of a frog. Gradually all of these illnesses and issues have overtaken our children, and it just seems status quo to us now. Personally, I would like to stand up and scream WAKE UP!! HELLO! THIS IS NOT NORMAL! Sorry to be cliche here, but if you aren't freaking out, you aren't paying attention.
Think back for a moment on your childhood...what did you eat almost everyday? What kind of sandwich did you take to school? I bet 99% of you just thought peanutbutter & jelly. It was a staple of our childhood, yet today many schools ban peanutbutter like a controlled substance because so many children are deathly allergic.
What about surgeries or chronic illnesses as a child? I can remember maybe 1 friend who had chronic asthma, but that was the exception, rather than the rule. Today's kids are plagued with asthma, many taking daily oral steroids, inhalers, & allergy meds. Other children have crazy food allergies--my kids included, or chronic ear infections--how many babies do you know with ear tubes?; and let's not forget reflux. When we were babies, infants would spit up, but most were considered happy spitters. I remember the first time I actually heard of 'reflux' and fundoplication as it applied to a baby. It was in 1998, as a college student and I vividly remember thinking "That's weird." I've never heard of a baby having something like that". And it seemed so serious. Well flash-forward 10 years and it is INCREDIBLY common. In fact, all 3 of my babies had violent reflux and surgery was recommended for Kyan. THANK GOD I listened to my instinct at least about that. But, we still went through 7 different formulas & as many medicines, not to mention every kind of bottle made by mankind in hopes of somehow reducing the misery. Now, let's use our thinking caps here. 3 babies, premature or not, should not be that sick. Our doctors' recommendations were allopathic medicine or surgery only. Unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed and under educated at the time, that I did not know that the likely problem was very basic food allergy. So 2 years went by of us giving them foods that they did not need. The boys' reflux became minor enough to take them off meds, but Kynsie could not be weaned from Prevacid no matter what we did. Only once we removed gluten (wheat protein) from her diet as a treatment for Autism, did her reflux miraculously go away never to return. Now, I am just a mom with a college degree, and call me crazy, but I doubt very seriously that my baby is the only child in America who suffered needlessly from reflux as a result of food allergies. Yet pediatricians and gastro docs rarely mention this possibility. Instead they offer medicine, different formula and/or surgery. Did you know that if you are nursing, often an elimination diet for mom can reduce reflux/allergy issues for baby? Had I known this, I would have re-lactated and given it a go. OR--you can make your own baby formula to ensure that you control exactly what goes into baby's body...thus reducing the risk of that rocket fuel landing in your baby's tummy.
And then there is all of the eczema. I had never even heard of eczema until college and now a HUGE percent of my customer's babies have eczema. WHY? Why is eczema so common? Most doctors offer a steroid cream, special bathing (soap-free) instructions, and let it go. Kids continue to suffer and parents try hard to help them without all of the necessary tools. Did you know that eczema is very often indication of food allergy or sensitivity? Here's the crazy part. That sensitivity may not always show up on scratch or blood tests. Sometimes as parents you just have to do a little research of your own. For my kids, Kynsie's eczema completely resolved with removing gluten--which she tests as allergic to. Braylen on the other hand still had eczema even once we removed the items he tested as allergic to. Once we removed the carpet in his room & the playroom, his eczema got better, but the final clincher was removing corn from his diet. Incidentally he doesn't test even sensitive to corn, but I challenged this recently by giving him a corn cereal and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. Go figure. Science isn't perfect.
Autism now affects 1 in 100 children (as of 2007--most recent data). Most experts expect the next data to indicate the numbers at closer to 1 in 53. ADHD diagnoses are through the roof. Asthma, Diabetes, & Food allergies are all on the rise for children.
My question is WHY?
What is happening now that was not happening 20 years ago?