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For Many Kids, Back to School Means Back to the Doctor. Here’s How Parents Can Help

For Many Kids, Back to School Means Back to the Doctor. Here’s How Parents Can Help

school-bus-200-300With Halloween two weeks behind us and Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, most school-age children are back in the classroom and (hopefully) have adapted to the fall routine. For some kids, though, the fall routine includes lots of sick days and doctor visits.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s a good reason for this. “Schools inherently foster the transmission of infections from person to person because they are a group setting in which people are in close contact and share supplies and equipment.”

The CDC also provides some statistics that puts this issue in perspective: “Infectious diseases account for millions of school days lost each year for kindergarten through 12th-grade public school students in the United States:

  • 40% of children aged 5–17 years missed 3 or more school days in the past year because of illness or injury.
  • Nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to colds alone.
  • 38 million school days are lost each year due to the influenza virus.”

Naturally, schoolchildren aren’t the only ones who are affected when even common illnesses are passed from child-to-child in the classroom environment. Those same illnesses (or the microorganisms that cause them) ride home with kids on the bus or in the neighborhood carpool. And when they do, the whole family is at risk. Plus, parents are left to cope with the inconveniences and costs that come with sick days and doctor visits.

Communicable diseases that spike at the beginning of the school year are numerous and include the common cold (aka rhinovirus), the flu, strep throat, Fifth disease (a viral infection caused by the parvovirus), pinkeye, whooping cough (aka pertussis), mono, chicken pox, meningitis, lice, scabies, pinworm, ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot.

Some areas of the country are also concerned with two other viral infections that thrive in crowded areas such as schools. According to Indiana news station, “The first is a viral infection called ‘hand, foot and mouth disease.’ ”

Noted pediatrician Dr. Michael McKenna from the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health says in regard to hand, foot, and mouth disease, “The rash looks ugly, kids feel uncomfortable, and they can have fevers. The one concern is if they have so many ulcers in their mouth that they refuse to eat or drink, that they can become dehydrated. This year, it’s much more prominent and the rash is much more severe.”

The article continues: “Doctors are also seeing many more cases of shigellosis, a bacterial infection spread when people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. It can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.”

Children aren’t the only ones at risk for transmittable infections and diseases in and around the classroom—teachers and administrators are also susceptible to many viruses and bacterial infections, which range from simply annoying to very serious. In fact, many teachers quickly get sick upon the arrival of a new school year. For these people, it is important to practice prevention. Minimize contact with students, urge them to cough and sneeze into their elbow, and send them to the nurse if they look as if they may be coming down with something.

So else can parents do to try to keep their kids healthy and at school during the fall and winter months? Here are a few thoughts we’d like to share:

  • Teach your children good hand-washing habits that follow them from home to school and be sure that they wash their hands when they return from school in the afternoon.
  • Explain to your children the importance of keeping their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth throughout the school day and discourage them from sharing cups, utensils, etc.
  • Encourage your children to eat a healthy, balanced diet that will support their immune system.
  • Make sure your children get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Spending time outside and away from crowded, enclosed areas can help reduce the likelihood of sickness.
  • Set a reasonable bedtime for your children and stick to it. Not only are well-rested kids likely to perform better at school, they’re also more likely to stay healthy.
  • If your children are sick, please keep them home until they are well. This is for the benefit of classmates and teachers, but it’s also for the benefit of your own kids. Children who have not yet completely recovered and return to school to early may be more likely to pick up additional illnesses in the classroom.
Have a Cold? Top Ten Tips for Getting Better Faster

Have a Cold? Top Ten Tips for Getting Better Faster

Oh No! Sick Man Checking for a FeverThe common cold: Even though Americans have over a billion colds per year, there’s nothing “common” about it when you’ve got one. The sneezing, the scratchy throat, the runny nose, the nasal congestion, and the watery eyes can make your life miserable. Even though most colds go away within three to seven days, there are steps you can take to boost your body’s immune system and help get rid of your cold sooner than that. Read on for our “Top 10 Tips” on getting over your cold quickly, consolidated from healthcare experts all over the world.

  1. First, make sure you’ve really got a cold. The symptoms listed above are those of the common cold, which is a disease of the upper respiratory tract caused by a number of different viruses. But if these symptoms are accompanied by more severe ones such as muscle aches, high fever, chills, headache, and fatigue, chances may be that it’s not a cold at all, but the flu instead. This is important to find out, because if you have a serious case of the flu, you may need to see a doctor and take an antiviral medication like Tamiflu, which can shorten the length of the outbreak. However, if you’ve got a cold, not only will the antiviral medication be ineffective, it can even weaken your immune system in the long run.
  2. Don’t “tough it out”—stay at home and get some rest. Going to work will only make your cold last longer, and you can expose all your coworkers to the virus as well. So take a few days off and give your body the rest it needs to recover and heal faster.
  3. Drink lots and lots of liquids, including—yes, really—chicken soup. Your mother’s advice to drink lots of fluids was correct, as it turns out. Research has shown that drinking warm fluids helps to relieve the most common cold symptoms and also loosens sinus secretions that cause a buildup of mucus. Hot tea or broth is a good choice, as is coffee, which has been shown to increase alertness in people with colds. And interestingly enough, the centuries-old prescription to “Have a nice bowl of chicken soup.” is also correct—it has been shown to be more hydrating and thus more beneficial than other liquids.
  4. Gargle with salt water. Gargling with 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of water can help to relieve your sore or scratchy throat.
  5. Use over-the-counter medications (very selectively) to deal with runny nose and coughs. A pharmacy has reliable saline nose drops or sprays and cough syrups that can help to make these cold symptoms more bearable, although they won’t make the cold go away any faster.
  6. Steam the cold away. If you have access to a steam bath, take one—or many. If you don’t, you can improvise by leaning your head over a bowl of hot water or by taking a long, steamy shower. Inhaling warm, moist air helps to loosen and thin out mucus.
  7. Boost your immune system with supplements. Research has shown that taking zinc supplements during the first couple of days may help shorten the duration of your cold and perhaps reduce its severity. But don’t take zinc on an empty stomach, and don’t use intranasal zinc nose drops or sprays; the FDA has warned that they can permanently impair your sense of smell. Vitamin C can also help to shorten colds, whether in supplement form or in fruits and vegetables. Echinacea, elderberry syrup, and raw honey have also been shown to shorten colds.
  8. Avoid smoke and polluted air. Anything that affects your ability to breathe properly is going to extend your cold.
  9. Don’t reinfect yourself or others. Practice “safe sneezing and coughing” by covering your nose and mouth and carefully discarding any tissues you use. Wash your hands often and consider using hand sanitizers to keep from infecting family, friends, coworkers, and yes, even yourself. If you contracted the cold at work and others there still have their colds, avoid the place for a few days if you can until people get better.
  1. Use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation. Used in moderation, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen can all help relieve minor bodily aches that may accompany your cold, but they also act as anti-inflammatories and can reduce a fever and speed up the healing process.
Are We Sitting Ourselves to Death?

Are We Sitting Ourselves to Death?

College students listening to a university lectureWhether we like to admit it or not, the technology in our lives—and the fact that we use much of it while sitting down—is contributing to a growing list of health problems in our society. Those who sit at a desk all day or sit behind the wheel of a car or truck with little or no exercise are at increased risk for a number of chronic health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have such a sedentary lifestyle are in danger of things like “obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.”

One study showed that those who spend a large amount of time in front of a television or other forms of screen entertainment had a roughly 50% greater risk of death from any source. It’s not really difficult to imagine why this might be the case. Greater body weight combined with lower strength and stamina and reduced balance and flexibility means less agility and durability. This in turn raises the likelihood of more accidents or injuries. The same study showed a 125% greater risk of problems from cardiovascular disease. Care was taken to separate the risk of sitting from that of high blood pressure. Those who had the same high blood pressure, but who sat less, had fewer incidents of health problems.

WebMD has added cancer to the list of ailments for which excessive sitting may be a risk factor. One Australian study of 63,000 older adult men showed that men who sat for more than 4 hours a day were more likely to have a serious, chronic illness than those who sat for less than 4 hours per day. Above 6 hours per day, men were at significantly greater risk of diabetes. Those who regularly sat more than 8 hours a day had the highest level of health risk.

Yet another study showed that back pain strikes 80% of all adults at some time in their life. A significant number of these people suffer because they sit too much. Their core muscles lose conditioning and their waistline becomes a burden that causes the back muscles to do more work to make up for soft abdominals. Weak muscles put the body at risk even during simple tasks. With a more sedentary lifestyle, it becomes easier and easier to overdo the reaching, the lifting or other simple physical work that occurs during any typical day.

There’s another reason that movement is particularly important when it comes to maintaining good spinal health. If the spine is kept motionless, circulation is reduced and it cannot get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy or to heal itself.

If you already have back pain, seeing a chiropractor is a big step in the right direction. A chiropractor can help to realign your vertebrae and, in many cases, an adjustment can provide immediate relief. However, even world-class chiropractic care is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet and lots of exercise. The doctor can’t do all the work for you.

So what can you do? The Mayo Clinic recommends finding more excuses to move around throughout the day, instead of saving it up for a trip to the gym. Waiting until the end of the day to push your body at the gym for 30 minutes is a bit like saving your meals to the end of the month and eating 90 platefuls all at once. You need to spread your movement throughout the day so your body can stay in top condition.

Starve a Cold and Feed a Fever

Starve a Cold and Feed a Fever

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Most of us have probably heard the old adage “starve a cold and feed a fever” (with some believing that it’s the other way around…), but does this saying hold up in the face of scientific research?  The short answer is “no.”  The best thing you can do is probably to feed both.

We would all like to believe there’s some easy way of reducing the length or severity of our suffering as we sniffle and cough our way through the aches, pains and lack of energy brought on by a cold or flu.  However, there are not really very many things that can be done about it, apart from getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids.  But what role does eating-or not eating-actually play?

There was one study in 2002 performed by Dutch researchers and published in the journal Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology that tested the validity of the concept.  They found that fasting was better at fighting the infections that caused fevers, and eating a meal better fought off viruses associated with colds.  However, it used a very small sample of subjects and its results were not reproducible in further studies.

Most people do not feel particularly hungry when they are sick with a cold or fever anyway, as the body naturally regulates the amount of food we eat when ill.  Certainly, eating a large heavy meal will use some reserves of energy that would be better used in fighting off pathogens.  However, keeping a steady stream of nutrients flowing through your system is a good idea and provides your body with the tools it needs to kill invading viruses.

Concentrate on getting nutrient- and antioxidant-rich foods in your diet as best you can, along with plenty of sugar-free fluids.  Many people drink a lot of juice, thinking it will provide them with vitamin C, but you would be better off eating strawberries or red peppers (both of which are high in vitamin C) or taking a supplement, as juice comes with a lot of sugar.  Sugar has been proven to suppress the immune system, which is exactly the opposite of what you need when you are ill.

Warm broths are also excellent when you are sick.  The prescription of chicken soup for upper respiratory symptoms has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks, and the practice was adopted by the Jewish physician and philosopher Maimonides.  There’s a reason your mother brought you chicken soup when you had a cold or flu.  Far from being an old wives’ tale, a study performed by Dr. Stephen Rennard from the University of Nebraska Medical Center showed that chicken soup inhibited the movement of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in the body so they could not travel to the upper respiratory area and induce inflammation.

Chicken soup is only effective as a treatment if it is prepared using both chicken and a variety of vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips and parsley (and then filtered).  Whatever its activity against pathogens, at the very least it provides your body with plenty of nutrients and warm liquids that will help get you feeling well again soon.

What You Need to Know About Depression – Oblander Chiropractic

What You Need to Know About Depression – Oblander Chiropractic

I was once a person with depression. Not “just” the baby blues or a few months of feeling down and out – I had all out don’t-want-to-live anymore depression for about 5 years.

It is surviving those five years of my life that has been a major contributor to my passion to help others have health and wellness in their lives.

The dictionary defines depression as: A condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

My personal definition of depression is pain, anguish, torture, agony, grief, melancholy, and suffering, etc. which overshadows the life of an individual who has every reason to feel otherwise. Depression is the sponge that robs life of its joy and satisfaction while wreaking havoc with relationships, families, and the life of the depressed individual.

Most people think that depression is a mental illness – in the medical books that is how it is defined but I can tell you from personal experience that depression affects every area of health: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. I can also tell you that for each of those headline-grabbing stories about those with “mental illnesses” gone haywire, there are millions of depression victims suffering silently who are of no danger to anyone but possibly themselves. Those millions only want to be well again.

My own experience with depression included allopathic (MD’s) treatment and alternative treatment.

My first experience was with MD’s. MD’s sought to mask my symptoms with medications. The egos of the doctors who treated me did not allow me, as the patient, to be a viable participant in my own treatment. Unfortunately, patients with mental illnesses are often judged incapable by health professionals of being able to have clear, coherent thoughts. My doctors may have thought I was “crazy” but even now – these many years later I believe that I knew my body and what my body was experiencing better than anybody and that I should have been considered an essential participant in my treatment. However, the issues I had with allopathic treatment went deeper than that. I have always believed in addressing the source of a problem. Therefore, I wanted to get to the root of what was causing my depression. Getting to the root of a health issue is not something a standard MD does. A standard MD looks at symptoms, makes a diagnosis, and whips out the prescription tablet. For me, masking symptoms was not an adequate solution.

My second experience was with chiropractors. They tested my blood, found that I was suffering from severe adrenal fatigue and that I was in need of other nutritional components. They recommended the appropriate herbal remedies. From there, they worked with me to get to the root of the other physical ailments that I was suffering from – believing that all of the ailments I was suffering from were related. Finally, they encouraged me to do stretching exercises, deep breathing, and to incorporate inspirational books and literature into my life on a daily basis. Their treatment included regular adjustments to make sure that my nervous system (and therefore my entire body) was working as optimally as it could.

Eventually, we were able to find that my depression was directly related to my 24/7 migraines. I had been suffering from migraines for almost 13 years by the time I first received chiropractic treatment. The chiropractors who treated me helped me find the cause of my headaches and then eliminate them. Once my pain levels were significantly reduced – my depression left.

The chiropractic treatment and nutritional therapy that I received was not a “magic pill” and my depression and migraine headaches were not remedied overnight. However, they were eliminated and, for me, finding  and removing the cause was a much better solution than masking symptoms for the rest of my life.

As a former sufferer of depression, I can tell you what depression was and what it wasn’t and what I have since seen in common among those I know who suffer with depression.

Depression, for me, was not a complete withdrawal from life. It was also not a choice. I could not choose to be better just because I wanted to be. Although learning to have a more positive mindset helped – it too was insufficient.  What depression was was the loss of the emotional coordination I had once had. I was no longer able to navigate the normal ups and downs of life with the same tenacity and flexibility I had once possessed. It was not unlike losing muscle control in a hand or a limb but in this case it was my emotional state that lost its coordination and control.

I also can tell you that just like any victim of an accident or illness – my need for love and support did not go away – instead, it became even more important.

There are several components that I believe link themselves to depression:

Inadequate Nutrition – I believe that the absence of adequate nutrition can be a huge contributor to depression. Good whole food supplements are wonderful but a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is not just important to a healthy body – it is also important to healthy emotions.

  1. Health Issues – Physical health that struggles can and usually will affect emotional health. Again, what we eat is so important and so is exercise. Those endorphins that help us feel better when we do not have depression also help us feel better when we do. Chemical imbalance is a common culprit in depression. (Sometimes chemical imbalances can be caused by prescription drugs.)
  2. Lack of Proper Self-care – How we take care of ourselves and the expectations we place on ourselves is huge. I was personally guilty of too often burning the candlestick at both ends. I see many sufferers of depression who are guilty of the same thing. Our bodies are amazing in their ability to adapt and compensate. For those who push the limits relentlessly there often comes a time when their body decides to give them a warning that they need to slow down and take life a little easier. Depression is often that warning.
  3. Negative Self-talk – We all talk to ourselves. We all have self expectations. It is common for those who suffer from depression to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and to be especially hard on and/or demanding of themselves. We all need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to our best friend or sweetheart. It is important that we love ourselves.
  4. Lack of Spirituality – Spirituality or the ability to look to a higher source of power to assist us in life is incredibly important. When we believe that we can only rely upon ourselves or that it is us against the world – just that thought alone can be depressing. I found that spending time each day with inspirational literature and working to build my personal spirituality helped me immensely.
  5. Lack of Faith – The faith I am talking about here includes faith in ourselves, in our fellow man and in our creator. Believing in ourselves and in our ability to change, to improve and to create a meaningful life is incredibly important. Believing that we can heal and that life can improve is critical.

 I remember once having a conversation with a woman regarding my depression. Frustrated with my inability to function in a healthy and normal way, she accused me of choosing to be depressed. I can tell you that no one “chooses” to be depressed. However, I do believe that our lifestyle choices can greatly influence our propensity for depression. I also believe that our lifestyle and attitude choices greatly influence the type of health we will enjoy and how we will age. It would be wonderful if depression could become a thing of the past. In the meantime, I hope we will all do what we can to minimize its likelihood and to help those who are suffering!

Why the Concern About Infant Vaccination? Oblander Chiropractic

Why the Concern About Infant Vaccination? Oblander Chiropractic

I just had to share this article on Infant Vaccinations. The article comes from the Herbal Legacy website and is one of their most recent newsletter postings. In regards to vaccinations, there are numerous voices both pro and con which can make the cutting through the arguments and finding good information very difficult. In addition to this article, please keep in mind that a child’s nervous system is not fully developed until about the age of 24 months. Chiropractors are all about obtaining health by natural means but they are also about doing no harm. Within a few years, I suspect that true unbiased studies will back what chiropractors have supported all along…that vaccines have their place and time but they should not be a part of an infant’s “wellness” care. Please enjoy!:

Sponsored by The School of Natural Healing & Christopher Publications

June 6, 2012
Infant Vaccinations  -David Christopher MH

We all want to protect babies from disease! How this is accomplished is the dividing factor. We are all exposed to the modern medicine model, in school, through the media, from relatives, and even from churches. Seldom are the alternative voices heard. Let me first say that I believe exposing a healthy person to small amounts of disease is a good idea, it strengthens and prepares the immune system for possible outbreaks. I do not believe the current medical model does this safely or effectively.

We are born with immunity to many diseases, because of our species, population and individual environments. Diseases that might affect us are negated through passive immunity received through the placenta and then from breast milk. Our own immune system starts to develop after a few months, and then starts developing memory at six months and can stop relying on passive immunity from mother’s milk at weaning “around eighteen months”. This is common knowledge acquired in any anatomy text.
My main concern with vaccines is why do they inject them into babies? There is no immune memory till the child’s immune system develops in the time frame of 6 months to 18 months! No benefit, thousands of casualties. I am personally contacted by many women with children who were perfectly normal until these children received vaccines.
We can safely become immune to many diseases by being healthy and interacting in society. We gain this immunity by exposure to our first line of defense, the mucus lining our skin, especially in orifices. This barrier traps invaders exposing them to phagocyte immune cells which engulf them and then alert T-cells and B-cells which target and destroy all invaders. Then memory cells keep us ready for secondary assaults thus creating immunity. This is a lifetime protection.
Vaccines are injected past our natural defenses, and rarely offer immunity for more than a few years. Even though blood work shows active anti-bodies, it is no guarantee against invasion. As an example, many universities have strict admittance requirements to be fully vaccinated. Even with 100% compliance they have experienced disease epidemics in these “protected populations”, with fully vaccinated individuals, coming down with the disease.
I implore everyone to hear both sides of this issue before ever accepting another vaccination. The best alternative treaties on this subject is “Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective” by Neil Miller. This easy read is a fully documented text and is available at Christopher Publications.

David Christopher is a Master Herbalist and the director of The School of Natural Healing. He also co-hosts the popular radio show “A Healthier You” and is a popular international teacher and lecturer. 

If Health is Feeling Well…Then What About What We Don’t Feel?

If Health is Feeling Well…Then What About What We Don’t Feel?


I was meeting with a client the other day. She was concerned about the future of her health. This particular client is overweight and has a family history of heart disease that seems to reveal itself in her family members at very young ages.  In my opinion, her concern is justified and she is smart to be making the effort to lose weight and learn healthier lifestyle habits.

But what is health? Is it just the absence of sickness? Personally, I think that defining health as feeling well is absurd. – especially given the fact that we cannot “feel” 80% of what is going on in our bodies. Ever known someone who has been diagnosed with a serious health issue such as cancer that felt fine prior to their diagnosis? I think we all have. Think about it…if we could feel everything happening in our bodies that contribute to eventual ill health such as arterial blockages, cancer, kidney stones, Alzheimer’s, etc. wouldn’t the world we live in look a lot different? Wouldn’t our concerns about developing health issues be a mute point – after all, we would “feel” whatever we needed to feel before it got out of hand.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, health is a state of optimum physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. In other words, health is not how you feel but rather, if you are physically, mentally and socially functioning at your optimum potential.

I like that definition because it addresses whole health and the fact that we cannot “feel” so much of what is going on with our physical health.  I also like the fact that it embraces health from a more rounded perspective. We are the sum total of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well being.  In truth, we cannot ignore any aspect of our health without impacting the rest.

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