Monday, July 19, 2010

Immunity in children -- that illusion...that mirage

How many people have told you that it's inevitable? That's the way they do it...that's how they're made etc etc every time your toddler falls ill.

I'm sick of it. I've been told by most people, fellow parents, knowledgeable elders, and my paediatrician that he's going to be falling ill constantly till the age of five!! FIVE??!! I've got a loooong way to go. And meanwhile one must keep mopping up the result of the sniffles.

I'm tired of Mr. Runny Nose, who also has a chest congestion most of the time. Will vomit out phlegm and food very regularly during such episodes. Of course, I feel really sad for him and in fact start crying sometimes when I think how difficult it must be for him to bring up the phlegm and get it out of his system. He looks horrified after he vomits each time and it takes a lot of calming and soothing to actually get him to stop shaking from the shock of the process.

When all of the scientific the world put can concoct a thousand different vaccines, why can't they give children a shot at birth to just boom up their immunity? Wouldn't it be logical that one shot that gives a child's body some super-duper immunity is way better than giving a shot each for one strain of Hepatitis, or pneumococcal fever etc. But then, why would pharma companies develop such a winner, right? It would just kill the vaccine industry.

And i HATE it when the paediatrician tells me that till he develops good immunity, his tummy's going to pack up every time he goes nibbling on his toys and random things he picks off the floor. How in the world does one prevent that? And then when I try to be all clean and wash his toys etc, people laugh in my face and say "You must let him play in the dirt. It builds immunity" Hello?!!! I know, but then when he fall sick after that, who's going to sit there and nurse him back to health?

Yes, don't over-protect them. Let them be, is one line of argument that I'm willing to take considering in the long run it may help the child actually develop a stronger immunity. But if it's anyway going to take five years to get there, what do you do in between?

And, if like another line of argument goes, you end up pumping them with antibiotics each time they fall sick, they become immune to that strain of antibiotics, isn't it, say by when they are 15 or 20?

If you opt for an alternate system of medicine, like homeopathy, the whole world will swoop down upon you and tell you, hand son the hip and fingers pointing accusingly at you, that you're feeding them with things that are not "scientifically sound", "placebos" etc.

So what does one do? "Brace the child, fortify him with fruits, vegetables that will build up his immunity" is easier said than done. And that's the other half of the battle, right?
It's so damn frustrating to see your child sick. It negates your very existence.


GNSD said...

Oh i am sorry.. Hugs.. I know the feeling.> We live in Chicago.. which by definition is cold.. to negative temperatures four months of a year.. and brutal for two more... SO i have seen my share of cold, sniffles, cough and the likes.
We did try homepathy... and it helped our daughter. She did get better.. so for people who lecture... listen with a smile, acknowledge.. and move on.. easier said than done!
For the immunity part, I have kind of said that to myself... that's how it will be.. she gets better, goes to school, some other kid has it.. and she will fall sick once more.. so except pupmping vitamin C into her.. there is not much I can do.. I just try to ease it up for her. I am very very very scated of giving her antibiotics.. the side effects are too many to ignore.
There is no right path.. just do what you feel is right for the kid. That's it! The more you listen to others, the more judges you will feel.. and more frustrated.. Not that I know anything about it ;-)

Sonzie said...

Dear Forever Mother, I quite understand your frustrations. I'm sailing in a similar boat and there's no shore in sight, or so it seems. I try to keep my wits about by going in a standby mode and letting the storm blow over. In fact I'd been at home all through the weekend and Monday and Tuesday tending to my son aged 2 yrs and 9 mts. Just give the kid what he likes best to eat. Try to reschedule his daily activities to ensure he dosnt eat right before sleeping off as it increases chances of vomiting. I wish you all the patience and luck! Sonal

nut said...

cannot agree more..

Vatssla said...

Ditto! Have gone through the same things/feelings... Wish u strength to get thru the tough times.

Forever mother said...

Hi guys really nice of all of you -- Garima, Sonal, Nut and Vatssla --to share your experiences and offer your wishes. I NEED THEM!!
Now that he's onto that raking cough phase it's difficult to hear him. He's being fairly good person and drinking all warm concoctions (touch wood)i offer him, yet it wont let go of him :-(
But as you all say, and we must agree, it has to happen.
Thanks again for the much needed empathy. And DAMN BANGALORE WEATHER.
It's making everyone sick!