Visit Dr. Wouter Havinga's sites:
Life Is Wonderful Make It Happen / ISEE Coaching / Tips 4 Docs 

Hints and tips

Pacifiers (dummies) increase the risk for ear infections. If at all used then restrict them to the moments when the child is falling asleep. Prolonged pacifier use seems to be related to oral Candida and is associated with an increase of bacteria in the mouth that cause caries (dental plaque) (1).

Medical literature shows that having coughs and colds is good for the little one, particularly at an early age (2). It is common sense, of course, to have the symptoms checked by your doctor when you are concerned, and particularly if the fever lasts longer than two days.

Breast-feeding is the best way to start nutrition in early life. It helps to support the development of a healthy ecosystem in the body. The benefits of breast-feeding are celebrated in many books and websites.

Eating healthy food from an early age is important. Taking in good food helps to maintain a healthy ecosystem in the gut. Microflora are responsible for the development of the gut and maturation towards a healthy, balanced immune system. This recognition has now promoted the development of probiotic therapy in contrast to antibiotic medication. In particular, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are known to help in the case of diarrhea, eczema, coughs and colds, and indeed in the prevention of cancer (3,4).

Bacteria have a positive influence on our immune system. Super-clean modern lifestyles seem to be making people more prone to diseases such as asthma or diabetes. In affluent countries there is a marked increase in these diseases. It is also possible that interfering (by using vaccines and antibiotics) with the bacteria that live in or on your body can have a negative influence on your health. In medical terminology, we speak of commensal flora. The gut (the intestinal tract) is occupied by as many as 500 different microbial species. The quantity of bacteria is enormous; one third of the dry weight of faeces consists of bacteria! In fact, there are ten times more microbes in and on our body than there are body cells. These microbes help to maintain health and do not make us ill. For example, they produce essential vitamins, help to break down some undigested remains of food, and neutralise some potentially harmful by-products of food. It is so crowded in the gut that other possibly hostile bacteria cannot find a place to start an illness. In other words, the commensal flora protect us from infection. However, bacteria that could make a person ill have also been shown to protect against illness. Clostridium difficile can cause a serious form of diarrhea, but people who have these bacteria in the gut seem to be protected against it (5).

With this in mind, we can see that the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and the production of increasing numbers of antibacterial vaccines is a cause for concern. The use of antibiotics for earache, sinusitis, simple coughs and colds has already been shown to be unnecessary. Often these symptoms are caused by viruses which are not susceptible to antibiotics. Only bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics, and the latter can cause problems by making bacteria resistant to them. Antibiotics are also causing problems in the environment, because they are excreted in the faeces and urine and so end up outside the body. There are instances however, when antibiotics are necessary, so do not discard them outright!

It is important to care for the fever process. As previously discussed, fever is of great importance. Unfortunately fever-phobia is still promoted by many doctors and self- help books. Fever is important in clearing a virus from the body. Viruses tend to disintegrate under the pressure of a raised temperature. The body produces substances during a fever that help to deal with the infection and aid the body in adjusting to its new situation.

To stay healthy, reduce the use of paracetamol (acetaminophen). Paracetamol seems to be related to the development of asthma. People who use it more tend to have more severe asthma (5). Note also that paracetamol is a highly toxic substance. Every year it is the cause of several deaths from accidental overdose. This can occur very quickly, even when taking slightly more than the advised maximum dose, and can cause irreparable damage to the liver. We can argue that paracetamol use should be avoided if we aim to promote a healthy response of the immune system. Paracetamol impairs the immune response because it suppresses the inflammation reaction, like other antipyretics such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Actually, the body needs this inflammation in order to clear an infection. It is worth using natural remedies in cases of general viral illness, because they support the illness and allow the body's own healing process to resolve the problem.

Relevant literature:

Children are from heaven John Gray. ISBN 0 09 182616 0

What keeps people healthy? The current state of discussion and the relevance of Antonovsky's salutogenetic model of health Published by the Federal Centre for Health education in Cologne. Translated from the German; Was erhalt Menschen gesund? Antonovskys Modell der Salutogenese-Diskussionsstand und Stellenwert. Bundeszentrale fur gesundheidliche aufklarung (BZgA) Koln, 1998 ISBN 3-933191-10-6

A guide to child health M Glöckler and W Goebel, Floris Books 1990. Translated from the German Kindersprechstunde: ein Medizinisch-pädagogischer Ratgeber: Erkrankungen, Bedingungen gesunder Entwicklung, Erziehung als Therapie.

  1. Niemela M, Pihakari O, Pokka T, Uhari M, Uhari M. Pacifier as risk factor for acute otitis media; a randomized, controlled trial of parental counselling. Pediatrics 2000;106:483-488
  2. Ball TM, Castro-Rodiriguez JA, Griffith KA, Holberg CJ, Martinez FD, Wright AL. Siblings, day-care attendance, and the risk of asthma and wheezing during childhood. N Engl J Med 2000;343:538-43
  3. Gionchetti P, Campieri M. Probiotic therapy. Research and Clinical Forums 2000;22:111-116
  4. Friedrich MJ. A bit of culture for children: probiotics may improve health and fight disease. JAMA 2000;284:1365-1366
  5. Shim JK, Johnson S, Samore MH, Bliss DZ, Gerding DN. Primary symptomless colonisation by Clostridium difficile and decreased risk of subsequent diarrhoea. Lancet 1998;351:633-36
  6. Shaheen SO, Sterne JA, Songhurst CE, Burney PG. Frequent paracetamol use and asthma in adults. Thorax 2000;55:266-70.

Please help keep "Every Day Medicine / Is Your Body a Mystery" free by using
the Donate link below.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. How potentized remedies work

  3. Breathing and circulation

  4. Asthma symptoms explained

  5. The digestive system

  6. The nervous system  

  7. How alcohol affects the nervous system and liver

  8. How opiates act like a dam

  9. Inflammation and infection

  10. Fever

  11. The common cold

  12. Earache

  13. Hints and tips