Ask Katherine: Now that my kids are back in school, their allergies are going crazy. Is it a seasonal thing or do you think it’s something else?
Well, the kids have been in school for a few weeks now… no more summer frolicking at the pool, beach and summer camps. For those with children, it’s all about the daily structure of school: carpooling, school lunches, after school activities and sports, and homework.
This time of year, late summer and early fall, is also the height of ragweed season. With children back in a classroom environment, for typically 6 hours or more a day, they definitely have more to sneeze at than just ragweed!
As anyone who lives with allergies can attest to, a school building can be a minefield of allergens.
New carpeting, furniture and wall paints, as well as janitorial cleaning products, can release volatile organic compounds (known as outgassing) into the air your child breathes. Furry classroom pets can also release dander, and leaky classrooms and bathrooms can harbor mold. And don’t forget about dust!
When you add in exposure to environmental factors found in playing fields and lunchroom areas, the mix of potential allergens your child may be exposed to can create a disruption for your child’s immune system and their school routine.
The most common allergens children are exposed to in the fall are:
- Ragweed. This pollen is easily the biggest fall inhalant allergy culprit, for children and adults alike. Ragweed pollinates in August and continues for well over a month, and the pollen can travel long distances. If your child suffers from fall allergies, ragweed is the number one suspect.
- Mold. Spores can accumulate in damp areas of the home or school. Since children spend more time inside during the fall season, they are highly susceptible to mold and other indoor allergens. Mold is also abundant on and underneath wet leaves: be aware of this when your child wants to tumble in that pile of leaves as part of autumn outdoor fun.
- Trees. There are certain trees that pollinate in the fall that are potential allergens. One of these is a type of sumac tree; you will see big bunches of pollen literally dripping from its branches and floating in the air in the autumn months.
- Food Allergies. In addition to exposure to a myriad of inhalants, back to school means school lunches. So, you pack your child a healthy lunchbox… only to find out they happily traded their healthy food for their friends’ food, usually stuff they don’t normally eat at home.
These items typically are in the “junk food” category, laced with preservatives, food dyes and artificial chemicals. Think about this if your child comes home with stomachaches or rashes.
Allergy or Sensitivity?
When we hear the word “allergy,” most of us think of sneezing, itchy red eyes and a stuffed up, runny nose. This type of “allergy” is often called hay fever or seasonal allergies. It keeps medical allergists busy in the spring and fall, as the suffering throngs get scratch tests and seek relief from their misery via shots and pills.
A true allergy occurs when your child’s immune system makes an antibody to something it mistakenly thinks is bad for her/him. For something to be called an “allergy,” one’s body must make an antibody to it, and if it doesn’t, it’s called a “sensitivity.”
In the case of an inhalant sensitivity (to dust, pollen…), your doctor would typically recommend either shots or medication (prescription or over the counter). The shots route, although successful, especially for inhalant sensitivities, may require injections for your child every week or two for a year or longer.
Another medical recommendation for handling sensitivity symptoms would be avoiding the offending substance. But how do you do that when your child is playing outdoors in a pollen-filled environment or sitting in a classroom inhaling mold spores or chemicals?
At Chesapeake Holistic, we offer another solution: a bioenergetic desensitization method for identifying and clearing sensitivities through an elimination program known as BioClear.
BioClear utilizes a galvanic skin response program, which can quickly and easily evaluate your child’s sensitivities to the environmental inhalants that may be causing their symptoms.
The inhalant treatment program includes testing and clearing of sensitivities, within each of the following categories:
- Phenolics (chemical compounds)
- Epidermals (skin irritations)
- Local samples/household chemicals
This season, take advantage of our BioClear Back to School / Fall Special for children and adults: $285 for the initial evaluation and $95 per follow-up clearing session. Call 410.349.9043 to book.
Katherine Sale, MSW, MAc, LAc, CNC
Katherine is a Licensed, Board-Certified Acupuncturist, a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner, an Integrative Energy Therapies Provider, and an Advanced BioClear Practitioner.
Ask Carol: How many hours of sleep should my kids get each night? Now that school’s started they are so tired…
Sleep is a major factor in our health and wellness. It’s not only an issue for adults, but sleep is an area of increasing concern for our kids’ wellbeing.
Truly, the business of our current lifestyle puts children’s sleep (routines, quality, and duration) at risk. The back to school transition is a great time to evaluate your children’s sleep patterns and needs.
Benefits of Good Sleep
Adequate sleep positively impacts brain health (e.g., mood and thinking) and overall wellness. Truly, there are so many benefits of a good night’s sleep for children:
- Appropriate growth – the growth hormone is primarily secreted at night. Italian researchers found that children who do not sleep deeply have deficient growth hormone levels.
- Heart health – Sleep prevents vascular damage from circulating stress hormones. Children with sleep disorders have excessive brain arousal (fight or flight), causing high nighttime blood glucose and cortisol levels, which may lead to diabetes and heart disease.
- Weight management – Blood glucose and cortisol levels are also linked to obesity. As well, sleep deprivation affects the hormone leptin, which fat cells create to tell our bodies when we’ve eaten enough to be satisfied. And, like adults, tired kids crave carbs and high fat foods.
- Fewer colds and viruses – Sleep helps to build a healthy immune system. As we sleep, the body produces cytokines: proteins that fend off infection, illness, and stress.
- Better sports performance and injury reduction – For children involved in sports, lack of sleep, and poor sleep quality, slows muscle growth and repair, decreases endurance, and reduces speed. All opening the door for minor and major injuries.
- Improved attention span and learning – For school-age kids, research shows adding just 27 minutes of nightly sleep makes it easier for them to focus, and to manage their moods and impulses. Sufficient sleep also improves learning retention.
Length of Sleep
When we look at sleep for our kids, like adults, how long we sleep is important. It’s recommended that preschool and elementary school children get 10-12 hours a night of sleep, while adolescents and high-schoolers need 9 hours.
Studies by the National Sleep Foundation found one-third of preschoolers, and one-fourth of elementary school-aged children, get less sleep than what is recommended. Sadly, our kids are starting to have sleep deficits at very early ages.
If you’re not sure how much sleep your children are getting, try tracking the time they fall asleep for a week. If they aren’t getting the recommended number of sleep hours, set bedtime an hour or so earlier.
For new information about creating successful bedtime routines, and sleep insights for special needs children, read more…
Ask Glynda: How should I change my teenager’s summer skincare routine for good skin, without breakouts, in the fall?
Now is the time to consider how your teen’s skin will look this fall by boosting their summer routine. Actually, this is good practice for all of us, of all ages.
In August, and into late September, the excess heat and humidity outside may increase the oil production of your child’s skin. This can be especially troubling for teens with acne.
Exfoliating helps to rid the skin of dead cells that build up and trap the over-producing oil. However, exfoliation can also increase your exposure to sun’s rays.
What to do? Consider having your teens exfoliate only once a week. If using a new exfoliant, start by doing it at night to be sure your teen doesn’t have a reaction.
Once their skin is accustomed to the exfoliant, have them use it in the morning (but only on days they will not have maximum sun exposure). Transitioning use of exfoliants to the morning is important.
The morning is the best time to exfoliate since skin renews overnight while you sleep. We want to clear out the dull dead skin cells, while being mindful to not over-strip the young, fresh skin cells.
If you’re looking for a product recommendation, I suggest Shira’s Pure Pineapple and Papaya Enzyme Peel. First of all, it smells like vacation! Secondly, this peel is made with natural enzymes which gently dissolve the dead skin cells. Lastly, it also has an Aloe Vera base to hydrate and will deliver antioxidants for the renewal of your teen’s skin.
As well, a seasonal facial may be just the tool to find your teen’s balance. During the session, I will assess your teen’s skin and offer personalized suggestions for skincare for the upcoming season.
Frankly, everyone’s skin-needs change each season, so you should consider seasonal facials for yourself, too.
Glynda Cullen, LMT, LE
Glynda is a licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Esthetician. She offers therapeutic massage and facial treatments (and after-hours appointments). Glynda is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox protocols.
Ask Cathy: My kids are already starting to feel the stress of a new school year. Can Emotion Code help with that?
Yes! There are many different ways Emotion Code can help you and your kids.
First of all, Emotion Code is great for reducing anxiety during stressful times, such as the start of the school year, going to a new school, or going away to college.
There are so many changes these transitions bring… and that change usually comes with some knots in the stomach.
In addition to clearing stress, Emotion Code can eliminate some of the subconscious blocks (that we all put up) keeping us from achieving our true potential…
… Whether it be making new friends, or trying out for the sports team, or navigating through your first time away from home.
I’ve worked with many kids over the years with great results; children and young adults’ trapped emotions clear quickly. So set your kids up for success this year and let them try Emotion Code.
And, because your kids’ back to school transitions are hard on the rest of the family, too, a few EC sessions are not a bad idea for you either.
As my son is starting law school this fall, I can assure you I will be doing a lot of clearing on myself as well as my son!
If you or your child has never tried Emotion Code, come in for a free session.
Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP, CBCP
Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, a Certified ONDAMED® Technician, and a Certified Emotion Code® and Body Code® Practitioner. She is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox.
Ask Carol: Why does Carol always ask about having dental work done? How can that impact my health?
Those are great questions! You’re right… I always explain to clients the nuances behind the connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body.
Newer research on gut microbiome is revealing how important the oral microbiome is to our health. And, if you know me, then you know one of the key areas (of nutritional health and function) I focus on is the health of your microbiome: the garden within your gut.
Research findings are also connecting poor oral health with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, systemic illnesses, and other health concerns.
Why? The mouth is the initial intersection between the outer world and our inner world. We swallow 1 trillion bacteria every day! Bacteria, viruses, molds, and toxins from the air, food, and water are introduced to our internal systems through our mouth.
If your oral microbiome and structures (tongue, teeth, gums, and oral mucus membranes) are not healthy, or have lingering bad bugs, these will be introduced into your body via your gut and blood stream at the time of dental care.
A healthy mouth environment is your first line of defense from these intruders. Signs of an unhealthy oral microbiome are often: bad breath, dry mouth, altered taste, gingivitis, receding gums, and cavities.
A healthy mouth = a healthy life!
Carol Heckman, RN, CNHP, MH, CNC
Carol is a Registered Nurse, as well as a Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.