Babies and small children
Respiratory, digestive, and allergy-related conditions are the most common ailments that babies under the age of three years will suffer from. The immune system in small infants is immature, as is their digestive system. In the first year of a baby’s life, the infant gut is more permeable, as it is designed to allow for absorption of breast-milk. The gut is also where much of the immune system is located at this stage of life. There is a very thin lining that separates the gut from the bloodstream, and is protective of the gut wall. If this membrane is breached, perhaps when an antibiotic or vaccine is administered, larger proteins can permeate the gut wall and cause a reaction. Cow’s milk, made up of larger proteins than breast-milk, is one such protein that may lead to symptoms of leaky gut. Symptoms of allergy reaction such as digestive disturbances, eczema, or even asthma may result. It is important to identify the allergen responsible for the problem as excluding a suspect food from the babies diet will bring about an improvement. If the child is exclusively breast-fed, it may be necessary for the mother to exclude the suspect food.
Babies and young infants will also be exposed for the first time to many different infectious organisms, which is why they tend to get more respiratory ailments. While this can build their immunity, it is difficult to see a small baby struggle with a respiratory infection causing coughing or difficulty breathing. This can be a worrying time for parents and while many are reluctant to give their child an antibiotic, they are concerned as to whether their child can fully recover on their own. Parents are always reassured to learn that many safe herbal remedies can be very effectively used for their child’s complaint. Herbal medicine is generally fast acting in babies and small children, and they are also very gentle resulting in far fewer side-effects than some proprietary medicines.