What happens when we lump all the symptoms of an illness together, and focus only on eliminating symptoms? The answer is that we start to turn an acute illness (something that should resolve itself over a few days or a week) into a chronic illness pattern (either something that lasts for months, or that repeats itself over and over again). This confusion happens a lot with very common illnesses, such as ear infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, folliculitis, sore throats, and acne. Most all of the standard treatments offered are suppressive, meaning that they block the symptoms related to inflammation (this is true for almost any medicine that starts with “anti-“, whether it be fever suppressants (anti-pyretics), anti-histamines, or antibiotics). All of those medicines are useful and have an important place in medical treatment, but they are way over-prescribed.
If we take the example of an earache, which may progress into a true ear infection (either viral or bacterial), the main problem is not the fever, it is the congestion. The symptoms of inflammation—redness, swelling, pain, and warmth—are actually all part of the immune systems’ response to cleaning out an infection and restoring the body back to a healthy balance. When we repeatedly suppress inflammation without addressing the root cause, then it is easy to cycle through a bunch of antibiotic treatments because the illness comes back every 4-8 weeks. We find that when we can make a plan to guide a inflammation through to a healthy resolution, then there are far fewer repeat illnesses. Over the long terms that is important because it reduces antibiotic treatments and lowers the risk of chronic allergic illnesses.
Help for guiding an illness or infection through to a healthy resolution can be done with a combination of natural medicines, diet changes, home nursing techniques, and educational resources. We have a home care guide we like to share with families so that they can learn how to proactively work through illnesses and better understand the immune system’s needs and goals.