The biggest thing that I work on in removing repetitive symptoms like fever, and the other pieces that go along with PFS and PFAPA (as well as other disorders), is digestion. I have written about this in the past, but I cannot emphasize enough how important a look at the digestive tract is in finding the triggers for the symptoms.
You may not think there is ANYTHING going on in your child’s digestion, but I can tell you that there are irritants and imbalances happening there – THAT is why you are struggling to get control.
Digestion and PFAPA
With poor digestion, your child is lacking in nutrients. They are like being malnourished. They may also be like that from poor nutrition or habits, but even with the best diet and cleanest food possible, without proper digestion, absorption of all the goodness cannot happen. Not only that, but if there is also leaking, then the immune system is firing to clear out things that shouldn’t be there. We want to lower the chances of this happening. By making sure our number one area for immunity is in proper shape we ensure that the great nutrients we are about to put in get absorbed preventing deficiencies that can lead to increase risk of that immune system going haywire on us.
You may not have noticed ANYTHING that stands out to you in their digestion. However, I often see clients that say they feel “normal” (their child) but are actually well outside that. Most often, I see intakes before a free consultation, with limited information related to possible digestive issues. But as we talk I learn that the child does in fact have loose bowel movements, or is not having many bowel movements at all. Either or indicates something is wrong along the way. On top of that, when we start with our nutrition discussion, it is very easy to identify the inflammatory foods, sensitivities or issues in their daily habits that might be adding to that inflammatory load.
Consider Food Sensitivities
Every child that I have seen with suspected or diagnosed PFS or PFAPA has food sensitivities and none of them knew it. This includes myself and my own son at the time. I didn’t realize how much food additives, processed foods, and just some whole foods were affecting him. He didn’t have an allergic reaction and his bowels generally seemed quite well. BUT we certainly had quite an extreme immune response every 17-23 days. As a practitioner, and before, I was able to start to see patterns with his food that seemed to make things worse.
If there are sensitivities there are digestive imbalances. There is no possible way to have a balanced gut with sensitivities and eating certain foods. With these imbalances come improper microbiome balance (more to come on that), inflammation in the gut, and that can lead to leaking and more immune response. (Specifics on food sensitivities will be covered in nutrition.)
Consider Antibiotic Use & Vaccinations Given in Multiples at a Time
Antibiotics will be discussed more in supplements and medications. However, just one course of antibiotics alters your child’s gut microbiome (aka their immunity). The delicate balance of microbes and the quantities and types are very important to all body function. When we kill them off and we cannot, or do not, replace them we end up with imbalance and that leads to immune dysfunction of all types.
Antibiotics should be used for only very serious infections that can lead to permanent damage, and cannot be healed without damage or death occurring. Honestly. This is truly what they are for. They should not be given at each visit like a multivitamin. They are often, almost never, truly needed for ear infections. I know this is hard to believe, but I can attest that they do go away in the same or LESS time on their own. Of course there may always be an exception to each situation where something gets so bad it might be damaging but most regular infections are easily cleared within a few days with no need for medications. I have done it for many many ear aches. We use some warmed neem and garlic mullein oil drops (this would be something to discuss with your doctor or a practitioner who understands what the child needs).
You may still be wondering if it really matters? It does. My son had one round of antibiotics and developed c. diff (clostridium difficile). This can be a life threatening condition. It is a harmful bacteria that takes over the gut after antibiotics have killed off the balancing positive microbes. On top of this, after age 18 months it is not possible to repopulate the gut with microbes from probiotics. Which means you need to continually take them to receive the microbes and benefits. Food can also populate your gut and can help you and your child before, during and after treatments if you have had them or need them. Food is always the best way to get balance back, but it takes a long time and a lot of work. The imbalance in microbes has been linked to many issues from diabetes, obesity, dementia and more.3
There has also been some evidence that giving multiple vaccinations at one time might be leading to some type of trigger for certain disorders and possibly autoinflammatory conditions.4 If you were to think back or even go back to the dates of those vaccinations in your child you may be unpleasantly surprised the connections to either flares, the initial start of your child’s condition and more. Be aware that you can ask for single dose vaccinations as these are available. It might be something of a request and not be stocked at your clinic, but it is WELL WORTH asking and doing.
OTC Medications & Other Drugs
We will cover this more in depth, but remember any drug, whether it be over the counter or prescription, have consequences for use. Even if they seem very safe, there can be complicated implications nutritionally. They use our nutrients to break down, stripping them away from our body function. They also can cause damage themselves as they are broken down , or improperly broken down, due to already malfunctioning digestion. How many times have you given your child IBUprofen, how about acetaminophen? How about allergy medicine? What about prednisone? These ALL affect digestion and nutrient absorption. (More on this to come.)
Many guts are altered from poor foods, to what seem like simple solutions with OTC or other drug medications. These choices lead some children and people to immune dysfunction. As we move ahead, remember, everything is aimed at making gut balance better, so we can control our immunity.
If you are thinking to yourself, wow this really makes sense and we have done these things, it might be time to talk. I can help you sort through your child’s history, identify their deficiencies, and remove the trigger foods and additives. This book also provides you with more information about how and where things go wrong, as well as basic nutrition to get you started at home now with some changes. If you are dedicated to changing your child’s life, we can do this together. If you are still unsure but want to start with basics at home – grab my book online and start thinking about what you can change now.