Healthy Kids Stories: Elliott

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If I had all the money back that I’ve spent on antibiotics Elliott has taken that he didn’t need, I could probably afford to take him to Disneyland.          

The problem is that until we found Dr. Wei, we didn’t know my son didn’t need all these antibiotics. We only knew that every morning he would complain of his sore throat that kept him from sleeping through the night. Plus, he was so thirsty all the time that I was afraid he had diabetes (thankfully, the tests were negative for that).

Our pediatrician thought Elliott was probably struggling with a recurring strep infection that he had tested positive for at one point, but his symptoms just didn’t clear up completely. He would feel better as the day went on, and sometime through the week he’d feel better. But then the routine would begin again, especially on weekends when we couldn’t get in to see the doctor. So our pediatrician would call in a new prescription, changing from one type to another to see which of them could kick this thing. I think this went on for almost seven months.

Finally, I built up the nerve to ask for a referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for children. This is how we found Dr. Wei. She did a thorough examination of Elliott and his health history. She interviewed me about our family’s eating lifestyle which helped me see the connection between what my son was eating and his chronic sore throat. It was especially clear that our Friday and Saturday movie nights were prompting Elliott’s nasal congestion. Dr. Wei explained that the acidity in all the candy we routinely had, along with cheese popcorn and chocolate shakes were causing reflux. Elliott’s body was producing too much mucus as a response to the GER/LPR, and this was making his nose stuffy at night. Dr. Wei said that children who wake in the night and need a drink may be thirsty as a result of primarily breathing through their mouth instead of their nose, since the nose is the only organ that can humidify the air and mouth-breathing results in a very dry mouth. That was when I realized Elliott’s thirstiness was also tied to this pattern. If your child can’t breathe through his nose while sleeping, then he’ll shift to mouth-breathing. The throat will become quite dry and this is the cause of a sore throat he woke up with almost every morning, but especially on weekends.

When I think about all this now, I realize that we spent a lot of time thinking Elliott was a chronically sick kid. He had to go through taking a lot of unnecessary medications and even a diabetes test only to discover that the solution was as simple as changing his dietary habits in the evenings and avoiding snacks too close to bedtime. Now for movie nights (which our family loves) we just have plain, lightly buttered popcorn and a non-dairy/non-sugary drink. This has been the cure! I tell all of my friends that medications aren’t always the answer—first you have to look at what your kid is eating and fix that because it’s a healthier way to get well!

— Sarabeth, Elliott’s mom

Healthy Kids Stories

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