Tag Archives: respiratory illness

Probiotic Promises Deliver (Article)

For years, researchers have felt that some species of bacteria introduced into the stomachs of children make their immune systems stronger and better able to fend off illness. As a group, these microbes are termed probiotic. A few years ago, physicians in Israel put this theory to the test and found that, indeed, some types of bacteria (Lactobacillus Reuteri and Bifidobacterium lactis) did make young children more able to fight off gastrointestinal viral infections. Recently, in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, we now have good evidence that children on this side of the Atlantic get benefit from the same type of healthy probiotic bacteria.


Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, MD, DSc studied 336 children attending daycare in Mexico City. The study was designed well, being randomly assigned, double blinded, and placebo controlled. Studies designed this way generally yield accurate results, and indeed, the results were dramatic. Children who received the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus Reuteri had very dramatic improvement in the following health measures: the number of days with diarrhea or respiratory illness was reduced among the treatment group by a whooping 66%; antibiotic use, days absent from daycare, and number of visits to a healthcare facility were also significantly reduced. What is not to love about probiotics for children?! We now have two well designed studies coming to the same conclusion: certain types of probiotics improve the health of young children.


Integrative pediatricians have been telling us for years that probiotics and cultured/fermented foods, loaded with bacteria and other microbes, improve the health of both children and adults. This latest study proves that they were right. It is time that we stop looking at all microbes as our enemies and learn how to harness the incredible power of some of earth’s smallest creatures. For more on this fascinating subject, take a few minutes and listen to integrative pediatrician Sheila Kilbane talk about the power of probiotics on an archived DocSmo.com:


https://www.docsmo.com/probiotics-update-with-dr-sheila-kilbane-pedcast/


Your comments are welcome!  Until next time.

Written by Paul Smolen M.D.


Smo Notes:

1. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/03/11/peds.2013-0652

2.   http://www.italchimici.net/Docs_library/Weizman%20probiot%20comparison_Lr%2005.pdf

From the desk of Doc Smo: Hand washing (Article)

I can still hear my mother’s voice as I ran out of the bathroom:  “Have you washed your hands?!”   Hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating was imperative in my household growing up.  I noted with interest that we  celebrated the fifth annual global hand washing day on October 15th.    Epidemiologists and other health experts  note that it is particularly important for children to wash their hands, just as my mother used to insist.  Diarrheal illness and pneumonia are the two most common killers of children around the world, and these diseases often infect their victims via unwashed hands.  Experts estimate that 2.2 MILLION children under age 5 years  die annually from either diarrhea or respiratory illness.  They think that a third of  diarrhea deaths and a sixth of pneumonia deaths could be avoided by hand washing.

Proper hand washing is something every child needs to learn.  Fortunately, here in the United States our drinking water is generally  clean, so washing with it is beneficial.  Proper hand washing requires at least 20 seconds of washing with soap and clean water, followed by drying with a clean towel.  Hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol are an acceptable substitute when soap and water are not available.  The following is the list of times the Center for Disease Control urges hand washing:

1.  before, during, and after preparing food;

2.  before eating food;

3.  before and after caring for someone who is sick;

4.  before and after treating a cut or wound;

5.  after using the toilet;

6.  after changing diapers or cleaning a child who has used the toilet;

7.  after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;

8.  after touching an animal or animal waste;

9.  after handling pet food or pet treats; and

10. after touching garbage.

Modern medicine provides powerful medicines and treatments, but I am convinced that soap and water are almost as powerful.  Remember my DocSmo pearl “Prevention trumps treatment:”   preventing a disease is more powerful that treating a disease once it occurs.  Soap and water prevent disease.  Hey, Mom, you were right after all!  Thanks.  Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com.   Check out other articles and podcasts when you are there.  Until next time.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

 

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6140a7.htm?s_cid=mm6140a7_e

 

http://www.cdc.gov/features/globalhandwashing/

Getting a Grippe on the ‘Moving Target’ We Call Influenza (Pedcast)

Doc Smo begins the new year with the latest information about Influenza. Learn how vaccinating your children against flu this season will not only help them, but those around them.

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