Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Rotavirus Adventure: Healing my Baby Naturally

What defines an expert? The dictionary defines the term as: A person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area. Wikipedia defines Expert as a person having a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. How long is prolonged enough to qualify as an expert?

While I do not claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I have seen similar blog posts and the backlash that comes from someone providing their personal medical advice. I am not a doctor. I am not an expert. I am always learning. I have been avidly studying health, nutrition, parenting, etc for over 3 years now as if my life depended on it. It does, I suppose. 

Anyhow, rather than post the typical disclaimer about my not being a doctor and telling you to consult your own doctor, I'm not going to do that because I believe most doctors are little more than naive drug pushers for large pharmaceutical companies. I am going to say find a holistic naturopathic doctor to consult before you wave your bat wing arms in my direction. goes my adventures with the deadly Rotavirus.

Rotavirus is scary. It's scary because there's a vaccine for it. Right? If it weren't harmful, they wouldn't have created a vaccine to save us from it. Well, I didn't vaccinate Jonah and 4 days ago he contracted Rotavirus.   Would he have contracted it if I had vaccinated him?  Who knows?  While I am no expert, I am also not a fortune teller. 

Rewind a little and let me explain: I do no advocate all children being vaccinated or not. I have firm beliefs on the issue on who should and who should not don't get your panties in a knot and start screaming that I'm what's wrong with the world. If that is your reaction right now, please direct your comments to yourself you judgmental hag and get the hell off my blog. I've seen you....lurking on natural parenting blogs....just waiting to explode at any parent who chooses to put all of society at risk for our selfish decisions....I know who you are....and I'd love to debate with you...but its such a pain in the ass to argue with idiots, I'd rather not waste my energy.

So, back on the farm....Jonah is not vaccinated. Addison is. I wasn't the Heath Nut I am today so it is what it is.

Either way some basic facts about Rotavirus: it is the most common cause of diarrhea among children, is very common and affects almost all children by the age of 5. It infects the intestinal tract, generally causes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, etc.  The reason it is considered a worldwide epidemic is due to the extremely limited clean water supply in third world and developing countries. Obviously, dehydration poses a much bigger threat there.  Dehydration is a serious issue and it varies in severity from case to case. What worked for me may not work for you. 

Some basic info about the vaccine: it is an orally administered vaccine given to babies at 2, 4 AND 6 months. Aside from other things, the vaccine contains MSG. Among a number of less serious side effects, it has been known to cause Intussusception (which is a much bigger deal) and sometime around 2008, Death was added to the list of side effects. that you have the basics....

After Addison's ballet recital this past Saturday,

...we were standing at the doorstep of a good friends house about to celebrate our daughters' achievement when Jonah hurled up something fierce. Assuming it was a fluke from the force feeding he endured to suppress his wailing and need to act like a jungle monkey at the recital, I blew it off. Twenty minutes later he upchucked on me causing vomit  to run down my shirt, collecting in the center of my bra and overflowing downward into my bellybutton and down into my shorts. Lovely. I kind of just sat there in the way you do when you don't know what to do. I couldn't move without dumping a steaming pile of puke onto the carpet. We left and the vomiting continued about every 20-30 minutes until bedtime, to the point of dry heaving at times. Sunday only 2 short episodes of vomiting ensued followed by the start of diarrhea. A fever started midday. A runny nose started. Though he was lethargic Saturday night, his attitude was normal Sunday despite his intestinal troubles and his refusal to breastfeed or eat anything. After doing my own extensive and quick research to determine the severity of my baby boy's condition, I determined he had Rotavirus.  This was confirmed Monday when we made the trip over to our pediatricians office. 
Did I mention that when Jonah started this, we were only 4 days away from our Mexican vacation?  Yeah....saying that I was in a mad rush to heal him is an understatment. 

Pitiful as he was Saturday, Rotavirus was in no way a big deal for us. First of all, I breastfeed so I made sure to keep my diet super duper healthy full of vitamins and minerals. Secondly, to combat any dehydration and boost his gut flora at the same time, I mixed a little bit of Culturelle, a dairy-free probiotic powder, into some coconut water. Coconut water is high in potassium and is natures own Gatorade, chock full of electrolytes. No pedialyte full of artificial sweeteners and colors for us, thank you very much.

When vomiting is a problem and everything that goes in comes up, it is important not to feed too much for at least 2 hours after a vomiting episode. Instead, provide very small amounts of food/liquid more frequently. Use a medicine dropper to administer probiotic laced coconut water to hydrate. Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. Make sure baby has at least 2 wet diapers a day. Offer breastmilk in between and in small doses if baby is still vomiting.

When diarrhea starts, restrict child to the BRAT diet. (Bananas, (brown) Rice, Applesauce, Toast). This diet helps bind bowels. Make sure you have plenty of diaper ointment on hand for baby's sore bottom. Again, provide probiotics for a healthy belly and coconut water in small doses for electrolytes. Continue to offer breastmilk. For my 8month old, I mixed mashed banana with brown rice cereal, coconut water and Culturelle probiotics and fed a few spoons to him every couple of hours.

If baby starts a fever, put two Belladonna pellets into baby's mouth every couple of hours until fever subsides. This will usually knock it out pretty quickly.  Belladonna is a homeopathic medicine and is safe for infants. 

There is no 'cure' for Rotavirus. It just has to run its course. Antibiotics don't work and only strip the gut of its healthy bacteria, which is what the belly needs desperately at this time.

If you are breastfeeding, take probiotics. I sprinkled Culturelle on almost everything that went into my mouth. I drank Synergy organic and raw Kombucha with probiotics. No dairy. Limit or omit gluten. These are hard on the belly.

Jonah slept. A lot. His body was busy repairing itself. Scary as it can be when baby is vomiting, check on baby very frequently and try to lay baby on his side to sleep in case vomiting ensues. Let your child rest as much as is needed. This caused me to be restless while I watched him sleep making sure he didn't choke. Jonah took twice as many naps as usual.

Wash your hands. Make sure family washes their hands constantly and wash sheets, blankets or anything that the child was around frequently. The virus is pretty damn contagious so make sure no dirty cloth diapers are laying around.  Rather than letting my cloth diapers sit in the pail for days, I washed daily in hot water to get them out of the room all together. 

Two days later, which is generally the amount of time between contracting the virus and showing symptoms, my husband Ryan and daughter Addison got it. Addison eats pretty healthy. Her symptoms only lasted about 24 hours. Ryan's is just now ending. Same treatment holds true for adults. BRAT diet. Coconut water. Belladonna. Rest. Jonah is just now finished with his symptoms. BTW: Addison was vaccinated for it. It didn't stop her violent vomiting attack Monday.

I may not be an expert but I have cured my family of minor skin rashes to my mothers Diabetes to my sons Rotavirus all without drugs or anything more than medical diagnostics. I, who used to have the immune system of an HIV patient, has yet to show the first symptom of it aside from the exhaustion of nursing my family back to health before our 10 day Mexican vacation.

No expert here, but I'm a self-proclaimed witch doctor on her way to Puerto Vallarta Mexico with a healthy family! Hasta Luego Health Nuts!