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Constantly Sick with the Same Darn Thing?

What is your health weakness

I was up last night with our 4-year-old as he was coughing and short of breath.

Darn colds always go right to his lungs, which rattle and make him breathe far too fast. It’s almost uncanny how predictable it’s become. In fact I have a note in his file here at home reminding me that we need to have the doc take a listen if his breathing is over 40 per minute or heart rate over 150 without a fever.

The rest of the family is different though. Cold viruses tend to go to my husband’s head and sinuses, and my neck and shoulders.

I find that fascinating.

Odd, I know.

My daughter was the worst thrower-upper I’ve ever seen and got stomach viruses like nobody’s business between the ages of 2 and 6. My oldest son has had far more than his fair share of ear infections in his life – the other children have had zero to share between them.

That gets my brain going. Wondering. Hypothesizing.

Even Googling, but I can’t find anything to back up my theory.

I keep wondering if people have a general “weakest organ” that bacteria and viruses attack first – one body part or system that, for one reason or another, is literally that person’s “weakest link.”

Leah and Gabe professional pic

I’m hoping Gabe’s is his big toe or something silly like that, as he’s been remarkably resilient to colds and respiratory stuff…but he does seem to have some tummy issues and has thrown up far more than his fair share for a one-year-old. (The theory there is that eggs are a problem for him…more experimentation needed, but it never feels like a good time to potentially have a throwing-up-baby for 12 hours!)

I always thought I was Superwoman with no physical weaknesses, until this happened. Turns out I probably have a candida overgrowth, which I was able to beat back into submission, but I still have the itchy spot at the base of my neck reminding me of my kryptonite.

The worst part about that being my “weakest link” is that I probably passed it on to all my kids. My younger three in particular struggle with cradle cap, and my oldest had the worst eczema of the bunch when he was little (and also last year). Skin problems can be a sign of an imbalance and/or yeast issue, exacerbated by sugar.

I never fully went on an anti-candida diet, just didn’t have the bandwidth. When I found out I was expecting Gabe, my instinct was to really try to kick it once and for all, to protect him from receiving all that baggage from me.

Maternity photos with Gabe

But. But. I couldn’t imagine pregnancy without cheese. I think about it every time I pick flakes off his scalp. Sad smile #guilt

I’ve been wanting to explore this idea for a while and get a conversation going with other families. I was tickled when TriLight Health said they’d sponsor this post, not only because then I’d actually write it instead of putting it off, and also because we rely on a lot of their products for our personal weakest links: I’m grateful for Lungs Plus for 4yo John, Tummy Plus for 7yo Leah, Hear no Evil for 10yo Paul and Lympha Rub for everyone. TLH has offered KS readers a little early Christmas gift – use the code Kitchen15 for 15% off your total purchase, good through the end of 2015. And they already offer free shipping over $25!

So let’s get that discussion going!

The Chicken or the Egg?

when whooping cough hits

One of my questions as I ponder all this is:

Cause or effect?

Was John born with weak lungs, perhaps simply because of his genes or because of something in our environment during critical prenatal phases of lung development? Or did whooping cough and pneumonia weaken his lungs so that colds dig in deep, and the fact that he got those illnesses was just a matter of circumstance, not particular lung susceptibility?

Or both?

In my own case, my dad probably has candida overgrowth issues. If I can inherit that tendency genetically from him, I probably did. I was also formula-fed despite Mom’s best efforts. Did my diet as a child or young adult impact how it played out in any way? Or would I have had to have a perfect anti-candida diet in order for my health to be any different than it is now?

Some say candida can increase one’s risk of cancer (which my dad successfully fought last year and is 18 months clean, praise be to God). So it may be a serious question here.

Forward-Looking or Backward-Thinking?

Does everyone have a weakness

Leah seems to have grown out of the terrible vomiting (she literally would go 24 hours without throwing up, then have another episode of violent vomits, then 24 hours, then again – it was the weirdest pattern I’ve ever heard of!). However, she has serious motion sickness in vehicles, so that plays right into having a “weak stomach.”

When I say it that way, it makes me think of my theory as not a new and progressive idea, but as an old wives’ tale, something people used to say when they didn’t understand diseases like IBS, IBD, food allergies and more. Certain people just had a “weak stomach” or “poor constitution,” and that was it.

But in today’s day and age, maybe we can use our advanced understanding of the human body to troubleshoot better.

If it’s true that people generally have a part of the body or system more susceptible to attack by negative outside forces, maybe we can figure out the root cause better or bolster that system in a more targeted way.

Because I know John’s lungs will be attacked violently if he gets a cold, I react immediately. At the first sign of a sniffle, we up his probiotics, get some Scout Out and immune-boosting herbs in him and start Lungs Plus a few times a day. If I do it right, sometimes we catch it before it settles in. If not, we are still able to keep him from going off the deep end, usually, and avoid fevers and seriously frightening heart rate and shortness of breath.

With things like candida, any skin issues, or tummy trouble, it seems we should be looking for the root of the problem. What are we eating that might exacerbate or cause problems? What minor ailments might be related to the same system? For example, is there any correlation between a food sensitivity, motion sickness, and bedwetting (which we’ve kicked now, more on that in 2016!!)?

But what else? I’m dying to hear what other moms notice in their different kids or across families.

I can’t wait to hear if you see any correlation between what I’m surmising here and your own experience.

And if anyone has any sources beyond personal experience to credit or discredit the idea, I’d so appreciate it if you could ring in via the comment section!

It’s important to say that I’m not a medical professional (or even a medical amateur), just a mom thinking out loud. None of this is designed to be advice – or even truth. It’s just an experience and a theory.

What trends do you notice in your health? Do you have a “weak” spot?

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

19 thoughts on “Constantly Sick with the Same Darn Thing?”

  1. Karen Laurvick

    Have you considered orthomolecular therapy? Check out Andrew W Saul “doctor yourself” or his daughter Helen Saul (she is now married but should be able to find her under her maiden name). See whay they recommend for helping kids fight infections.

  2. I notice different weaknesses in my kids too. I have a daughter who always gets a horrible sounding, long lingering cough with every cold. I have a son who might be the only one to NOT catch a cold (or he is the last when it’s in the family), but he has random vomiting incidents. (Usually isolated, not accompanied by other illness, and no one else in the family manifests any stomach issue.) Another son gets a very persistent runny nose with a cold. I’ve got two other youngins without enough history to establish a pattern. My husband barely even wipes his nose when he gets a cold, but he’ll usually feel tired to the point of laying in bed for an entire day. I can usually dodge colds or get by with brief or mild symptoms, but I also take the most immune boosting supplements (esp. Master tonic), which I give a lot of credit to.

  3. My daughter was diagnosed with PANDAS a year ago. It’s insane how treating this has positively impacted so many seemingly unrelated health and behavioral issues. What’s even more scary is that she has never. Ever. Ever. Tested positive for strep throat. She carries strep in her nose and other places, but a throat swab will always turn up negative for her. I feel blessed to be served by our pediatrician every single day. (Look this up, Katie!)

    I never comment, but KS has changed my life, and we were already on the path to healthy living when our pediatrician accepted us as new patients. She DOES NOT accept new patients, but our commitment to a natural lifestyle convinced her we were willing to do the work to help our daughter. Thank you. A million times, thank you.

    1. What is PANDAS?
      This post is so timely for me. About a month ago, my dentist put me on antibiotics because I had a bad infection in my tooth that was debilitatingly painful. Since the extraction of the tooth, I have had eczema on my hands. It never occurred to me that it could be yeast.
      As for your motion sickness/ bed wetting/ food intolerance theory , I was the youngest of the four of us sisters to stop wetting the bed, at age 7. Two of my sisters are identical twins, so genetically speaking, that’s only three examples. None of us were breastfed (Thanks,1960s & ’70s doctors!). Our great Uncle Bruce was wetting the bed until he was drafted at age 21, and was killed in the battle of Anzio. I had motion sickness until I was almost driving age, and now, I can’t digest gluten, egg whites, avocados, or flax seed. If our whole family gets exposed to a stomach bug, you can bet I will get it. In 2007, I got one that kept recurring every 10 days. That lasted for about 9 months. It was only with the help of a naturopath that I was able to beat it. I have also always had problems with my knees and ankles.
      My children have all been plagued with terrible diaper rash as babies. I had no idea that yeast could be responsible for skin stuff. They have also all had cradle cap. My husband has always had dandruff, and my mother in law said all her kids had cradle cap. My mom said none of us had it.

  4. I was noticing something similar in my family recently! So I found your post interesting. My 5 and 2 year old boys are quite healthy. But the 5 year old seems more prone to coughs and wheezes and the 2 year old to stuffy nose, sore throat and sinus stuff. … When they get sick. I also find it interesting that, while I actually ate worse during pregnancy with my first son, he’s actually less prone to catching colds than #2? With #2 I was eating gluten free and low grain and really working hard at my diet. Neither boy has been on antibiotics thankfully.

    Now I’m pregnant with #3 and I’m taking a more relaxed approach. I’m tired of stressing about diet and health to the level that I was. I think it was no coincidence that I had high blood pressure in my last pregnancy and so far with this one, I’m 105/65 every visit! I’m eating sensibly and very balanced… Lots of veggies, protein, and probiotic foods, but not stressing over a little sugar or grains here and there. I’m exercising a lot more too! I guess my point is, sometimes physical symptoms can be worsened by emotional and mental stress.

    Sorry… I digress. My Waterloo is always headaches and sinuses when I get sick. Husband has more respiratory stuff. Coughing and clearing throat and congestion. And I notice the last few years, when I’ve had to be on antibiotics twice (unfortunately…. I hated to go on them but i had GBS and then a nasty skin infection that turned to blood poisoning later on) that I get warts and random eczema patches after a round of antibiotics. Ugh.

    Sorry for the rambling. Thanks for your alternative insights!

  5. Thankfully, I feel like my family is pretty healthy. We all get sick from time to time, but nothing lingers much. I haven’t noticed a particular tendency towards one type of illness or another in my 4 children. However, before I started paying more attention to my nutrition and more importantly, my sleep habits, I would often have something settle in my lungs and linger for a solid month or so – usually in the January-February time frame (hmm…. after Christmas & loads of sugary treats). I will say that I encourage my kids to get dirty so they can build their immune systems. My husband is an ER doc and his immunology professor in medical school told them (somewhat tongue-in cheek) that one of the healthiest things parents could do for their babies was to let them lick the floor at the O’Hare airport! Gross! But, point taken that (unless immunocompromised in some fashion) most people are not served by living in a sterile bubble of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps/lotions/etc that were particularly popular at the time.

    The biggest correlation I notice in my family’s and my own health is the amount and quality of rest we are getting. As one who has a history of pulling all nighters and getting by on very little sleep, I’ve finally accepted the reality that sleep is actually important and deserves to be high on my priority list – daily! I’ve also stopped trying to power through my day and will take a 10-40 minute nap if I feel like I need it, even if it’s going to mean plan B for dinner, or a potential mess to clean up after my toddler/preschooler. I notice if I do pull an all-nighter or almost all-nighter with 4 hours or less of sleep), I’m likely to get sick 2-3 days afterwards unless I am really focused on nourishing my body well, staying away from sugar & getting great rest the next couple nights.

  6. I found your post very interesting. My mother and most of my siblings (there are 8 of us) have always had a problem with a cough hanging on forever after recovering from a cold. We also have a tendency to have allergies and asthma. We all know that our lungs are our weakest spot. I have 6 children, all grown, and they do not seem to have the same problems.

  7. I agree…we probably all have our weak spots from genetics snd environmental causes. Our little adopted guy, 1, is on his 3rd cold this fall. His diet couldn’t be cleaner, paleo minus eggs, and still gets homemade bone broth formula. I wish I knew how to stop the wheezing without 2 hours of nebulizer treatments when he is sick.

  8. Growing up I chronically had pneumonia every year. We were told I had a “weak spot” in my right lung that made me susceptible. My oldest got bronchiolitis every time he had a cold until he was over 5. My youngest ended up with croup every time she had a cold until she was over 3. I think your theory is pretty spot on.

  9. Just throwing this out there: I used to love amusement park rides when I was a kid, then got sick on a Ferris Wheel for the first time as a teenager. Shocked! I’d always gotten carsick, but never had gotten sick on park rides before. Bummer! It wasn’t until I was in my 40s and started taking an anti-depressant that I discovered I could again ride amusement park rides! Something about the way the medicine altered my brain chemistry also affected my inner ears, susceptibility to vertigo, or whatever it was that caused my nausea. Now I wonder what caused my depression….

  10. Homeopaths and Ayurvedic practictioners would not be at all surprised by what you have seen. They would say it’s a “constitutional” thing–part of how are bodies are naturally or a result of being out of whack. A homeopathic doctor would look at the patterns of illness and find the remedy that fit those patterns (you can also do it yourself if you have a book and the patterns are really obvious). I don’t know if either tradition would try to point to a cause for our constitutions, but our microbiomes (whether it’s candida or some other bacterial/fungal combination) seem like a likely culprit.

    Your daughter sounds like a cross between my daughter and son. My daughter has the car sickness, and my son has stomach viruses that seem to rebound. In general though, my son got sicker a lot more as a child than my daughter did, and I always wondered if it had to do with the antibiotics for Strep B that I took when he was born.

    1. I think in the classical homeopathy paradigm, the underlying root would be described as each individual’s unique expression of a common family miasm or miasms. This blog post makes total sense viewed through that framework. Homeopaths would also say that use of pharmaceuticals can appear to cure if cure is defined as the absence of symptoms, but what’s actually happening is that the illness is driven deeper and hidden, and prone to manifesting in some sideways, often more clinically complicated way later.

  11. It’s interesting because I was just thinking about this same thing recently! I’ve had bronchial issues since I was a baby. My mom remembers the first time I got the croup and she thought I was going to die, sitting in the bathroom with me running the shower fully hot so that I could breathe in the steam. And just like clockwork, after that first time at the tender age of 6 months, I got the croup, bronchitis, or pneumonia every single year. Just this last summer I went to a homeopathic Dr who has an energy scanner, and she told me that I had parasites that were attacking my lungs. She gave me a round of treatment to deal with the parasites, and though I’ve gotten two colds since then, neither one has gone into my lungs which is a MIRACLE for me. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the winter.

    But I’ve been thinking the same thing – which started first? Do I have a natural susceptibility, and that is why the parasites camped out in my lungs? Or did I get a parasite very early on, and that is why I always had trouble with my lungs? I’m not sure that there is definitive proof either way, but now that I know, beyond my own susceptibility to bronchial problems and nipping those in the bud, that parasites will take up residence there, it’s something that I want to deal with often.

  12. I’m a mom of a 2 year old and I’ve been pondering these same things after reading about our personal microbiomes, food sensitivities and different sickness experiences we have had over the past 2 years. I agree everyone must have their own area of weakness- I’m still not sure what mine is (which I’m amazed about to be honest as I was a c-section baby, formula fed, a few rounds of antibiotics through the years, etc and didn’t really start eating well until a few years ago – but I still struggle with sweets and dairy!!) I take FCLO daily and when I do along with avoiding sugars and lots of grains I’m rarely sick. My daughter has a sensitivity to dairy which shows up as reflux, trouble sleeping and terrible eczema flares, and I am starting to wonder if there is something else that bothers her as she is still having some rashes and I’ve cut dairy almost altogether recently. I do still nurse and that’s been a struggle to avoid as I LOVE cheese and milk products. When I’m not as careful about diet and she’s around sick kids she will get a runny nose. Occasional stomach bugs but it’s skin and sinus stuff for her. For my husband it’s sinus problems all the way… And worse when he has dairy, processed grains and is affected by major weather changes. It’s frustrating how it can be such a mystery at times or such a struggle to always be “doing the right thing” and I daily have to call upon The Lord to help us and rest in His grace. Thank you Katie for sharing your thoughts- I love following your blog and recently taught my daughter some good knife skills thanks to your videos!!!

  13. I sometimes wonder the same things you talked about above. My sons always seem to get bronchitis or walking pneumonia in November each year since they were one. I have eliminated different foods in their diets to no avail. This year, we have added homemade elderberry syrup to their diets. One teaspoon each day for them to hopefully keep them healthy in a school filled with germy sick kids.

    I am pretty sure I have some underlying sensitivities, but can’t quite nail it down. I wish I could kick the sugar habit again. It sneaks up on me each year!

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