It’s that time of year again- the are going back to school and coming in to my naturopathic medical clinic in droves for various needs. As a naturopath, I am able to help in many ways. I am doing lots of school right now and find them a great way to check in with my young patient population to make sure they are on the right track. For example, I diagnosed a young man with bulimia and helped him get treatment when a conversation evolved about his low weight for his height and age during a physical he needed to be on the wrestling team. Luckily, most kids pass their sports physicals with flying colors and I get the pleasure of watching them grow and thrive and enjoy the benefits of exercise and community that being on a sports team provides.

Other kids are coming in lately for health complaints ranging from and to coughs and upper infections. Their parents are wisely bringing them in to see me now to help them start the school year off in the best of health.

It is always amazing to me how quickly colds are spread around classrooms. As soon as school starts, my schedule fills up with kids with coughs and sniffles. My mentor called school “the communal germ pool.” It is so true!

Like any doctor, when I have a patient come in with upper respiratory symptoms, I do a thorough interview and find out if they have a and if so how severe, when it occurs and what seems to trigger it. I ask about sinus pressure, nasal discharge, sore throat, ear pain, eye issues, appetite and digestion, sleep and mood. Then, I do a physical exam including eye and ear check, lung sounds and respiratory rate, throat and tonsil check, feeling for swollen lymph nodes, blood oxygen level, heart rate and temperature checks. If the tonsils are swollen, I may do a strep culture. Then, I recommend a natural treatment plan which always includes a homeopathic remedy that matches their symptom picture, home hydrotherapy, diet changes such as eliminating sugar and diary, and a vitamin and or herbal prescription. I recommend lots of rest and fluids and keeping your kids home until they are totally better to avoid a relapse that may become severe.

Enjoy the waning summer warmth and embrace the rhythm of getting back into the school routine. If you want your kids to thrive this year, consider consulting with a naturopathic doctor to optimize their health and learning potential.

Margaret Philhower, ND