Probiotics – Gold or Pyrite

Sickness – Children’s Unwelcomed Companion

There are many wonderful things that come into your life when you have kids. However, along with those wonderful things, a few unpleasant stowaways weasel their way into your life.

One of those undesired stowaway’s…illness. When you have kids, no one tells you that you should expect to be sick six months out of the year.

Our first-born was a summer birthday, which meant my wife’s maternity leave ended just as winter was beginning. After an exhaustive search, we placed him in the best day care with the most reasonable price.

Over the next six months, he brought home sickness after sickness with him. He seemed to have a baseline cold that lasted the entire winter. As an added bonus he branched out to an ear infection, strep throat, and pink eye. He of course was kind enough to share his ailments with my wife and I.

By the time the next winter rolled around my wife was pregnant with our second son. She then stayed home with both boys during her maternity leave. Giving us a bit of a break from the germ warfare that is daycare.

By the following winter we had two incubators of disease on our hands. We had switched to an in home daycare for financial reasons, which meant a whole new set of germs for my oldest. Surprisingly my oldest faired relatively well in the new environment. However, my youngest was another story.

He spent his first winter with 4 separate cases of ear infections, including a particularly nasty case of a double ear infection.

More Sickness

I won’t bore you with the details of a year-by-year breakdown of each of their ailments. Needless to say, the subsequent five years brought with it pneumonia, several cases of pink eye, and more ear infections than I care to remember.

As they built up their immunity and had some consistency at their final preschool, the sicknesses decreased. In their final year of preschool, we were only missing a handful of days of work to stay home with them.

If I were more masochistic, I’d add up the cost of their illnesses over this time. Between doctor’s visits, multiple gallons of antibiotics, and missed work, the number has to be staggering.

School Begins

This past year our youngest joined our oldest in elementary school. As he has been our sickly child, we anticipated the new germs in this new environment would lead to more sickness, and more antibiotics, and more missed work.

As winter dawned, we braced ourselves for the sick days to start piling up. Then they didn’t. As word went around the school that kids were dropping like flies, we put our bosses on ready alert…days would be missed. Then they weren’t.

As the school year ended, we somehow managed to get through the entire year without a single sick day. The worst ailment that befell either of our children was a runny nose for a day or two, nothing that would justify taking them out of school.

Our pediatrician must think we switched doctors. We went from weekly visitors to disappearing altogether. How did we go from daily colds, monthly ear infections, and the odd case of pink eye to a clean bill of health for an entire school year?

Probiotics

A few years ago during the third or fourth ear infection of the season, our pediatrician and chiropracter recommended Probiotics. These are a supplement which are touted as a way to bolster your natural immunity, among other health benefits. (Here’s a link to the specific brand we use, it’s more expensive, but my wife swears by them.)

Unfortunately, we weren’t as consistent with them as we could have been. Only remembering to give it to them after they had gotten sick. My natural skepticism coupled with lackluster results (mostly due to our inconsistency) created doubts about the efficacy of probiotics.

But this past year, we were more proactive. Mixing in a half a capsule’s worth of the powder into their orange juice a couple mornings each week. The results speak for themselves.

I admit a one-year sample size is not much to go on. After the previous years riddled with sickness, a year without doctors bills, antibiotics, or sick days is all I need to convince me.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and would encourage you to consult your medical professional prior to using probiotics.

Disclaimer #2: This page contains an affiliate link. Using it to make a purchase will help support this site at no additional cost to you. 

6 Comments

  1. I know what you are talking about. When my daughter started nursery we had some sleepless nights too. And now that the second is around we have to be more cautious. Fortunately my wife is a stay at home mom, so not attending nursery when we know there is a critical period is not a big deal. They all remained home in the last two weeks because there was a virus around and we wanted to protect our younger one.
    And can totally relate the prevention treatment with probiotics, my wife starts to give it to them immediately when she get warned that there is a bad boy around.

  2. My doctor recommended probiotics to me this past summer when I came down with an illness weeks before I was expected to travel out of the country. I continued to take them while I was in Peru due to all the food related illnesses that people had prepared me for. And I tell you what, I swear by them now too.

  3. I am a big fan of make your own (things like sauerkraut, which is both a pro and pre biotic). I also do kefir and sneak a little into my kids drinks to give them an extra boost.

    1. My wife’s a big fan of kefir, but the texture has always bothered me, but my kids both like it, so that should help them with some extra probiotics. I know we’re early in the season, but so far everyone is healthy (fingers crossed it stays that way).

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