My 4 year old DS is starting Pre-K in September. He is unvaxxed as well as my 11 month old DS. Not (too) worried about the 4 year old being exposed to anything as he is in great health, breastfed for 2.5 years and we all eat (fairly) healthy for the most part.
I *am* worried about him bringing something home to my unvaxxed, formula fed 11 month old. (The story behind the reason he is formula fed can be found here if you are interested.) http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1333532/i-think-i-know-what-i-have-to-do-final-update
I am a worrier by nature and would rather think about this now than stress about it later. Any ideas to keep both my boys safe and healthy? Looking for ideas on supplements, signs to look for, what to worry about and what not to worry about. I could really use stories and experiences from other moms who have their unvaxxed kids in public school.
Wife to - Mama to DS 6/08 and DS 9/11
A tad socially awkward
Sorry, I was trying to catch up on your breastfeeding thread! You HAVE had a very difficult time!
I think the biggest thing to worry about would be pertussis--but that is most often a serious problem for babies under 6 months old, so that wouldn't worry me particularly if he is in excellent health.
When children were growing up in the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's, the only disease anyone really worried about polio. It seems unlikely that your baby would be exposed to polio, but if you are worried about that, you could consider a polio vaccination for him.
Measles and mumps are not dangerous to the vast majority of young children, nor is rubella (and the recent whistleblower lawsuit against Merck by its own virologists indicates that the MMR is not nearly as effective on rubella as claimed). Chickenpox is extremely annoying, but is not dangerous for the vast majority of healthy children.
If your baby is not in daycare, then rotavirus is not likely to be an issue at all. It's also a very recent addition to the schedule, and is unlikely to be an issue anywhere in the developed world, as it is caused by feces-tainted water.
The rest of the vaccines were not part of the recommended schedule 30 years ago and more, and healthy children (with no underlying health issues) in developed countries were not dying by the thousands from the diseases they prevent.
My gut reaction is that a healthy, balanced diet, adequate sleep/fresh air/exercise, exposure to some sunshine/vitamin D supplement, and a minimum of sugar intake is all that's needed to maximize the chances that he would fight off any virus without complications.
Thanks taximom! and thanks for taking the time to read my thread. Yes, I have had a rough time with both children, and the 11 month old still doesn't let me get much sleep. Add that to first day of school jitters and me being a worrier.
I'm not so much worried about polio because I know the statistics - but I have to be honest -meningitis scares the heck out of me. But I would never let him get the vax. My first has high functioning autism and (even though we dont know for sure if there is a connection) I feel that for any kind of vax (even just one), the risks outweigh any (supposed) benefits.
Wife to - Mama to DS 6/08 and DS 9/11
A tad socially awkward
My teens go to school and my youngest is homeschooled. She is 9, and somewhat prone to lung infections (long story).
I do not worry about most VPD's - they are quite rare. I also do not worry about her catching the milder ones, although given her tendency to develop lung infections, the ideas of any sickness in her bothers me more than the idea of her siblings catching something.
My goal for the upcoming year is to decrease the likeliness of her catching things and help her immune system.
I am hoping to impress upon my DH and the older 2 siblings the need for good hand washing and not spreading things around.
I am also hoping to keep everyone in good shape - lots of sleep, good food, Vit. C and D. I am going to insist youngest DD take up a sport this winter - partly to give her lungs a bit more exercise. I also intend to be more diligent with dust and any mold/must that might grow in basement, bathrooms, etc - in a non-chemically way, of course!
I have not ruled out a pneumonia vax for youngest DD - but I really need to do more research on it.
There is a battle of two wolves inside us. One is good and the other is evil. The wolf that wins is the one you feed.
Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?). We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...
Both of my kids are in school and neither have had any vaxes to date. Their school is a K-12 with an enrollment of over a thousand.
When my DD started preschool, DS was almost 6 months old. I was most concerned about pertussis at that stage, and any bacterial type infections, but not to the point that I felt compelled to rush out and get them vaccinated obviously.
Now DS is 4.5 years old and DD is almost eight. There really hasn't been a lot of "older kid bringing home illness to the younger one" in this house. It actually seems to go the other way around as both have noticeably different immune systems. Even though both are not vaxed and both were extended BFed (until 3+ years each), DS has had far more colds, URIs, ear infections and the like. His sister didn't even have an EI until she was 4 years old (something she picked up at preschool, yippee). So, although you are concerned about that aspect, it is not always the case that the elder child transmits viruses and bacterial infections to the younger one.
Your 4 year old will probably pick up a few bugs that year...it's just part and parcel of a bunch of kids swapping germs, especially at that age when they're often putting their hands in their mouths or rubbing their eyes (and drippy noses) and not washing those sticky hands until snack time. My DD was absurdly healthy until preschool and then she started getting the first round of URIs and EIs, nothing serious though.
We did not encounter any VADs either. Honestly, of ones in preschool and the lower grades, I'd imagine the most likely candidates, if at all, would be pertussis and perhaps, maybe chickenpox (haven't seen it here yet). But there will be plenty of colds, bacterial bugs, gastro bugs and the like.
Right now, in Australia, we're into the last few weeks of winter, and the absences in school have increased quite a bit due to the flu and a host of other viral URIs going around. My DD had a fever last week, I dosed her on elderberry and vit C, it lasted one day, and she was fine. My DS has been fighting a viral bug for the past three weeks now (docs have confirmed it's viral and nothing to be done but ride it out), so I'll be happy when spring is finally here (although that's usually when our pertussis cases peak, so there's that to contend with).
Honestly, all you can do is read and research. Be familiar with each VAD, just in case. Practice healthy living...really good diet, supplements, adequate sleep, minimize stress, get fresh air/sun/exercise...all that stuff.
Edited to add: we did have notices go up last November (in spring, like I mentioned) of confirmed pertussis cases at the school. I was not overly concerned because we'd already had it go through our house the year before and DS had it and recovered without complications. DD had been exposed (but not infected) during that bout and I suspect also at school, but has not come down with it to date. Pertussis rates here are fairly high (91 per 100,000), but I've had experience with treating it already so it's not something I lose sleep over.
Mother to DD#1 s/b @40w 2003 for unknown reasons; DD#2 9.5 years old; DS 6 years old
Why are daughters protected but not sons?
If your child does get sick (and that's fairly likely), you might want to think now about how you want to handle it.
I do think it can exacerbate problems to give children medications (prescription, over-the-counter, or even naturopathic) for the slightest little sniffle, cough, or fever.
With most common viruses, I think the best thing is to let the child get lots of rest, keep him well-hydrated, give him nourishing, easy-to-digest foods, and let his body do its job. If there is a fever, it's there to do a job--to kill the virus or bacteria. Unless it's a super-high fever, it's rather counter-productive to give Tylenol or Ibuprofen just to lower the fever. It'll take the body a little LONGER to get the better of the virus when you cut off the fever like that.
However, if a child is absolutely miserable, with headache and aching joints/muscles, then I do think there is some benefit to giving Tylenol or Ibuprofen. They can rest better if they are not horribly uncomfortable. And always call the doctor when the fever is high.
As for the common cold, I think the body does best if you just let the virus run its course--no antihistamines, no decongestants. I don't even bother with saline sprays. I've found that the less we interfere, the shorter and milder the cold, and that successive colds are usually even shorter and even milder. My kids haven't gotten a cold in years now, and I think that's pretty much how the immune system is supposed to work.
In my experience, humidifiers make colds much, much worse, but that may be some kind of wacky thing with our family. I know doctors always recommend humidifiers. Be aware, though, that cool-mist humidifiers add mold spores and bacteria to the air, which doesn't exactly help things.
My kids (2 1/2 yrs and 4 months) are not in school yet, but they were both predominantly formula fed and have never been vaccinated. I know it's not the same as school, but my toddler is enrolled in several classes, and is around kids a lot. For the little one, there isn't much I can do except mix a probiotic and a D3 supplement into his formula every day. For my toddler, we try to get plenty of sleep (harder now with the baby!), eat well, and we take a raw multivitamin, probiotics, & lots of D3. I try to give him my special immune boosting hummus 2 or 3 times a week as well. I use a ton of fresh garlic, lots of lemon, and mostly high lignin flax oil with a little olive oil for taste. This always seems to give him an extra boost when he's run down. Also, for the past year, he has been seeing a pediatric acupuncturist, who he LOVES. She uses all non-invasive (no needles) methods for kids, and prescribes a blend of Chinese herbs. I have one formula for every day and another for when he's sick or seems like he's getting sick, or even if he has been exposed to something. He has had one cold since he started seeing her...I know this is part lifestyle and part great luck, but if it's something you have in your area, I would highly recommend it! It's MUCH more affordable than an adult visit, ours charges $40 for my son and we're in the Boston area where stuff like that is really expensive. I know our little ones are missing out on all those great white blood cells, and antibodies in the breast milk, but don't forget that she got lots of antibodies through your placenta too! I know first hand how devastating it can be when lactation doesn't work, but it's not the ONLY way to keep our kids healthy. You're doing your very best, and you sound like a wonderful mom! I haven't read all the posts yet, but what I've read so far is great advice. Try not to worry too much... :)