The Health Lounge pregnant woman and child

Vaccinating your child?

I’ve always avoided this topic because it is so emotive and controversial and if you are looking for answers as to whether or not you should vaccinate your child, I’m afraid this is the wrong place to look.

In my personal view, it is not a question of whether or not it is best to vaccinate as both sides have equally good arguments. It is really just a question of doing what is best for your child, remembering that every child is unique.

I know that for some parents whether to vaccinate your child or not is a huge decision that is often accompanied by a lot of guilt and confusion. I suggest that before you make the decision you find a Functional Medicine doctor who can spend some time with you and your child and help guide you to making the safest decision for your child’s particular situation.

I’ve just read a great article that I would like to share with you because it is about how to prepare your child for vaccinations. It is written by Dr Fitzgerald, a Functional Medicine doctor based in Connecticut. You can read the full article here.

Can your child be at risk of developing a vaccine-related condition?

When considering the topic of vaccinations, it is important to think of your child’s health and genetic susceptibilities. According to Fitzgerald, there are specific factors that researchers have found increase a child’s risk of developing adverse effects from vaccinations.

These factors include:

  • a medical or family history of autoimmunity or allergy
  • a negative reaction to a previous vaccine
  • being an asymptomatic carrier of autoantibodies
  • having genetic variations in the HLA gene family.   

If your child falls into one of these categories, then chat to your doctor about what extra precautions you can take before vaccinating and how you can adjust the vaccination schedule to decrease the risks of adverse side effects.

How can you prepare your child before a vaccination?

The table below outlines Fitzgerald’s recommendations but please note, as she says herself: “these recommendations are of course no guarantee of outcome”.

To begin:

  • Do not vaccinate when your child is sick or around people who are sick.
  • If your child is at daycare, try to vaccinate on a Friday to avoid your child being exposed to other sick children at daycare.
  • Think about the food your child eats as well as their environment – pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar or junk food; pollutants such as cigarette smoke; and other toxins found in baby care and home care products put unnecessary stress on the body.

Step 1: Begin 3 weeks before vaccinating and continue for 1 week after.

IMPORTANT: Please talk to your healthcare provider before beginning these recommendations and please ensure you choose only paediatric-specific products.

For ages 5-12 months, per day:For ages 1-5 years, per day:
Vitamin D (800 IU)
Vitamin A (1,500 IU)
Omega 3 (500 mg/d EPA + DHA)
Probiotics (1/4-1/2 tsp)
Vitamin D (1,200 IU)
Vitamin A (2,000 IU)
Omega 3 (1,000 mg/d EPA + DHA)
Probiotics (1/2 tsp)

Step 2: For the ‘critical three days’ (the day before, the day of, and the day after vaccination).

Keep your child hydrated and also let them enjoy the following bath.

Chamomile, elder flowers &/or lemon balm:-
– steep 1 cup of dried herbs in 8 cups water
– keep covered and boil for 30 minutes
– strain and pour into a warm bath
– add Epsom salts to the water.

I would like to end this blog with these very wise words from Dr Michael Stone:

“I  have had family members crippled with polio in Pullman, Washington; a cousin who died at age 10, 8 hours after the initial symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis in Corvallis, Oregon; I have held babies dying of diphtheria in Thailand and have watched young children in our under vaccinated community develop ventilator dependent pertussis in north Idaho. On the other hand,  I have also watched more than one child following an MMR at 18 months (Medford, Oregon) develop severe fever and started tumbling down the autism spectrum disorder abyss.

It is exactly because these two extremes have been lived through by me that I feel this is where the balance of this conversation needs to be had. Right smack dab in the middle of these opposing realities: to have vaccines or not to have vaccines in our clinic practice is not the answer.” Michael Stone, MD.