Wait…wait! Don’t skip this one right away. You’re probably thinking, what the heck is “viral gastroenteritis” and “why should I care?” Basically, this is really bad diarrhea with vomiting, which are common symptoms of the stomach flu, but it can actually kill you. Medscape reports “acute gastroenteritis is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.” The National Institute of Health had determined “viral gastroenteritis causes millions of cases of diarrhea each year” – which may sound benign, but can quickly progress into a dangerous, and potentially deadly situation.
“Acute” means sudden onset, and self-limiting (the disease will resolve within days with either recovery or death)
“Viral” means caused by a virus, for which modern medicine has little defense. Very often if someone is admitted to the ED with a presentation of acute gastroenteritis, it is assumed to be bacterial and antibiotics are given immediately.
“Gastro” means involving the organs of digestion: stomach, and small/large intestines “enter” usually refers to the inner lining of above named organs; “itis” always means inflammation
The most deadly complication of acute viral gastroenteritis is dehydration – when a person is unable to replace the fluids and electrolytes rapidly lost through vomiting and diarrhea. If symptoms of severe dehydration such as stupor or loss of consciousness, high fever, seizures, tenting of the skin and an ashen, sullen appearance are present, attempts at oral rehydration may not be effective – this is an emergent situation that requires immediate professional care.
So, when my three-year-old started vomiting, with explosive diarrhea (not pretty, I know. He’ll hate me later for writing about it!), and wasn’t able to keep anything down – that’s when we called Children’s Hospital Colorado to let them know we are coming. (Please, if you see these symptoms call 911 or go directly to your nearest ED.) There are no herbal teas or syrups or electuaries that can help when your kiddo literally can’t keep anything down. Even Tylenol is a moot point.
In this situation, next to IV fluids, homeopathic medicine is the only medicine that I have found safe, and effective. It is not necessary for someone to even swallow a dose, just to smell or to have the skin come in contact with a remedy that has been diluted in water will be effective. I tried to “self-prescribe” for my kiddo (while we are on the way to the hospital), not really realizing that I was frantic and not centered at all. I was definitely in a stressed out, freaked out mommy kinda state, desperate to get my kiddo the help that he needed and FAST! I tried a couple quick homeopathic remedies, dissolved in water and applied to his lips with a sponge…which helped for an hour, after which he relapsed and there was no time to waste.
No wonder I wasn’t able to see his case clearly, I was a basket case on my own.
4 days later…
We are finally discharged from the hospital. The next morning, Jimmy relapses. Vomiting, diarrhea – the whole scenario again. This time, I got wise and called our family Naturopath, Dr. Gregory Pais. He was able to fit me in that morning, as I explained the urgency of the situation, and he took Jimmy’s case over the phone.
He asked me questions like “what brought this on?” and “has he had this before?” and “what does his tongue look like?” and “can you describe his emotional state?” and within 30 minutes (with one break to help Jimmy to the bathroom, and then back to bed – poor little guy!) Dr. Pais had a remedy in mind for Jimmy: Chamomilla.
I was kinda kicking myself at this point for not having thought of that before. Of course, Chamomilla! He’s cranky, watery stool, restless, wants to be left alone, abdominal cramping…for which I was giving Arsenicum, Pulsatilla, Cina, Colocynthis (all of which have worked in the past) but without any outstanding results.
Dr. Pais had me dissolve the Chamomilla (which I keep stocked in my Homeopathic First Aid Kit) in water and give Jimmy a few drops on his lips from a spoon every 15 minutes until symptoms improved. Three doses and 45 minutes later, Jimmy is sipping on Pedialyte (this is better for dehydration than plain water and it is lower in sugar than Gatorade; if you don’t have this on hand put a pinch of salt in a glass of watered down juice and encourage the dehydrated person to take small sips), and he’s out of bed, playing with his toys.
Incredible. Even with the underlying chronic condition of Hirschsprung’s Disease, Jimmy rallied and has been fully recovered, and a lot happier since. Thank you, Dr. Pais and Thank you Homeopathy!