Getting a second opinion from medical professionals can benefit all sorts of medical conditions--not just allergies. Will it cost a little more money? Maybe a few extra co-pays, but in the long run, I think it is better.
For instance, my sons now have three kinds of doctors: A regular, allopathic pediatrician, a pediatric allergist and a naturopathic physician.
- The allopathic pediatrician tends to give vaccinations, run annual weight and measurement checks and prescribe medications such as antibiotics and other strong, immediate-response medicines.
- The pediatric allergist will run allergy skin prick tests, blood tests when necessary and challenge tests when both of the former are negative. The allergist is also focused what medications might help avoid seasonal allergies from growing into illness and what medications are need for severe allergic reactions such as an Epi-Pen.
- The naturopathic physician is a fully licensed doctor with as many years of schooling as a regular doctor. But the focus here is on the person’s health as a whole and to identify what might be missing from a person’s body that is causing illness or other problems. Then the solution is giving or supplementing the missing thing to allow the person to heal their own body, perhaps more slowly but also more solidly.
Does it sound complicated? Sometimes it is. Often the doctors have different opinions about how to handle our sons’ illnesses which can be confusing and frustrating. Other times, I appreciate the two-against-one sort of outcome because it helps me to see the situation more clearly by separating out the different doctors' methodologies and focus.
Here’s an example: Last spring seasonal pollen was very high. My son was wheezing. I took him to the naturopath and then the allopathic doctor in the same day. The naturopath gave him some supplements to help his breathing and suggested the situation warranted a breathing treatment inhalant. Because he isn’t licensed to prescribe that kind of medication he wanted me to see the allopathic physician. Once I was at the next office, the allopathic physician thought my son needed not only the breathing treatment inhalant, but also steroids and antibiotics. Later, at home when I called and advised the naturopath physician of this solution, he disagreed, but left it to my discretion. I gave my son the inhalant for one week and the steroids because it seemed like he needed them to get over this wheezing problem. But I didn’t give him the antibiotics because he didn’t have a fever so I thought he didn’t have a sinus infection. It turned out that he was fine without the antibiotics.
Here’s where the second and third opinion helped: The allopathic (regular pediatric) physician said there was nothing wrong with steroids for a few days. But there was an impact that has lasted for over four months. My son developed a rash from the steroids that we gave him for just a few days. Beating down the rash with months of probiotics wasn’t working. It was not until I bought several over the counter creams, washes and powders to kill off the candida fungus did the rash start to subside. I also wonder what other negative impacts occurred that are invisible to me.
While the naturopath said the steroids caused the rash problem by empowering bad bacteria and fungus in my son's system, I also heard the pediatrician say they wouldn’t cause any problems if only taken for a few days and he didn't think the rash was due to the steroids (even though it appeared right after taking them). But then the scales tipped for me when the pediatric allergist said that we should avoid oral steroids. A preventative seasonal allergy medication is worth taking to avoid the onset of wheezing and thus the need for steroids. I think the problem with steroids is that they do throw the body’s balance off which is not something a parent wants for a child who has food allergies since the delicate balance of intestinal health is probably the source of the problem in the first place.
Sometimes I feel frustrated by one doctor or another. But I also really like each of my sons’ doctors as people. I do believe they all mean well and only want to do the best for my children. So I will continue to obtain doctors' advice and opinions as each have different personalities, educations, philosophies about the right way to treat and heal.
I think one of the most difficult parts of being a parent involves weighing the information and making an informed decision. How could I be fully informed if I only had a single professional opinion? Getting second and third opinions is a good thing. Maybe it is more complex, but it is more complete.