In my experience as a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner, I have observed an increase in all sorts of health concerns in recent years- especially in our children. From food allergies, gut dysfunction, immune compromise, resistant allergies, and neuro-inflammation sometimes after typical infections.

As a mom of young children and a Functional Medicine Certified practitioner, this concerns me- it’s scary, it’s alarming, and unfortunately even my own son has experienced some of these symptoms. This has led me on a quest to dig in deeper into some of the root causes for all of this dysfunction, and reach out to educate parents and be a resource for safe and effective treatment. While conventional medicine approaches may be helpful or take the edge off for a short time, adding more medications, antibiotics, steroids, food restrictions is often not a long term solution for these health concerns. My approach includes working with the whole body, restoring balance and immune function, and healing the gut that so much of the immune system and neurological system relies on.

I speak with parents all too frequently who have noticed changes in their child’s behavior. Compulsive behavior, OCD, tics, changes in motor skills or accidents, and bouts of rage may be signs of neuroinflammation. While some anxiety or behavior issues are normal, if you notice a sudden onset or a change that happened around a certain illness or stressful event- please get your child checked out by a Functional Medicine Practitioner!

In the past decade, incidence of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS) has been steadily on the rise. PANS and PANDAS presents in many ways, but some include anxiety, OCD, tic disorder, issues with motor skills and behavior, fear of food or food restrictions- and more due to neuroinflammation. I was horrified when I saw my little boy (6 years old) develop a tic with his hands and his tongue/lips after an infection but luckily I had the tools and knowledge and knew what to do.

No detail is too small or unimportant- I recognize the importance of listening in detail to my patient’s personal stories as well as their medical histories in order to make connections between their experience and what is going on with their health and symptoms. It takes time, patience, and experience. We investigate and uncover layers of complexity, identify root causes, and then create a plan to restore balance and heal.

My passion is to bring this information to the forefront, and alert all the parents and grandparents I know that conditions like this are out there but there are resources that can help! With heart, soul and experience of a well-trained practitioner this puzzle can be solved! My son healed quickly, and his symptoms have resolved. I did a lot of work on gut repair, heavily supported his immune system, and treated neuro-inflammation. If you have any concerns that a child you know may be affected by some sort of neuro-inflammation, please reach out to me. I am putting myself out there to help heal those children in need, they need a voice. There is hope and there are practitioners out there that believe in a holistic, functional approach to health- working with the body to heal itself, not against it. No detail is too small or unimportant when talking to your healthcare practitioner about your or your child’s health. I recognize the importance of listening in detail to my patient’s personal stories as well as their medical histories in order to make connections between their experience and what is going on with their health and symptoms. It takes time, patience, and experience. We investigate and uncover layers of complexity, identify root causes, and then create a plan to restore balance and heal. Together, we can help build our children up, support their gut, brains, and immune systems and see amazing and quick results. I aim to always be an advocate, resource, and supportive practitioner- not just for children dealing with neuroinflammation- but for you & your whole family!

Neuroinflammation is the body’s way of telling us something is out of balance and it can result from often multiple, complex reasons. From a child with a change in behavior to an adult with brain fog, anxiety or depression, I am here to help you. I want to hear your story. I want to help piece together the broken pieces, and together we WILL find a solution!

Peace and Love to you All,

Theresa Hernandez APN/CNP, IFMCP
Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and
Certified Functional Medicine Provider