At the Thermes de Cauterets, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, the little ones also play hydrotherapy. These three weeks of care, during the summer or the All Saints holidays, should allow children to spend the winter without respiratory infections or ear infections that antibiotics can no longer control.
The principle of spa treatment
In a bathrobe in curls of sulfur, sitting next to her two sons whose faces are eaten away by a mask, this mother is delighted to communicate her enthusiasm: “Ah, if we had known this treatment earlier! »Ruben, his eldest 8 years, manifested respiratory problems from birth. Bronchitis and bronchiolitis quickly followed one another. “We went from pediatrician to pediatrician. He was taking so many drugs that his growth was slowed down, his face was swollen from the corticosteroids. He missed school every other week. So, when he entered CP, we said to ourselves that something really had to be done. Finally, a doctor told us about the spa treatment. Yes, three weeks is complicated, but when it really works, we don’t hesitate. From the first cure, last year, it was miraculous. Now he is spending the winter without medication. ”
Take the test: if you say spa treatment, your interlocutors will think of whirlpools, massages, calm and voluptuousness … Here, crenotherapy for children suffering from ENT disorders is not very pleasant, even less voluptuous. . We practice bathing, showering or irrigating the nose, aerosolizing, sniffing or gargling, all in a pleasant smell of rotten eggs, since these cures owe their benefits to the sulfur content of their water. . The airways are the most efficient and easiest way to get sulfur into the body. The principle of thermal cures is based on maximum impregnation of the mucous membranes with sulfur water. The children receive around 18 treatments spread over XNUMX days, two hours a morning. The cure is not a miracle cure, but a therapeutic component among others.
Until about the age of 7, all children develop illnesses that adapt to their microbial environment. Whenever they have rhinitis, they become immune to it. Nasopharyngitis is also unavoidable. But when these classic and inevitable diseases turn into repeated acute otitis, bronchitis, acute laryngitis or pharyngitis, sinusitis, then the situation becomes pathological. Some little ones are seen every week by an ENT doctor. They take antibiotics five or six times in the winter, have had adenoids removed, drains in the ears (diabolos) and yet continue to have serous ear infections, which can lead to hearing loss.
The course of care
The youngest curists are generally 3 years old: before this age, it is difficult to perform certain treatments, too unpleasant, too invasive. This is confirmed with Mathilde, 18 months, cute to eat in her white bathrobe. The little girl only accepts nebulizations in the room (fog room). Even his brother, Quentin, a four and a half year old, shows strong reluctance when it comes to switching to manosonic spray, which, it is true, produces a strange feeling in the ears. A little further on, echoing the parents of the little boy, we hear another mother: “Come on my little heart, it won’t be long. It’s not funny, but you have to do it. ”
Otherwise, and it is surprising, the children lend themselves rather with good grace to these ablutions of a particular kind. The “kékékéké” resonate all over the place: the syllable that the curists must repeat when they carry out a nasal bath to prevent the water poured into the nostril from entering the mouth. Gaspard and Olivier, 6-year-old twins, say they love all treatments. All ? Olivier still has his eye riveted on the clock while he sniffs the thermal water. Her mother shakes her head: “No, it’s not over, two more minutes.” After this treatment, the boys will be entitled to a whirlpool foot bath, a real reward! In a cabin, Sylvie and her daughter Claire, 4, immersed themselves in the bubbles of sulfur water. “That she loves!” Sylvie exclaims. This is what motivates her. The rest is not very funny. This is our second cure. For my son, the first year has already been very beneficial, he hasn’t been sick all winter. For us, the results were less spectacular. Like Sylvie, some parents, who are also prone to respiratory problems, take the treatment at the same time as their children. Otherwise, they just accompany the little ones, and do their best to encourage and entertain them.
Nathan, almost 5 years old, is also coming to Cauterets for the second year in a row. He is accompanied by his grandmother. “Last year he arrived with a very damaged eardrum and when we left the eardrum was very beautiful. This is why we are making the effort to come back. We take turns with the parents. Three weeks is heavy. But the result is there. It encourages us. “
Three weeks of treatment, the minimum
Three weeks of treatment is the period from which Social Security covers the treatment (€ 441) at 65%, the parents’ mutual insurance company having to supplement. Accommodation is an additional cost. This imposed duration represents a strong constraint, especially when it is advisable to renew the treatment once or twice. This is one of the reasons which explains the disaffection encountered by hydrotherapy over the past fifteen years. Families are less used (and less inclined) to mobilize three weeks a year, even in summer, even in a bucolic setting. Antibiotic therapy has progressed and has supplanted these natural methods. For their part, the doctors, less informed of this mode of treatment and sometimes skeptical, prescribe much less cures. “However, in children, we have very good results,” assures Dr Tribot-Laspierre, ENT at the Lourdes hospital. The patients I send here in the summer, I don’t see them during the year. This protocol is a way to help them move on, to finish building their natural immunity. “According to a study carried out in 2005 on serum-mucous otitis:” The problem of deafness in children needs to be resolved before entering the large section of kindergarten or the preparatory course. And the spa treatment remains the only possibility to normalize the parameters of the hearing when all the other techniques have failed. ”
This mother confirms it: “My son had serous ear infections. It’s not painful, he wasn’t complaining. But he was losing his hearing. You had to get 10 cm from his face for him to hear. The teacher came to speak to him in sign language. These are loud talkers who are restless. It’s complicated for those around you. From the first treatment, we saw a big difference. »In the afternoon, the small curists are free. They take a nap or tree climbing, visit the Honey Bee Pavilion, or eat berlingots (a specialty of Cauterets). History that these three weeks still have an air of vacation.
Cauterets thermal baths, tel. : 05 62 92 51 60; www.thermesdecauterets.com.
Focus on children’s homes
The director of Mary-Jan, the Cauterets Children’s Home, insists: yes, the children who are welcomed here for three weeks in the summer or on All Saints’ Day, without their parents, come to benefit from the spa treatment. But the care that is offered is comprehensive and includes health and food education. The little residents therefore learn to blow their noses well, wash their hands regularly and eat properly. Accommodation, catering and care are 80% covered by Social Security and 20% by mutual insurance. Children’s homes work a little on the model of summer camps, but the mornings are devoted to the care provided in the thermal baths in the company of other children who are accompanied by their parents. When they come to All Saints’ Day, school monitoring is provided. Depending on the approvals they have obtained, the houses receive children from 3 or 6 years old, up to 17 years old. But this type of reception, like thermal cures in general, has lost some of its appeal. These children’s homes were nearly a hundred twenty years ago. Today, there are only about fifteen left in all of France. One of the reasons: parents today are very reluctant to let their child go away from them for such a long period.
More info: Mary-Jan Children’s Home, tel. : 05 62 92 09 80; e-mail: email@example.com.