Treating Childhood Illnesses
THIS PAGE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AS WE ARE NOT DOCTORS. IF YOU THINK YOUR CHILD IS VERY SICK AND REQUIRES MEDICAL ASSISTANCE, SEE A DOCTOR. THIS PAGE CONTAINS EXAMPLES OF WHAT I HAVE DONE TO HELP MY OWN CHILDREN THROUGH ILLNESSES.
THIS PAGE IS WRITTEN PURELY AS ONE MOTHER SHARING HER EXPERIENCES WITH OTHER PARENTS. IF IN DOUBT, ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE FOR YOUR CHILD.
MEASLES - SANSKRIT FOR 'VISITATION BY A GODDESS'
Measles is an old Sanskrit word meaning 'visitation by a Goddess', because the disease was followed by a dramatic improvement in health of the child or by a developmental milestone. Medical studies today still show that infection with measles can cure asthma and even recover seizure disorders like epilepsy (see pro-vaccine arguments page).
Measles begins like a cold with runny nose, sore throat and cough. Sometimes the child might get sticky eyes (conjunctivitis). There will be white spots on the inside of the mouth called Kopliks spots.
3 to 5 days later, a rash will appear, starting behind the ears and on the face. Within a day it will spread to the body. There will be a fever and sometimes vomiting.
Within another 3 to 5 days, the rash disappears and the fever goes away. On very rare occasions, the childs rash may bleed, they may suffer a febrile convulsion or measles encephalitis and death. This is unlikely, though, as according to Medicine Net, measles has a low mortality rate in well nourished healthy children.
ATYPICAL MEASLES SYNDROME (AMS) OF VACCINATED CHILDREN
Measles encephalitis can also occur in vaccinated children as Atypical Measles Syndrome (AMS), as Medicine Net describe: AMS begins suddenly with high fever, headache, cough, and abdominal pain. The rash may appear 1 to 2 days later, often beginning on the limbs. Swelling (edema) of the hands and feet may occur. Pneumonia is common and may persist for 3 months or more.
They blame incorrect vaccine storage on the fact that only vaccinated patients get AMS, or on the old single measles jab, Immunization with inactivated measles virus does not prevent measles virus infection. It can, however, sensitize a person so that the expression of the disease is altered, resulting in AMS.
When my mother got my measles shot in 1978, she was told that was effective. Now they say it isnt. It does not inspire confidence in vaccination when they keep changing their story.
HOW CAN MY CHILD BECOME IMMUNE TO MEASLES?
Again, according to Medicine Net, A child born to a mother who had measles receives immunity from its mother lasting most of the first year of life. One attack of measles provides lifelong immunity there are other studies which show that immunity from mothers milk lasts even longer than that. It is a strong argument against vaccination, as most mothers of this generation will have had the vaccine and therefore their ability to pass on immunity to their children is weakened. This shows that vaccination is actually destroying natural immunity rather than building it.
When my daughter had measles I withheld all food from her. Food feeds a virus as well as the person, and valuable energy is wasted on the digestive system when it should be going to the immune system. Fasting allows the body to rest. We usually don’t feel like eating when we are ill because it is our body’s way of telling us to fast.
I made sure she had regular fluids to avoid dehydration – starting with water and then progressing to fruit juice when she was a little better. Breast milk is also ideal. For her fever, I gave regular doses of Belladonna 6 homeopathy and tepid sponge bathing to prevent any febrile convulsion (which are caused by allowing the temperature to rise too quickly).
I didn’t give any paracetamol or another anti-pyretic because if you try to suppress symptoms you end up pushing them into the body and causing measles complications. According to Medicine Net, ‘Avoid aspirin and all aspirin products. (Aspirin today is not recommended for children or for patients with infectious diseases caused by viruses, because of the association with Reyes syndrome)’. Nearly all measles complications are either in malnourished children or healthy children whose measles was ‘medicated.’
I used calamine lotion on her spots to ease any discomfort. Some alternative medical professionals are against calamine lotion as they say it is also suppressive so you may wish to discuss with your alternative healthcare provider and/or your child's doctor before deciding if you want to do this.
Her rash disappeared after 3 days and she was fully recovered in 8 days and did not get ill (even with a cold) for another year or more afterwards.
MUMPS - THE ILLNESS
Mumps has an incubation period of between 14 and 18 days, after which time there will be swelling of the glands in the neck, in front of the ears. Usually both sides of the neck are affected, but sometimes only one side will become swollen. This is accompanied by a severe sore throat, difficulty in turning the head from side to side and difficulty in opening the mouth. Sometimes there is a fever. The swelling usually lasts 7 to 10 days before the child recovers. (The Boots Family Health Book, 1997, p.174).
When I had mumps as a child I can remember having a sore throat and my neck being very stiff. Other than that, I didnt feel unwell. I quite enjoyed it because my mother let me have ice cream every day to sooth my sore throat. (I wouldnt recommend this course of action, but at the time in my young perception, I thought it was great to have an ice cream diet!).
Possible Complications of Mumps
Sometimes the parotid glands can become infected. If the lymph nodes dont drain the infection correctly, this can cause a cyst on the neck which would need to be removed. This happened to my daughter. If the swelling in the neck turns red in colour, this isnt normal and you should get antibiotic treatment for your child.
My daughter had to have IV antibiotic treatment for 5 days in order to correct the problem. She then recovered without any additional side-effect. I believe she had this complication because she had also had Chickenpox just a few weeks before she got mumps, and her body had more of a challenge in healing from two childhood diseases at once.
Other rare complications include swelling of the ovaries or testes. This usually only happens to adults so the best protection against this is actually getting mumps when youre a child. It should be noted that in males, only one testicle is affected, so even if he does get this complication, he will still be able to father children with the other testicle, and in females, swelling of the ovaries does not impair fertility. In fact, there are studies which show that having mumps protects girls against ovarian cancer later in life. (West RO, Epidemiologic study of malignancies of the ovaries, Cancer 1966;19:1001-7).
Finally, as with all infectious diseases, there is a minor chance of developing viral meningitis as a result of mumps. Viral meningitis is not as serious as bacterial meningitis and people affected with the viral form normally recover. No specific treatment is required for this strain of meningitis (Patterson's Textbook of Sick Children Ed 1971 p613). Only 2.5% of cases in people under 20, resulted in mumps meningitis (Meyer MB. An epidemiological study of mumps as spread in schools and families. Am J Hyg 1962;75:259-81). In the rare event that these after-effects happen, questions should be asked about the previous health of the patient and how the disease was managed, as complications usually arise from incorrect management.
Remedies that I gave my daughter included:
Phytolacca 30 to ease pain of the swollen neck.
Belladonna 30 for fever.
Vitamin C supplements and Echinacea drops to help the immune system.
Fasting to allow the body to heal.
Plenty of drinks of cold water (and breast milk, if youre still breast feeding) and non citrus fruit juices.
Tepid sponging for fever, and use of an electric fan if necessary.
A hot lavender wheat bag, placed around the neck.
Rhus toxicodendron can also be used if the swollen glands are reddish or the sufferer is an adult. It can be used as a nosode (homeopathic immunisation against mumps) if the person is an adult or they have a weak immune system.
All people are different, though, so it is best to consult a qualified homeopath who can tailor remedies to your childs specific needs.
If your childs glands become an angry red colour, this is a sign of infection which requires oral or IV antibiotics. There are natural alternatives to antibiotics, such as tea tree compresses, but your child should be examined by a doctor if you are worried about a secondary infection. This is fairly unusual, and most children with healthy immune systems just recover at home without treatment.
Antibiotics damage the natural flora of the intestines and can weaken the immune system in the long run, so you will need to strengthen your childs constitution after this type of therapy. I gave my daughter supplemental vitamins and pro-biotic drinks to balance her system. It has been 9 months since her mumps and she has only had one minor cold since.
The 1986 Edition Of The BNF (Doctor's Drug Book) States That Mumps Is Too Mild To Require A Vaccine
Since mumps and its complications are very rarely serious there is little indication for the routine use of mumps vaccine": British National Formulary ('BNF') 1985 and 1986.
Just two years later they brought in the MMR vaccine and suddenly started hyping up the risk of meningitis and swollen testicles even though they wrote in their own guide that vaccination was not needed.
Should I Vaccinate?
According to A retrospective study of the complications of mumps' carried out for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in 1974 (Journal RCGP24:552-6), there seems to be a gen¬eral consensus that it is a benign con-dition rarely giving rise to sequelae (long term effects) and It seems clear from this survey that there is little need for general vaccination against mumps.
In comparison, the MMR and single mumps vaccine has numerous side-effects. The Mumpsvax manufacturers data sheet states Parotitis has been reported to occur and orchitis rarely in persons who were vaccinated. (Parotitis is swelling of the parotid glands which is basically mumps and orchitis is swelling of the testicles). Also Forms of optic neuritis, including retrobular neuritis and papillitis may infrequently follow viral infections, and have been reported to occur 1 to 3 weeks following inoculation with some live virus vaccines.
Very rarely encephalitis, febrile seizures, deafness and other nervous system reactions have occurred in vaccinees
The MMR 2 manufacturers data sheet also states: Burning and/or stinging of short duration at the injection site, Fever (101 deg F [38. 3 deg C] or higher), Mild local reactions such as erythema, induration and tenderness; sore throat, malaise, Parotitis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, Regional lymphadenopathy, thrombocytopenia, purpura, Allergic reactions such as wheal and flare at injection site, anaphylaxis and anaphyiactoid reactions, urticaria, Arthralgia and/or arthritis, febrile convulsions in children, afebrile convulsions or seizures, headache, dizziness, paresthesia, polyneuritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, ataxia, Forms of optic neuritis, including retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, and retinitis; ocular palsies, otitis media, nerve deafness, conjunctivitis, orchitis.
There have been reports of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) in children who did not have a history of natural measles but did receive measles vaccine.... possibly from the measles vaccination... systemic reactions including atypical measles, have occurred in persons who received killed measles vaccine.
The vaccine can also cause mumps meningitis and two brands of the vaccine were withdrawn in the UK 1992 for causing a meningitis outbreak. These same vaccines caused another outbreak in Brazil in 1997. An elevated risk of aseptic meningitis was observed 3 weeks after Brazils national vaccination day... The estimated risk of aseptic meningitis was 1 in 14,000 doses. (American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 151, No. 5. 2000).
Im sure youll agree, the vaccine has more side-effects than the disease.
CHICKENPOX - THE ILLNESS
Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a childhood infectious illness. Currently in the UK there is no vaccine but it is being pushed at private clinics, is used for healthcare workers and there are plans to introduce an MMRV vaccine for children (measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox). In the USA, the varicella vaccine is part of the vaccination programme.
Chickenpox is a mild illness which 90% of children will have caught by the time they are 15. If it is caught in childhood, then the child avoids the more serious complications.
According to Bupa Healthcare, chickenpox is almost always harmless... Most children catch chickenpox in the pre-school or early school years and it is almost always a relatively minor illness... Except in rare cases, chickenpox does not strike twice - once you've had it, you are immune for life. (Bupa Healthcare factsheet).
The illness has an incubation period of about 2 weeks. Preceding the rash, there may be headache, fever, sore throat, backache, and general tiredness. Then the rash develops, starting on the face and scalp and spreading to the torso. These look like pimples, which fill with pus. They can be extremely itchy for the child. After a week or two, they will scab over and heal.
Possible Complications Of Chickenpox
Very rarely, complications arise as a result of chickenpox. These include infections of the spots (where the skin becomes red and inflamed) and ear infections. The homeopathic remedy Sulphur can be used if the spots are weeping and pulsatilla can be used for ear infections, along with arnica for pain relief. However, please consult your homeopath as remedies are tailored to each individual child, his symptoms and his emotions. Antibiotics may be offered for cases of infection, although if your child has an ear infection, evidence suggests that antibiotics are not that effective in treating it.
According to the medical journal, Pediatrics, treating ear infections with antibiotics had no benefit compared with doing nothing at all (i.e. you might as well do nothing at all!). 22 children who had ear infections were divided into two groups. One group had antibiotics and the other group had nothing. There was no difference in the number of days ill, severity of illness or in the clinical examination of the ear drum after the illness, in both the groups. The study concluded that antibiotic use is not necessary or beneficial in the treatment of non-severe ear infections. (McCormick DP, et al. Nonsevere acute otitis media: a clinical trial comparing outcomes of watchful waiting versus immediate antibiotic treatment. Pediatrics June 2005; 115(6):1455.).
According to NHS Direct, other severe complications are rare in children. In adults, up to 14% can develop pneumonia as a result of chickenpox. If a woman catches chickenpox while she is pregnant, it usually doesnt do her baby any harm, however, if she has caught the virus within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is a small risk of foetal varicella syndrome in which a baby may have eye defects, limb defects or brain damage. This risk is less than 1% in the first 12 weeks, and between 1 and 2% after 13 weeks. If she catches the virus after 37 weeks, her baby may be born with chickenpox.
Chickenpox can be more serious in newborn babies up to four weeks old so if your baby has it at this age, you should see your doctor. Sometimes they will just monitor the baby regularly to make sure that he is not developing complications . There is also an anti-viral drug available called acyclovir which is supposed to limit any side effects and is prescribed for newborns and those with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients. Breast feeding is also important and may prevent serious complications (see treatment section).
If you are less than 37 weeks pregnant and have been exposed to chickenpox but you already had the illness as a child, there is no risk to your baby. You will have natural immunity which will prevent your baby from getting foetal varicella syndrome.
TREATMENT OF CHICKENPOX
I have nursed all four of my daughters through chickenpox, and my first three daughters had it all at the same time. The two eldest ones did not even feel unwell with it and were still eating meals and running around playing. They got irritated by the itchy spots and would wake in the night, scratching, but that was the extent of the illness. My fourth daughter, Alicia, got it a few years later, and like her sisters, didnt feel ill. She proudly showed off her spots to everyone and told me off for calling her spotty dotty.
I didnt actually give any specific treatment other than vitamin C to support the immune system and calamine lotion to ease the irritation of the itchy spots. To ease discomfort you could also make sure your child is wearing loose clothing and give tepid sponge baths. If your child has a fever, sponge bathing can help. You could also give a homeopathic remedy, such as belladonna. Electric fans have worked wonders on all my family members, when ill, and can help keep a temperature at a steady level and ease headaches and pain.
Lavender patches can also help with headaches. These are self-adhesive patches that you stick on the forehead which contain cooling lavender. They are available from various outlets, including www.moku-reflexology.co.uk, if you want to buy online. Please note, they are not suitable for pregnant women due to danger to the foetus.
Breast feeding can help as your milk contains antibodies to anything in your babys environment including viruses he is exposed to.
If you had chickenpox as a child, you will pass on antibodies to chickenpox in your breast milk, which may prevent or ease the affects of chickenpox on your baby, as well as providing warmth and comfort to him if hes feeling unwell. I breast fed my then 7 month old through chickenpox and it helped to calm and sooth her. I sprayed breast milk on her spots to heal them up quicker, as mothers milk is extremely anti-viral.
Should I Vaccinate?
According to NHS Direct, vaccination is not offered as part of the childhood inoculation programme because in most cases it is a mild illness and around 89% of adults will have developed immunity to it. If the chickenpox vaccine were to be added to the list of childhood vaccinations, it is feared that there would be a greater number of cases of shingles in adults, until the vaccination was given to the entire population. This is because adults who have had chickenpox as a child are less likely to have shingles in later life if they have been exposed occasionally to the chickenpox virus (for example by their children). This is because the exposure acts as a booster vaccine. (i.e. exposure protects you from the illness and having the illness as a child protects you from side effects as an adult).
Despite this, researchers are developing an MMRV vaccine and I am willing to bet that when it hits the market, the NHSs advice on chickenpox and its severity will change.
This chickenpox article was written either in 2007 or 2008 (can't remember exactly), but as I predicted, the newspapers are now saying chickenpox is a deadly killer that kills 50 people a year, when the HPA say it only kills 4-9 immune suppressed people
RUBELLA, OR 'GERMAN MEASLES' - THE ILLNESS
According to Dr. Miriam Stoppard,
'Rubella is a mild infectious disease that is caused by a virus. It has an incubation period of between 14 and 21 days.
The rash starts behind the ears before spreading to the forehead and the rest of the body. It looks more like a large patch of redness rather than a series of spots. The rash lasts two or three days and is rarely accompanied by serious symptoms - just a mild fever and enlarged glands at the back of the neck. The main danger with rubella is not to your child but to any pregnant woman.'
IS IT SERIOUS?
THIS IS NOT A SERIOUS CHILDHOOD ILLNESS.
Like other childhood infectious diseases, there is a slight risk of encephalitis.
Source: Child Health, by Dr. Miriam Stoppard, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1998.
Rubella doesn't usually require treatment, but
1. Keep your child off school or away from groups of other children (unless you are part of a contact network where other parents wish their child to gain natural immunity through exposure).
2. Keep your child away from pregnant women until he is better.
3. If he feels unwell, put him to bed. Rest is a good tonic.
4. If he has a fever, you can make him comfortable with tepid bathing, an electric fan and/or the homeopathic remedy Belladonna 30. I have found the electric fan to work wonders at easing my children's discomfort!
5. Miriam Stoppard suggests paracetamol but there have been studies linking this with complications of childhood disease (I am planning a page on this).
WHOOPING COUGH (PERTUSSIS) - THE ILLNESS
Whooping cough begins like a cold with nasal congestion, watery eyes, cough and sometimes a slight fever. This phase can last for two weeks and in children with strong immune systems, it may be the only phase. They may recover without any additional symptoms and youd never know it was whooping cough.
In children who develop full blown whooping cough, the cough becomes more frequent and occurs in bouts. It may be accompanied by a whooping sound as the child draws in breath. Babies under a year old do not normally whoop so they would just get what would be considered a severe cough. If the coughing bouts are very bad, the child can vomit or have respiratory difficulties. This phase lasts about 3 months and used to be known as the 100 day cough. It is not usually fatal in children over a year old and merely a nuisance for parent and child.
Complications including brain damage and encephalitis can occur in very young babies, especially those who arent breast fed. . According to the DOHs book Immunisation Against Infectious Disease, 1996, severe complications and deaths occur most commonly in infants under six months of age.
WHEN TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL
If your baby develops any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help: turning blue or grey in colour, being unable to catch his breath, becoming glassy eyed, limp or non-responsive, or if he has a convulsion.
Should I Vaccinate?
It should be noted that a baby isnt considered fully immunised until their third shot at 4 months old and as most serious complications occur before six months, there will only be two months in the high risk period where your baby is thought of as protected against the disease, even if you believe in the vaccine and go with the schedule. The vaccine itself can also cause brain damage. According to the World Health Organisation, the rate of brain damage, collapse and convulsions after the vaccine is 1 in every 1,750 doses. They say doses, not per population, and babies are given at least three doses so their actual risk of brain damage from the jab is much higher than that. They also state that 1 in every 100 doses will result in high pitched screaming lasting longer than three hours, which is indicative of neurological irritation. (Cody CL, Baraff LJ, Cherry JD, et al., 1981 (42)). We now have a DTaP vaccine in the 5 in 1 which was supposed to reduce these reactions but it only did so for minor reactions and had no effect on severe reactions.
It should also be noted that DTAP vaccine is not guaranteed to immunise your child. According to Dr. Kari Simonsen, a pediatrician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA, 1 in 5 vaccinated children will still get whooping cough, in addition to the real risks of brain damage. (See Diseases in the vaccinated page for more details).
TREATING WHOOPING COUGH
According to Dr. Miriam Stoppard, allopathic cough medicine should NOT be given for whooping cough. (‘Child Health’, DK books,1998). If a GP diagnoses whooping cough, he may offer antibiotics, as bordetella pertussis is caused by a bacterium and may respond to antibiotics. It should be remembered that these can also depress the immune system.
In a severe case, your baby may be given extra oxygen in hospital.
There are alternative treatments. Homeopathic preparations we gave our daughter included:
Belladonna 30 (for slight fever)
Bryonia 30 (for cough)
Pertussin 30 –this is a nosode which we gave later to stop the persistent cough she developed, which can be an ‘echo’ effect of pertussis. It can be given in more severe cases or to strengthen your child’s immune system if she has any after-effects.
There are other remedies which can be used but these are tailored to the specific child and her symptoms so it’s best to see a registered homeopath rather than self-treat.
We also used a eucalyptus and menthol chest rub which we massaged into her chest several times daily, but you should NOT do this near to a dose of homeopathy as it could counter-act the affects of the homeopathy. If in doubt, speak to a qualified homeopath. Also, you should NOT put eucalyptus anywhere near your baby's face, especially the nose as this can cause him to wheeze and may make the situation worse. Make sure it's a brand suitable for small babies and use only on the chest, not on the face.
We placed bowls of boiling water around the house and also had her sitting in her car seat in the bathroom while we bathed or showered so that the steam would help ease her congestion.
Adding thyme to your child’s bath can also sooth. Take three teaspoons of thyme and add it to boiling water, then put it in the bath through a strainer.
It’s important to always have your child in the same room as you at night, preferably in the same bed in case they vomit. In the case of an older child, you can raise up the head end of the bed as a slightly raised surface aids breathing. (Some of this information is taken from ‘Natural Medicine For Children’, Julian Scott MA PhD, 1990).
For babies, breast feed as much as possible. You shouldnt let your child fast because of the length of time that the disease occurs. Make organic vegetable soups which are nutritious and comforting. Dont give citrus juices as these are mucus forming and can aggravate the whooping cough. If you want to give fruit juice, give apple juice diluted with water instead. Dont feed your child dairy products as these also aggravate.
FOR THE AMERICAN READERS OF THIS SITE - ROTAVIRUS, THE ILLNESS
As rotavirus vaccine is included in the vaccination programme in the States and there are a high number of American visitors to this website, I thought I would include rotavirus on this page.
This illness is gastroenteritis, the most common cause in children is from the rotavirus.
Again, according to Dr. Miriam Stoppard, in her book, 'Child Health', the symptoms of rotavirus are vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, abdomninal cramps, loss of appetite and a fever. Your child may not get all the symptoms.
IT IS MOST COMMON IN BOTTLE FED BABIES AND IS USUALLY THE RESULT OF POOR STERILIZATION OF FEEDING EQUIPMENT.
TREATMENT OF ROTAVIRUS
1. Stop all solid foods, cow's milk and formula milk. For a bottle fed baby, give him water every 15 minutes. He may also need a glucose solution from your doctor until you can re-introduce formula. If you've got a friend who can give him expressed breast milk, that would be better.
For a breast fed baby, rotavirus is rare, but if he does have it, breast feed him as often as he wants, even if that is all the time.
For an older child, give nothing but water initially - no citrus juice, and re-introduce foods slowly. Melon is good because it's full of water and easy on the stomach.
All this information, except the breast feeding information, is from Dr. Miriam Stoppard's book.
How Can I Prevent Rotavirus?
Since the main cause is bottle feeding, breast feed!
If you are expressing milk into bottles, make sure you wash and sterilize them properly. The same goes if you have to formula feed.
Wash your hands before you prepare food.
Make sure all food is washed, and if you're cooking it, cooked through properly.
Pro-biotics are a Safe and Effective Way of Preventing and Treating Childhood Illness
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 326 eligible children (35 years of age) were assigned randomly to receive placebo (N = 104), Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM (N = 110), or L acidophilus NCFM in combination with Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis Bi-07 (N = 112). Children were treated twice daily for 6 months.
RESULTS: Relative to the placebo group, single and combination probiotics reduced fever incidence by 53.0% (P = .0085) and 72.7% (P = .0009), coughing incidence by 41.4% (P = .027) and 62.1% (P = .005), and rhinorrhea incidence by 28.2% (P = .68) and 58.8% (P = .03), respectively. Fever, coughing, and rhinorrhea duration was decreased significantly, relative to placebo, by 32% (single strain; P = .0023) and 48% (strain combination; P < .001). Antibiotic use incidence was reduced, relative to placebo, by 68.4% (single strain; P = .0002) and 84.2% (strain combination; P < .0001). Subjects receiving probiotic products had significant reductions in days absent from group child care, by 31.8% (single strain; P = .002) and 27.7% (strain combination; P < .001), compared with subjects receiving placebo treatment.
CONCLUSION: Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.
Source: PEDIATRICS Vol. 124 No. 2 August 2009, pp. e172-e179
Garlic to Treat H1N1 Flu
Wrapped up in earmuffs and a heavy jacket to fight the Beijing winter, Liu Zhan shows little sign of soaring wealth. Until he removes his gloves and reveals a large gold ring. At the Chinese capital's biggest vegetable wholesale market, other traders call him "Millionaire Liu."
The pungent root of that nickname is stacked in bags on and around Liu's haulage truck. Garlic prices have jumped so high in China that the crop has outperformed gold and stocks to be the country's best performing asset this year.
As H1N1 swine flu continues to worry China's leaders who are rolling out a nationwide vaccine program its people seek a more traditional remedy. Just as some Chinese turned to turnips to prevent the SARS virus in 2003, garlic has emerged as a swine flu fighter in 2009.
"Garlic kills bacteria, and I eat at least half a bulb each day," says Liu, 43, whose prices have leapt from just five cents a pound in February to almost 55 cents today.
Although Chinese government experts have cautioned consumers about the lack of scientific proof for garlic's flu-killing powers, its supporters remain adamant. "Garlic can definitely help prevent swine flu," claims Li Jingfeng, chairman of the Jinxiang Garlic Association in eastern China's Shandong province.
Self-promoted as China's "hometown of garlic," Jinxiang county grows a quarter of all garlic in China, which in turn provides more than a quarter of global output, says Wang Hao, marketing manager for the China Garlic website. Jinxiang, whose name means Gold Village, has enjoyed its best-ever sales year, says Li.
"Next year, the price will be even higher, but our American and European buyers still think it's cheap, as garlic sells for $6.60 for a pound in their countries," he says.
Homeopathy to Treat Infectious Diseases
The fact that homeopathy became extremely popular during the 19th century primarily because of its impressive successes in treating the infectious disease epidemics that raged during that time is a fact that is totally ignored by skeptics.(3)(4)(5) It is highly unlikely that a placebo response is the explanation for homeopathy's notable successes in treating epidemics of cholera, yellow fever, scarlet fever, typhoid, pneumonia, or influenza. Skeptics are wonderfully clever in trying to make up stories and excuses for the good and often amazing results that people get from homeopathic medicines. Most often, however, they simply say that "old news is no news," as they brag about not learning from the past as though this is a good thing.
There are more than 150 placebo controlled clinical studies, most of which have shown positive results, either compared with a placebo or compared with a conventional drug.(6-10)
If that were not enough, studies testing the effects of homeopathic medicines on cell cultures, plants, animals, physics experiments, and chemistry trials have shown statistically significant effects. (11-16) Needless to say, the placebo effect in these basic science studies is virtually non-existent, while the effects from homeopathic doses are significant and sometimes substantial.
Citations and Books in Support of Homeopathy
Coulter HL, Divided Legacy: The Schism in Medical Thought. Volumes 2 & 3. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1975, 1973. (Note: Dr. Harris Coulter, a world renowned medical historian who specialized in the history of homeopathic medicine, passed away in October, 2009.)
Rothstein, W. Physicians in the Nineteenth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972.
Ullman Dana. The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2007.
Jonas WB, Kaptchuk TJ, Linde K, A Critical Overview of Homeopathy, Annals in Internal Medicine, March 4, 2003:138:393-399.
Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et al., "Are the Clinical Effects of Homoeopathy Placebo Effects? A Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials," Lancet, September 20, 1997, 350:834-843. (In 1999, Linde acknowledged that some new research reduced the significance of this review, but he never said or implied that the significance was lost. In fact, in 2005, he sharply criticized the Shang review of homeopathic research.)
Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G, "Clinical Trials of Homoeopathy," British Medical Journal, February 9, 1991, 302:316-323.
Ullman Dana. Homeopathic Family Medicine: Evidence Based Nanopharmacology. An ebook. www.homeopathic.com/ebook
M. Weiser, W. Strosser, P. Klein, "Homeopathic vs Conventional Treatment of Vertigo: A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Clinical Trial," Archives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, August, 1998, 124:879-885.
Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies--a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. Epub 2007 Mar 28.
Rey, L. Thermoluminescence of Ultra-High Dilutions of Lithium Chloride and Sodium Chloride. Physica A, 323(2003)67-74.
Elia, V, and Niccoli, M. Thermodynamics of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 879, 1999:241-248. Elia, V, Baiano, S, Duro, I, Napoli, E, Niccoli, M, Nonatelli, L. Permanent Physio-chemical Properties of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions of Homeopathic Medicines, Homeopathy, 93, 2004:144-150.
International Journal of High Dilution Research. http://www.feg.unesp.br/~ojs/index.php/ijhdr HomBRex - a database on Basic Research experiments on Homeopathy. http://www.carstens-stiftung.org/ -- a database of over 1,400 basic science studies.
Vitamin D to Prevent Influenza A
Background: To our knowledge, no rigorously designed clinical trials have evaluated the relation between vitamin D and physician-diagnosed seasonal influenza.
Objective: We investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements on the incidence of seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren.
Design: From December 2008 through March 2009, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing vitamin D3 supplements (1200 IU/d) with placebo in schoolchildren. The primary outcome was the incidence of influenza A, diagnosed with influenza antigen testing with a nasopharyngeal swab specimen.
Results: Influenza A occurred in 18 of 167 (10.8%) children in the vitamin D3 group compared with 31 of 167 (18.6%) children in the placebo group [relative risk (RR), 0.58; 95% CI: 0.34, 0.99; P = 0.04]. The reduction in influenza A was more prominent in children who had not been taking other vitamin D supplements (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.79; P = 0.006) and who started nursery school after age 3 y (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.78; P = 0.005). In children with a previous diagnosis of asthma, asthma attacks as a secondary outcome occurred in 2 children receiving vitamin D3 compared with 12 children receiving placebo (RR: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.73; P = 0.006).
Conclusion: This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren. This trial was registered at https://center.umin.ac.jp as UMIN000001373.
Source: Am J Clin Nutr (March 10, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094
Epidemic influenza and vitamin D
In 1981, R. Edgar Hope-Simpson proposed that a seasonal stimulus intimately associated with solar radiation explained the remarkable seasonality of epidemic influenza. Solar radiation triggers robust seasonal vitamin D production in the skin; vitamin D deficiency is common in the winter, and activated vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D, a steroid hormone, has profound effects on human immunity. 1,25(OH)2D acts as an immune system modulator, preventing excessive expression of inflammatory cytokines and increasing the oxidative burst potential of macrophages. Perhaps most importantly, it dramatically stimulates the expression of potent anti-microbial peptides, which exist in neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells, and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract where they play a major role in protecting the lung from infection. Volunteers inoculated with live attenuated influenza virus are more likely to develop fever and serological evidence of an immune response in the winter. Vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory infections. Ultraviolet radiation (either from artificial sources or from sunlight) reduces the incidence of viral respiratory infections, as does cod liver oil (which contains vitamin D). An interventional study showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children. We conclude that vitamin D, or lack of it, may be Hope-Simpson's seasonal stimulus.
Source: Epidemiol Infect. 2006 December; 134(6): 11291140.
Vitamin D Supplements May Protect Against Viral Infections
New research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that the older population could benefit from vitamin D supplementation in autumn and winter to protect against viral infections
Vitamin D may be known as the sunshine vitamin, but a new research report appearing in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows that it is more than that. According to the report, insufficient levels of vitamin D are related to a deficiency in our innate immune defenses that protect us from infections, neoplasias or autoimmune diseases. Since vitamin D levels decrease during autumn and winter when days are shorter and sunlight is relatively weak, this may explain why people are more prone to viral infection during these times. It also suggests that vitamin D supplementation, especially in older populations, could strengthen people's innate immunity against viral infections.
"There are numerous studies showing the benefits of maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels. As more and more research into Vitamin D is conducted, we are learning that it is extremely important for human health. Our study is no different, and vitamin D supplements should be considered one of many tools that might help when conventional therapies are not enough," said Victor Manuel Martinez-Taboada, M.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Division of Rheumatology at the Hospital Universitario "Marque's de Valdecilla," Facultad de Medicina at the Unversidad de Cantabria, in Santander, Spain.
To make this discovery, the researchers compared the changes in the blood levels of vitamin D among three groups of healthy subjects: young (age range: 20-30), middle (age range: 31-59), and elderly (age range: 60-86). They found decreased levels of vitamin D with aging, prompting researchers to compare whether such changes kept any relationship with toll-like receptor (TLR) expression measured on lymphocytes and monocytes and function after in vitro stimulation with specific ligands for each of the nine human TLRs and measurement of effector molecules, such as proinflammatory cytokines. Specifically, they found that the TRL most affected by a vitamin D insufficiency is TLR7, which regulates the immune response against viruses. Finally, scientists studied whether there was any difference in the three age groups depending on the season of the year since it is well known that a limited sun exposure during darker winter months is related with vitamin D deficiency.
"Any school teacher will tell you that people tend to be sicker during the winter than any other time of the year," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "There have been numerous studies showing several environmental factors during winter months may allow viruses to spread easier. This study shows that sunlight, or more precisely the lack of vitamin D, could have a role in the seasonally higher rates of infection. More extensive studies must be conducted for this link to be conclusive, but since vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and generally safe, this is a really exciting discovery."
Source: Press release from Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 30th April 2012. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/foas-vds043012.php
Medical Citation for Vitamin D Protects against Viruses Press Release
This study investigated in vivo the influence of age and vitamin D status on innate immune function in HC. Serum 25OHD was measured in 71 HC. TLR expression on various subpopulations of PBMCs, as well as TLR function by stimulating PBMCs with specific ligands, was assessed by flow cytometry. Circulating cathelicidin levels were determined by ELISA. Serum 25OHD levels decreased with age, and there was a significant inverse correlation between 25OHD levels and age. There was a negative correlation between serum 25OHD levels and MFI expression of TLR7 on B cells, T cells, and monocytes. TLR7 function, addressed by in vitro stimulation with a specific agonist, was significantly correlated with serum 25OHD levels, and this was especially a result of the results in HC older than 60 years. MFI expression of TLR5 on T cells and TLR2 on monocytes was also negatively correlated with serum 25OHD levels. TLR1 (monocytes) and TLR2 (monocytes) expression was positively correlated with age. Furthermore, TLR4 and TLR8 function was negatively correlated with age. Circulating cathelicidin levels decreased with age and were positively correlated with 25OHD levels. Aging is accompanied by changes in expression and function of several TLRs. Serum 25OHD levels decrease with age and are also associated with a change in expression and defective function of certain TLRs, especially those involved in viral response.
Source: Journal of Leukocyte Biology vol. 91 no. 5 829-838.
VAN UK'S COMMENT: So the older you are, the less you absorb vitamin D which may be why elderly get flu and viruses more and supplements may protect them.
General Childhood Ailments
For sore throats I either give a children's vitamin C and enchinacea supplement or a couple of drops of children's enchinacea in a cup of orange juice. A dose or two of this usually does the trick.
The vitamins I give are Mr. Tumee children's vitamins because they don't contain aspartame, talc or other such products that should be avoided (as they nullify any positive effect of the vitamin in my opinion).
TIP: Don't get your vitamins from a big supermarket, they are always loaded with junk and aren't actually that good for you.
Mr. Tumee's does contain a bit of sugar, but I think this is preferable to artificial sweeteners and as the body needs a tiny amount of sugar, I am not too concerned with this small amount.
There are also other brands of vitamins out there that use cherry powder as a sweetener instead of aspartame.
Coughs that are productive (i.e, they get flem up off the chest) should not be treated as they are there for a purpose to help your child remove toxins and mucus from his body.
If the cough is not productive (i.e he's coughing all the time and not getting anything up), you could consider using a children's multi-vitamin to strengthen his overall immune system.
When my 5 year old son had a persistant cough earlier this year that would not go away, I gave him Mr. Tumee's children's vitamins and all traces of the cough was gone two days later.
You can also give chamomile tea with a spoonful of honey in it to sooth a cough and sore throat (only use the honey if your baby is older than one year, due to the risk of infant botulism). Babies younger than that can have previously boiled, cooled chamomile tea in a sippy cup or bottle.
If you are still breast feeding, breast milk has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties in it that will help your baby get over his cough.
If your child's cough goes on for a long time or you notice any other symptoms, take him to the doctor. It could possibly be whooping cough even if he's been vaccinated.
I use headache patches, either lavender aromatherapy ones or plain ones from the chemist as they are drug free, topical and ease the discomfort of a headache. You just stick them on the child's forehead and leave them there for a few hours to give relief.
Cuts and Bruises
I use arnica homeopathy (6c) for scuffed knees and bumps and it works every time. A minute or two after taking the remedy, the sting is gone (I have also used it on myself and it works for me too). I carry it in my handbag in case my little one falls over as it's an instant tonic and the first thing he asks for when he's hurt himself.
Fever should not be treated as it is the immune system response to infection and is there to help your child.
Bacteria and viruses cannot live in elevated temperatures which is why your child gets a fever, to kill off germs. Children who have fever treated in infectious diseases die and have complications in greater numbers because suppressing the fever allows the pathogens to grow. Experimental animals die when their fevers are medically suppressed when they have an infection.
There are only a few exceptions to the rule:
1. If your child's fever is interfering with his respiratory system
2. If your child's fever goes up very quickly
3. If your child's fever goes down very quickly
Rapid rises and falls of fever can cause a febrile convulsion so if you notice this you may want to use an anti-pyretic.
To ease my child's pain and discomfort caused by fever, I would give them a tepid bath and/or put an electric fan on them. My son as a baby would get fevers whenever he was cutting new teeth and the electric fan and my milk were the only two things that would stop him crying. I did this only for the purpose of easing pain, not to suppress the fever.
VAN UK'S COMMENT: I HAVE NEVER BOUGHT A BOTTLE OF PARACETAMOL/ACETAMINOPHEN IN 16 YEARS OF PARENTING AND DON'T THINK IT IS NECESSARY EXCEPT IN EXTREME INJURIES OR SURGERY.
I HAVE 5 CHILDREN AND NEVER NEEDED IT EXCEPT FOR A BURN INJURY AND SURGERY, WHEN I WAS GIVEN A BOTTLE AT HOSPITAL. 99% OF THE TIME, YOU WON'T NEED ANY.