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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor

This book was lent to me by a good friend about two years ago. I studied it for a few weeks and then decided I needed my own copy.

Most new mothers are constantly second-guessing themselves. I have almost four years under my belt (still nothing, comparatively!) and I often second-guess myself. Especially when it comes to the health of my children. I obsessively search out information on nutrition and development. Usually we coast along quite nicely, but occasionally we hit a snafu.

Like this third day of illness. More upsetting to our family than being sick is the thought that we cannot ride bikes or make jumping forts. Fever and headache and vomiting have pretty much wiped out our desire to play.

However, fevers no longer frighten me. I have learned that

"...nothing [the doctor] or you can prescribe that will cure a viral infection or dispose of a bacterial infection any more effectively than the body's own defenses will. Medications given to relieve discomfort may interfere with the body's efforts to cure itself..." (78).


and

"...the fever that accompanies [and infection] is a blessing, not a curse. It occurs because of the spontaneous release of pyrogens that cause the body temperature to rise. This is a natural defense mechanism that our bodies employ to fight disease. The presence of fever tells you that the repair mechanisms of the body have gone into high gear." (80)


Note-
(pyrogen: A chemical circulating in the blood that causes a rise in body temperature.)

So now, Beau and I are comfortable allowing the childrens' bodies to fight off their own infections. This strengthens their immune systems, and, as Beau says, makes them tougher.

While it is tempting to visit the pediatrician for a dose of antibiotics every time your child runs a fever, don't! Antibiotics are widely overused and kill off not only the bad bacteria, but also the good bacteria of the GI tract. As a former drug rep for a children's antibiotic, I was taught all of the implications of this problem. The overuse of antibiotics eventually lead to a sicker population, as our bodies cannot defend themselves the way the Lord intended them to- our defenses have been medically wiped out!

To conclude, Dr. Mendelsohn gives assurance to worried parents. Almost every childhood ailment will correct itself if cared for properly at home. He stresses rest, fluids, and a peaceful environment.

"Remember that patience, loving attention, and render reassurance will do more to make your sick child feel better than all the medicine on the pharmacy shelf!" (122)


Disclaimer: Of course we would take our children to the doctor for any serious problem, and we love our pediatrician, a dear family friend. It is simply reassuring to be armed with proper information.

2 comments:

Brandy Afterthoughts said...

Oh, how I love that book! It's funny to see your quotes because those really stick out to me, even after so many years since I read the book. I never do anything about a fever anymore, and it is very freeing.

I realized when I first began that new approach the oftentimes I was drugging a fever because it was inconvenient for me. Feverish children often require more comfort than non-feverish children. So from then on I resolved that illness was my chance to "suffer with those who were suffering" no matter how small the person doing the suffering. Some of my children had to be held all day, but for some reason I really enjoy those days, especially now that a certain young man doesn't like to be held all that much... :)

Jennifer said...

Such sweet sentiments, friend! I similarly...I enjoy the moments where I just get to hold and cuddle with a big kid.

I like your suffering quote. I will try to keep that in perspective!

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