Posts tagged ‘asthma’

Acetaminophen, also known as Paracetamol, is a commonly used drug in modern medicine, which has been considered ‘safe’ even for children in normal dosage. New studies are raising some questions about its safety and long-term ill-effects.

In the last 30 years there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of childhood asthma and this has perplexed doctors, scientists and researchers alike.
This increase in incidence was noticed soon after doctors stopped using Aspirin (because it was causing Reye’s Syndrome in children) regularly and started using Acetaminophen instead.

An initial paper published in 1998 suggested the use of acetaminophen to be causing increased asthma in children. Over time, more than 20 studies have reached the same conclusion, with data of over 200,000 children being analysed.

In November 2011, Dr. John T. McBride, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio, published a paper in the journal Pediatrics arguing that the evidence for a link between acetaminophen and asthma is now strong enough. He now explains how acetaminophen might provoke or worsen asthma. Researchers found that even a single dose of acetaminophen can reduce the body’s levels of glutathione, a peptide that helps repair oxidative damage that can drive inflammation in the airways. Acetaminophen causes increased bronchial constriction and wheezing.

This association linking acetaminophen with asthma is consistent across age, geography and culture. Studies also found an increased risk of asthma in children whose mothers who took acetaminophen during pregnancy. A big analysis in 2008 found that children who had taken acetaminophen for a fever during the first year of life had a 50 percent greater risk of developing asthma symptoms, compared with children who had not taken the drug. The risk rose with increasing use — children who had taken acetaminophen at least once a month had a threefold increase in the risk of asthma symptoms.

This leads us to question the use of this drug. Are parents unknowingly, in their haste to quell even mild fevers, pushing their children towards a chronic disease like asthma? Parents do it unknowingly. Doctors often do it despite knowing. Are pharma incentives worth turning a blind eye to the welfare of patients?

I hope this study and all the preceding ones will not be pooh-poohed by the Pharma companies who will come up with some other study (sponsored by themselves and hence baised) refuting these.

May knowledge and awareness prevail.

References:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/11/04/peds.2011-1106.abstract?rss=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/20/health/evidence-mounts-linking-acetaminophen-and-asthma.html

http://chestjournal.chestpubs.org/content/127/2/604.full

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/13/acetaminophen.may.double.asthma.risk/index.html

After several queries, I have decided to write about the twenty most effective remedies that are regularly used for infants and children in homoeopathic practice. These are not ‘constitutional’ remedies (remedies for eradicating long-term problems or inherited tendencies) but those that are commonly used for acute problems and which every household with young children should stock.

This article is not meant to encourage home-prescribing, but to build up awareness about the great potential that homoeopathy has to solve most problems that children encounter; safely and gently, without the use of strong chemical drugs like antibiotics.

Nowadays, we see a lot of children in our practice that come with health problems that could easily have been avoided, had homoeopathy been resorted to in the first place. Instead, anxious parents, unknowingly, often compel their doctors to prescribe strong medicines like antibiotics even for routine coughs, colds and fevers. This way, the body’s own immunity does not adequately learn how to fight infections and hence the next rounds of infection come sooner and sooner. This leads to a vicious circle of infections and antibiotics with the child’s immunity taking a battering. As the child’s immunity continues to suffer, the child becomes more and more disposed to developing more serious infections and conditions like ear infections, chronic otitis media, tonsillitis, bronchitis and even bronchial asthma. Chronic ailments like skin allergies and eczema also become more common. These are usually considered as new ailments and never linked to the actual immunity lowering cause.

With correct homoeopathic prescribing, all the acute coughs, colds, fevers and even the more serious conditions like ear infections, chronic otitis media, tonsillitis, bronchitis and bronchial asthma can be treated well. Homoeopathic remedies stimulate the immune system to function optimally and, over time, the immunity improves and children’s own bodies are able to fight off most infections without the need for any medication. For such immunity-improving treatment, detailed constitutional therapy is essential – this requires a detailed case taking and proper case management. However, the list given below contains remedies often used for acute problems, from which, even at odd hours of the day or night, your homoeopath can choose the suitable remedy based on the symptoms present. Such a kit kept at home can be handy and valuable.

1. ACONITE
This is a remedy useful for the congestive stage of inflammation before localization takes place. Ailments arise from exposure to dry cold air, drafts of cold air especially when overheated. Ailments come on suddenly with intense symptoms. High fevers where the face is red or red and pale alternately. There is great thirst for large quantities of cold water, lot of restlessness and tossing about. Teething children may develop convulsions. Cough is dry, hoarse and croupy, more on expiration.

2. AETHUSA CYNAPIUM
Suited to children during dentition who develop complaints in hot summer weather, children who cannot tolerate milk. Milk is vomited in large curds as soon as it is taken, vomiting leads to intense weakness and drowsiness. The child sleeps and then wakes up hungry and crying, drinks milks again and the cycle repeats. The child’s face bears and expression of pain and anxiety.

3. ANTIMONIUM TART
Children with cough where there seems to be a large collection of mucus but nothing comes up. Child is clingy and wants to be carried but won’t let anyone else touch him. Vomiting that is followed by drowsiness and great weakness. Tongue is coated pasty, thick and white. Great inclination to sleep with nearly all complaints. Useful for children at birth who are pale, breathless and gasping; prevents asphyxia neonatorum. Most ailments seem to come on in damp weather or from living in damp rooms.

4. ARNICA MONTANA
Very useful for the falls and bumps that children get as a routine part of growing up. Prevents serious repercussions of head injuries and is known to absorb bleeding that has occurred into the brain after a head injury. Also useful for the bad effects of injuries received a long time ago. Useful also for mechanical blunt injuries that result in stupor from concussion with involuntary passage of stools and urine. Injuries bring on a sore, lame, bruised feeling, as if beaten. Whole body is oversensitive. Everything on which he lies feels very hard, keeps moving from place to place in search of a soft spot.
* Do not use Arnica ointment on any open wounds.

5. ARSENICUM ALBUM
For the start of colds with intense sneezing, watery nasal discharge and thirst for sips of cold water frequently. Fevers with restlessness where children want to be carried rapidly. Also useful for tummy upsets that result from cold food or drink or from eating bad meat. Nausea at the smell or sight of food, diarrhoea after eating or drinking, watery stools with great weakness.

6. BELLADONNA
Suited to children with great liability to catch colds; sensitive to drafts of air especially when uncovering the head or after a hair cut, tonsillitis after exposure to cold winds. Sudden onset of ailments with redness of face or eyes with most complaints. Tongue has a strawberry red appearance. Pulse is full and bounding, congestive headaches worse from slight noise, light, jar, movement; better by tight bandaging or pressure. Useful for convulsions during teething, with fever where the head is hot and the feet are cold. For children who get delirious with fever.

7. CALENDULA
One of the best antiseptic remedies in homoeopathy. Very useful for open wounds to promote healthy healing of tissue and prevent excessive pus formation. Useful as oral medicine as well as application of Calendula ointment on the wounds. Also for use post-surgically to promote rapid healing.

8. CHAMOMILLA
Useful for children – newborn and during the teething period. Ailments from cold, anger, dentition. Child is exceedingly irritable and fretful, quiet only when being carried. Impatient and demanding, rejecting the thing when given. Whining and moaning constantly. Intense pains (eg., ear pains) with great oversensitivity, one cheek red and hot, the other pale and cold. Great aversion to wind especially about the ears. Diarrhoea of teething infants where the stools are green, watery, like chopped eggs and spinach, hot and very offensive.

9. CINA
For complaints of children who are very irritable and cross, want to be carried but carrying gives no relief. They do not want to be touched and cannot bear anyone coming close. Constantly digging and boring at the nose. Worm complaints with startling and screaming during sleep and grinding of teeth.

10. COLOCYNTH
Very useful for abdominal colic. Agonising pains making the child bend double. Great restlessness, twisting and turning about for relief. Pains are better by hard pressure. Irritable and impatient, throwing things out of his hands.

11. FERRUM PHOS
Very useful for inflammatory conditions and fevers especially the first stages. Easy flushing of the face, less intense symptoms than of Aconite and Belladonna. Pulse is soft and flowing. Often useful in fevers of children when there are no other symptoms to guide to a suitable remedy.

12. IPECACUANHA
Also known as Ipecac, it is a very useful remedy for coughs of children that are dry, spasmodic and asthmatic. Breathlessness with wheezing. Cough that often results in gagging, retching and vomiting of white frothy phlegm. Most complaints are accompanied by nausea with profuse saliva and vomiting; vomiting without relief. Tongue is clean or slightly coated.

13. JALAPA
For the colic and diarrhoea of children where the children are good all day long but scream and are very restless and troublesome at night.

14. KALI MUR
A useful remedy to cut short colds right at the beginning, also useful for sub-acute inflammatory states. Stuffy colds with ear involvement. Greyish-white slimy coating of the tongue.

15. PODOPHYLLUM
Diarrhoea of children during teething and in hot weather, worse from eating and worse while being bathed or washed. Stools are profuse, painless, of varying colour, often yellow, watery and very offensive.

16. PULSATILLA
Commonly used for colds with yellow discharges, stuffed up noses where the symptoms are changing often. Most symptoms are better in open air and worse indoors. Absence of thirst with most complaints and indigestion from eating rich food. Tendency to styes and agglutination of eyes with yellow sticky discharges on waking.

17. RHEUM
Suitable for children, especially during dentition. Sour smell of the whole body, child smells sour even after washing. Children cry and toss about all night. Impatient, desires many things and cries, dislikes even favourite playthings. Constant sweat of scalp keeping the hair always wet.

18. RHUS TOX
For coughs and colds after getting wet that result in muscle pains and flu-like symptoms. Corners of the mouth are ulcerated with fever blisters around the mouth. Very useful for sprains and strains where symptoms are worse on initial movement and better by walking or continued motion.

19. SAMBUCUS NIGRA
For dry colds of infants where the nose is dry and completely blocked, preventing breathing and nursing. The child awakens suddenly, nearly suffocated and gasps for breath. Difficulty in breathing out. Suffocative coughs with crying children.

20. SENNA
Very useful in intestinal colics where the child seems full of wind. Clinically used most often for third-month-colic of infants.

Besides these twenty, many other remedies may be suitable to a given case, based on symptoms that individual children present. These are just some guidelines and I reiterate once more that it is best to consult your homoeopath for proper remedy selection and dosage, this will give safe, gentle and speedy results.

Homoeopathy is a system of medicine that encompasses the human being as a whole, mind and body together. The medicines used in Homoeopathy are not harsh chemical drugs, but energy medication prepared from the plant, animal and mineral kingdom. Homoeopathic medicines work to stimulate the creative energies in the human being, bringing about healing and cure with the help of the body’s own curative and regenerative forces, thus resulting in an improvement in the body’s immunity over a period of time.

Children form one of the major groups of patients in a Homoeopathic practice and it is heartening for the Homoeopath to see how well he/she can change and improve the constitution of the child with correct Homoeopathic constitutional treatment.

We are all born with inherited tendencies that have come down the family line from both our parents’ sides. These inherited tendencies, apart from structural tendencies, comprise also functional tendencies which would include how our bodies function, tendency to certain diseases, weaknesses of certain organ systems and also emotional and mental tendencies like behaviour and intellect.

A Homoeopathic physician, in a detailed case taking, takes note of all the familial tendencies, and then during the course of treatment, takes measures to eradicate and lessen the effects of those harmful tendencies in the human being under treatment. Needless to say, the benefit of such constitutional treatment is best seen in children who ultimately develop and grow to their best potential. Such constitutional treatment may be spread over a number of years, and though it is a long term treatment, the long term benefits easily outweigh the costs.

Since Homoeopathy works on the immune system of the body, this system of medicine works well in chronic diseases like asthma, allergies, arthritis, digestive dysfunction, migraines, skin problems, etc. Even in acute illnesses that are by nature, short lasting, Homoeopathy can cure and cut short the duration of the illness. However, Homoeopathy has no specific medicines for specific conditions, unlike some other systems of medicine, and hence it is important that the patient give the utmost detail of the illness to the doctor for selection of the best possible Homoeopathic medicine which can cure in the least possible time.

To list some of the advantages which Homoeopathic treatment offers children, they are:

  1. Easy method of administration of medicines.
  2. Least resistance to taking medicines, as the medicines are mainly in a sweet sucrose or lactose base.
  3. Builds up the body’s resistance and improves the immunity with proper constitutional treatment.
  4. Helps in removal of inherited tendencies which have come down through the family line – e.g., tendency to catch repeated colds and chest infections, allergies, asthma, skin problems, arthritis, cancer, etc.
  5. Improvement of memory and brain function.
  6. Deals with behavioural and emotional problems like stammering, nail biting, thumb sucking, etc.
  7. No side effects when given in proper dosage.
  8. Does not develop dependency to medication.
  9. Creates ideal bodily and mental health for optimum height and weight.
  10. Treats chronic conditions in depth without side effects.
  11. Regulates body functions without use of strong chemical medicines.

Homoeopathy hence offers a safe, gentle and easy way to creating and maintaining good health.