Last week Food and Drug Administration (FDA) experts recommended that all infant cough and cold products be removed from the market. The New York Time reports that the ban would apply to hundreds of popular medicines such as Toddler’s Dimetapp and Triaminic Infant. The ban would apply to the use of decongestants for children under the age of two, and the use of antihistamines for children under the age of six.
If you are a parent, first realize that if the ban goes through, you are not giving up anything of value. These products only suppress symptoms; they do not cure coughs or colds. The ban has been proposed because these products can have serious side effects. Over 100 deaths of children have been attributed to these drugs.
According to Linda White, M.D., although these drugs do make children drowsy, they have little effect on cold symptoms. Even when they had a little effect, they only suppress symptoms. They do not allow the body to restore health, so they are not desirable to use.
When you suppress symptoms, you set up a potential rebound effect: The illness is temporarily suppressed and then returns with increased severity at a later date. The mucus that should be eliminated during a cold is helping to cleanse the body. Indeed, infected secretions urgently need to be expelled rather than dried up by antihistamines.
It is important to have respect for the body’s capacity to heal and to have tolerance that the process may take a few days. The few days may be a good opportunity for you and your child to slow down. Most colds do not require consultation with a physician.
Realize too that this is an opportunity to get reacquainted with traditional remedies that will help relieve your child’s discomfort. These remedies include steam vaporizers and steaming bowls of home made soup. For safety, if you use a steam vaporizer, be sure it is safely out of the reach of your child.
Begin to rely more on preventative care and less on trying to fix health problems after they arise. No matter what you do, your child will catch colds; but there are steps that you can take to decrease both their frequency and severity. These steps include:
- Reducing the use of sugar. Sugar suppresses the immunological system. According to U.S. News and World Report, in one year, the average American consumes approximately 142 pounds of sugar and another 61 pounds of high fructose corn syrup. Some of this is consumed in the form of soda of which the average American drinks 52 gallons per year. In the same year, the average American eats only 8 pounds of broccoli. Here then is one small step to improve your family’s health—work toward having your family’s consumption of broccoli exceed their consumption of sugar.
- Reducing the consumption of diary products, especially milk. Diary products produce mucus. Americans have been hypnotized to believe that their children can’t grow up healthy and strong if they don’t drink cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is indeed a perfect food if you are a calf. There are foods other than milk that are rich in calcium and other nutrients. In order to increase calcium consumption, as well as many other vital nutrients, eat more green vegetables from the crucifer family. These vegetables include broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and mustard greens.
- Drinking more water. Soda, milk, juice, etc. are not substitutes for water. Some physicians, including the late Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, believe that chronic dehydration is a major factor contributing to many illnesses. There is no substitute for plain water.
You may be thinking, “This will take too much time. My child will complain.” Indeed it does take more time—but see it as an investment in both the health of your child and in a more balanced family life style. You will be teaching your child healthy habits that can last a lifetime.