The Cough: A Shrink Shirted Streptococcal Serenade

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By: Rosemary Rau-Levine, M.D.

Poppa is pleased with her progress at their first follow-up visit, "Anna's an­tibiotics have decreased to once in De­cember, once in January, and now look, no cold today!"

I am thinking to myself, "Where did I go wrong?" One antibiotic in five years is too often in my work.

A cold gray wind drums the win­dows as I have my hands on Anna, ap­plying cranio-sacral therapy that acts on allergies. Anna has a five-inch gap of bare skin between her hard black jeans and printed pansy tee shirt. Liver, spleen, intestines and kidneys are exposed.

"What kind of outfit is this for this weather?" I ask, looking up at 6'4" Dad. I'm in wool from chin to toes, ballast against our usual freezing California spring weather.

Dad looks uncertain, "Anna just picked out this outfit for herself," he explains.

"It's a great summer outfit; let's put it away until then," I say. I can see that Dad is envisioning Anna's behavior were he to deliver this dictum to his daugh­ter.

I quiz my acupuncture associate at our therapeuticum – Art and Medicine, "Guess how old Anna is?"



"11? 9?"

Anna is three.

Today is a sunny, brisk windy day in the park. I pass Mom in a big wind­breaker with a stocking capped infant in a stroller. A smiling little girl dances in front of me in tee shirt and Capri pants. "Let me know if you want your jacket," calls out Mom. The little girl serenades her mom by clearing her throat and coughing. Another antibiotic Anna, another parental defeat.

"My daughter is doing much bet­ter," says Mom at our second follow up visit. "The teacher says she's learning now, and she's even helping another stu­dent with homework. Her temper tan­trums are gone. The last time she was down on the floor having a tantrum, it was because she didn't want to put her hat on before going outside."

Six-year-old Marilee grins in agree­ment. This mom courageously got down in the trenches.

The child does not know that with­out physical warmth there is not an ac­tivated immune system. How can we American parents, so determined to al­low our children their every freedom, face this dilemma?

One of my patients, a kindergar­ten teacher, wraps up so much before going outside that colleagues say, "Looks like you're going to the snow!"

"I remember what you told me so long ago about warmth, so I make the children go back in and get their jack­ets. The kids will say they are not cold. Yes, I say, but you will be. Then I have them zip' em up too."

This is not a double-blind, ran­domized, placebo-controlled crossover study about coughs, just 40 years of ob­servation in the out of doors!

ROSEMARY RAU-LEVINE, M.D. is celebrating her 40th year in the practice of medicine. Since 1996 she has been the anthroposophic physician at Raphael House in Sacramento, CA. In 1985 she helped found the National Homeopathic Pharmacy (call- 1-800-888-4066)

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