Nurture Your Child
  

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By: Philip Incao, M.D.

Nurture Your Child- Some Suggestions (From An Interview with Philip Incao. M.D. by Noelle Denke)

Since the turn of the last century children's deaths caused by acute infectious diseases have significantly de­clined in the U.S. However, the rate of chronic, disabling diseases in children under 16 went up from 1.8% in 1960 to 6.7% in 1995. (Statistics taken from the National Health Interview Survey, a yearly report conducted by the Depart­ment of Health and Human Services.)

Acute and chronic disease defined
An acute illness is short term, comes on rapidly, usually with symptoms like fe­ver, and is self-healing. An example would be the flu or a cold. Usually they are inflammatory illnesses with fairly strong symptoms, but they last only a short period of time and get better by themselves. Other examples are measles, whooping cough and scarlet fever.

A chronic illness is one that lasts a long time and doesn't tend to heal itself. It just goes on and on. Examples are aller­gies, asthma, auto-immune disease or chronic fatigue syndrome. Acute is a fire that burns strongly, then burns itself out. Chronic is a fire that smolders on and on and never really burns out. They're both inflammatory, but one extinguishes itself and the other keeps on smoldering.

Modern medicine tries to suppress acute conditions with anti-inflammatory drugs, but since the fire is really produced by the immune system's reaction, when the medicine suppresses the inflamma­tory symptom, it also suppresses the ac­tivity of immune system. That leads to the latter's weakening.

My thesis, developed over ten years, is that health is a balance between acute and chronic. It is related to some of the basic concepts of anthroposophic medi­cine (a holistic medicine which regards illness not as chance occurrence or me­chanical breakdown, but rather as some­thing intimately connected with a person's biography). Artificially sup­pressing acute problems will create chronic problems. We have seen that if children are not allowed to burn out their acute illnesses, they will be more prone to chronic problems later in life.

In January 1997, The Washington Post reported on a medical journal article which suggested that the doubling of asthma in the last 20 years is related to the decline in acute childhood illnesses.

What immunizations do I give?
The only immunization that most children need today is tetanus. Otherwise, if the child is basically healthy, immuni­zations are really unnecessary. If you know how to manage common illnesses, together with the help of your holistic practitioner, they're not as threatening as they once were at the turn of the century. They are only a threat if the child is se­verely deprived, severely weakened, HIV-positive or has a disease like leu­kemia. And of course, as we know from the pertussis part of the DTP series of vaccinations, these immunizations can cause damage.

A infant given the usual series of shots probably won't have an immediate reaction. But later, in school, the chances of getting allergies, asthma, hyperactiv­ity or attention deficit disorder will be greater because of them.

Very often, when children start get­ting shots they develop earaches. Then they get six courses of antibiotics in one winter to combat the earache. Even cor­tisone creams on rashes force toxins back into the system. If a child has eczema in her early years, and the eczema is con­tinually suppressed with medicine, there is a good chance that she will develop asthma in later years.

Let's just use common sense and treat children non-suppressively, in a good, healthy environment, giving them good nutrition and generally protecting them by not overexposing them to anything. They will develop a strong immune system. This is the way I've practiced for years. The children I've worked with are very strong and have grown into healthy young people without the allergies and other problems so many others have.

Reprinted with kind permission by the author.

First appeared in The Light Connection, a monthly journal that features articles on health, personal growth and the environment. Subscription: $25.00 first class, $15.00 third class.

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Philip Incao studied Liberal Arts and Life Sciences at Wesleyan University and then received his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1966. His special interest is strengthening the health of children against the increas­ingly hardening influences of modern life, among them some aspects of modern healthcare. He also lectures extensively.





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