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BLOG: September 2007
Kids' medsDoesn't it sound cute, "kids' meds"; kind of family thing, worm and friendly, like a playful cuddly pet? O.K., maybe not - and it shouldn't. Having to use medications is never good. But is it medications what children really need, or is it something else?
How protected are you, and your children from hard marketing of a variety of children drugs? Apparently, not well. It is not surprising in today's drug-abducted medicine. Recent FDA's move toward putting some restraints on the marketing of cold medicines for children provokes some thoughts on children and drugs.
FDA's action was initiated by the city of Baltimore officials complaining about ill effects of many over-the-counter cough and cold drugs for kids (some children actually died from them). It touches the subject of how protected are those most vulnerable from the side effects of medications. No doctor can't tell how any particular drug will affect individual, and the risk of adverse reactions is always present. It is particularly high with babies and small children.
If their health is compromised, it makes them even more vulnerable to drugs. Apparently, drug industry is not paying enough attention to that fact.
But it is not only the industry to blame. For many a parent it is easier to reach out for medication, than to address the likely cause of child's health problem. When a child succumbs to a cold, flu, or some other form of infection, it is a
that its body may not be getting what it needs nutritionally, that its unhealthy environment may be catching up with its health, that it may be having hidden infection weakening its immune system, that it may be hurting emotionally - or any of those combined.
Sadly, most doctors are guilty of the same sin, going for easy, convenient and officially encouraged practice of medicating, rather than laboring through difficulties of trying to find and correct the underlying cause, or causes.
And the potential side effects of drugs are not the main problem here.
Treating children's symptoms with medications, instead of building their overall health, can have two serious consequences. One is that it fosters development of chronic health conditions in children, likely only becoming worse in their adulthood. The other is that children may blindly acquire that same unhealthy habit of use, or abuse of medications.
In Great Britain, number of anti-depressants prescriptions to those under the age of 16
has quadrupled in the last decade
(BBC). At the same time, the rate of mental health problems in that age group hasn't changed significantly. Doctors are denying handing out the pills too easily, instead of exploring other viable treatment options. Believable?
It isn't any better over here, in the U.S. The rate of children and youth hampered in their daily activities for three or more months a year by chronic illnesses was four times higher in 2004 than back in 1960 (JAMA). That indicates quite clearly that over-reliance on drugs does not make children healthier - to the contrary.
While it will take awhile to change what has become a part of today's culture, when it comes to your own life, it is only your call.
Just take good care of your child, and yourself. The less of good food, water and air, guidance, love and encouragement, the more likely you'll have to try patching the ensuing health problems of your child with medications.