By Kelly Frohnauer
Dare to raise drug-free children
We teach our children about drugs -- what they are, not to take them, how to avoid them, how they harm their bodies and distort their minds -- but what about the drugs we give them when they have a runny nose, fever or sore throat? What about scheduled immunizations? Is there really any difference?
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs, like their illegal counterparts, can and do ultimately cause harm to our children's bodies. But do we dare raise our children without the use of drugs? Most people in our culture would say this is impossible. There are times when drugs are necessary, but most of the time natural alternatives are the safer, more beneficial road. Raising children drug-free is a possibility that is well worth the attempt.
All too often, parents take their children to the doctor for colds, coughs and flu, usually within the first day or two of symptoms. The doctors prescribe over-the-counter nasal sprays, decongestants, cough syrups, prescription drugs and antibiotics. These drugs usually give the desired quick relief -- but at what cost to the child's immune system?
Antibiotics are one of the most over-used drugs. Increasing reports show how the excessive use of antibiotics has created resistant strains of bacteria causing the need for new and stronger antibiotics. This vicious cycle has reached a crisis level. Yet doctors are still prescribing antibiotics for colds, coughs and sore throats that are almost always caused by viruses. Antibiotics are meant for bacterial infections, not viruses. (See the American Academy of Family Physicians handout on antibiotics at http://familydoctor.org/handouts/011.html.)
Aspirin is another commonly overused drug, often given as the first choice when a child has a fever. Fever is one of our body's natural defense mechanisms; it is not a disease. A fever should not be treated as something to quickly rid ourselves of. Fever tells us that a disease is present. When disease is present, our bodies increase the production of white blood cells. The increased production of white blood cells raises the body temperature, which helps create a favorable environment for the white blood cells to survive in as they work to eliminate the toxins that are making us sick.
Quickly ridding our bodies of fever with aspirin or aspirin substitutes such as acetaminophen disrupts this important natural defense mechanism, ultimately prolonging the disease and causing the need for further and stronger interference.
Prevention is the best cure
So how can we raise children drug-free? Staying free from sickness is the best way. We’ve all heard that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." We can keep our children healthy and their immune systems strong through good wholesome nutrition. Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, soy and other plant proteins and plenty of water should be part of their daily diets.
Another strategy is to make herbs, homeopathic remedies, vitamins and minerals our first choice when sickness strikes. Starting a natural remedy immediately and remembering to take it regularly ensures quicker results. These remedies work in harmony with the body’s immune system, strengthening it. Make sure your brand of vitamins and mineral supplements is based on natural sources so your body can better absorb them.
Read lots of books on alternative medicine, and keep several on hand for quick reference. Check with local naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other alternative medical professionals for community education classes.
Research your alternatives and become informed so that you can make health care decisions based on facts. Be ready to defend your decisions to your family and friends. Unfortunately, you will encounter many closed-minded people who remain blindly dependent on the medical establishment. They will view your alternative ways as a threat. Being confident with your decisions will help you to stand firm and guilt-free when others question your ways.
As we gain knowledge and begin to take responsibility for our family's health care, we begin to achieve victory in the war on drug dependence for sickness. Arming ourselves with resources and facts makes raising our children drug-free a reality.
This article originally appeared at www.gentleparents.com. Copyright (C) 2001 Kelly Frohnauer.
Kelly Frohnauer is a stay-at-home mother of five children, all born at home. She and her husband have used natural, alternative remedies for themselves and their children's illnesses for the past 22 years. At their website, you will find information on herbal health, homebirth, homeschooling and other simple living resources for the natural family. Visit their website at www.naturalfamilyhome.com.