I think this is a question a lot of pro-vaxers have. They simply can not picture any alternative to death and destruction from disease except vaccines. There is also the implication that these diseases are so horrible that if you or your child did contract them, it would be such a harrowing experience that you would never again question the safety and efficacy of vaccines. However, I have discovered that things aren’t as dire as we’ve been told and there are lots of options in treating diseases. So like the fabled Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I will preface my thoughts with the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in friendly letters. (Though my thoughts are considerably better researched than the advice in the Hitchhiker’s Guide. No towels are required either.)
Measles- Measles has been made out to be a dangerous killer. However, this picture of it wasn’t painted until after death rates from the disease had dropped substantially. The official statement from the CDC on measles reads, “In the United States, measles caused 450 reported deaths and 4,000 cases of encephalitis annually before measles vaccine became available in the mid-1960s.”(1) In 1900, the measles death rate was 13.3 per 100,000 (or about 10,121 deaths per year) and in 1955 it was .03 per 100,000 (or around 50 deaths per year). (2) These numbers are consistent with the statistics in Gordon’s 1953 report to the Office. So the vaccine didn’t actually cause a drop in deaths, it probably only caused a drop in diagnoses (“Well it can’t be measles because he’s been vaccinated.”) Measles enchephalitis is said to occur in 1 in 1,000 cases of measles, however, many physicians who actually practiced when measles was common have questioned this statistic and put it at 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 for children who are adequately fed and living in sanitary conditions. (3)
In fact, living conditions and diet have been cited elsewhere as being key determinants in the outcome of measles. In a 1990 outbreak, 352 Hmong children in a low-income area of the San Joaquin Valley in California were hospitalized and 1 in 29 died from measles. A case control study by the California Department of Health Services found that poor living conditions was what put these children at risk for death and complications, not the disease itself (4). There is a case study from India which documents a measles outbreak in a slum. Almost one-third of the children who contracted measles were vaccinated for the disease. This study also found that children who had vitamin A supplementation were less likely to contract measles. (5) One study in the September/October 1996 volume of Pediatric Nursing found that 72% of hospitalized measles cases in America were in vitamin A deficient individuals. (6)
From my research, I’ve concluded that the only circumstances in which I would truly worry about my child’s health and safety in a case of measles is if my child became malnourished or was severely immunocompromised and we had no access to health care. There are children all over the world who live in those conditions and are at risk for dying from measles, but shouldn’t we address the problems of malnourishment and poor living conditions first rather than turning to an ineffective quick-fix that lines the pockets of drug makers? Now here is what I would do if my child contracted measles:
- Homeopathy- The very first thing I would do if my kid developed measles would be to give him a homeopathic remedy that fits his symptoms. Gelsemium is particularly good for measles, but depending on the particular symptoms, other homeopathics such as Pulsatilla, Aconitum, and Bryonia can be useful as well. (7)
- Chiropractic care- Chiropractic care helps the immune system function better. If my child were sick with measles, the second thing I would do is take him to the chiropractor (or do a home visit) for an adjustment. (8)
- Herbs- I would make a tea of herbs like licorice (good for coughs), ginger (anti-inflammatory), chamomile (calming).
- Baths- Since measles is accompanied by an irritating rash, I would give my child a bath with ground up oatmeal and baking soda to sooth the skin.
- Vitamin A- Since vitamin A helps reduce complications with measles, this would be a very important nutrient. When my hypothetical measles kid feels up to drinking, I would give him fresh carrot juice since it is very high in vitamin A. I might add some peaches with it for a sweeter flavor and more vitamin A and I would keep up the carrot juice until my kid had recovered.
Pertussis- Pertussis is common and can be very dangerous. Modern allopathic medicine has a great deal of difficulty in treating this disease and a few babies do die from it every year. Selective/delayed vaccination advocate Dr. Robert Sears believes this that the pertussis vaccine is one of the most important immunizations for a baby to have because pertussis is so common and can be so deadly. (9) He has also expressed the opinion that it is not the pertussis toxoid which While I respect Dr. Sears’ opinions and his experience, I disagree that the pertussis vaccine is important and safe. The acellular pertussis vaccine has been associated with seizures, encephalopathy (a vague medical term for an attack on the central nervous system characterized by altered states of consciousness, confusion, irritability, changes in behavior, screaming attacks, stiffness in the neck, convulsions, visual, auditory, and speech disturbances, and motor and sensory deficits), encephalitis, brain damage, and death. (10).
And then there is the whole problem of efficacy. On the CDC’s website there is a dispatch describing cases of pertussis in fully vaccinated Israeli children which resulted in the death of one vaccinated infant. The report examined 46 fully vaccinated children, five of whom tested positive for pertussis, though, only two of those children met the World Health Organization’s diagnostic criteria for pertussis. The study concluded that even vaccinated, asymptomatic children can be carriers of pertussis. (11) In Lithuania 53 children tested positive for pertussis in 2001. 32 of the 53 were fully vaccinated. (12) The recent outbreak of pertussis in San Diego showed that many vaccinated individuals can still contract pertussis and pass it to babies too young to receive vaccines. Of the 1,000 adults and children who tested positive for pertussis in 2010, over half had been vaccinated. A survey of nine other counties in California showed that between 44 and 83 percent of individuals with pertussis had been immunized. Researchers from Amsterdam said they had found that the pertussis virus had mutated two decades ago. Currently, pertussis vaccines do not confer immunity against the mutated form. Vaccine makers said that testing for the mutation wasn’t necessary. (13) Why inject my baby with something that has been linked to brain damage and death and doesn’t actually do what it is supposed to?
So do I sit around worrying that my baby will contract pertussis? No, I don’t. I go about my way unworried because:
- High doses of vitamin C have a profound effect on pertussis. (14,15) Usually, ascorbic acid is used, but naturally occurring vitamin C should work just as well. The trick is getting high enough doses, and this is where juicing comes in for me. With juicing, you can consume massive amounts of fruits and vegetables very quickly without the problem of overconsumption of fiber. The very first thing I would do at the first onset of symptoms would be to give lots of vitamin C rich juices to my child. Papaya would be my first choice since one medium sized papaya has 313.1% of your daily value of vitamin C. (16) Strawberries would be my next choice, then oranges, then cantaloupe. In addition, I would have my child drink rose hip tea (very high in vitamin C) with a little licorice (for sore throat and coughing) and maybe some echinacea and goldenseal. (17) If I absolutely could not do juicing,(i.e. no access to a juicer or couldn’t get my kid to drink enough), I would go to a reputable health foods store and find some ascorbic acid. And if I had a young infant with pertussis, I would keep up the breastfeeding and consume lots of vitamin C juice myself. I might also try giving the baby some tepid rosehip tea via dropper frequently.
- The homeopathic remedy drosera has been used to successfully treat pertussis for over 100 years. Depending on symptoms other remedies such as ipecacaunha or pulsatilla can be used. With pertussis, it can be tricky to match the right homeopathic because the symptoms (i.e. type of cough, mucus, etc.) change constantly, but homeopathy can be very helpful in treating this disease. (18)
- Chiropractic adjustment of parts of the upper cervical spine are associated with treatment of pertussis. (19)
Sources(1) CDC’s statement on measles. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5733a1.htm
(2) How to Raise A Healthy Child... In Spite of Your Doctor, Mendelsohn 237
(3) How to Raise A Healthy Child... In Spite of Your Doctor, Mendelsohn 239-7
(4) The Vaccine Guide, Neustaedter 82
(5) Measles outbreak amongst vaccinated children in India http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14993716
(6) Vitamin A deficiency and measles in America http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FSZ/is_n5_v22/ai_n18607116/
(7) Materia Medica measles search http://www.homeoint.org/cgi-bin/search.pl
(8) Chiropractic care and the immune system http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune_Responses_to_Spinal_Manipulation.shtml
(9) Pertussis The Vaccine Book, Dr. Robert W. Sears 29-30
(10) The Vaccine Guide, Neustaedter 227
(11) Pertussis vaccine failure in Israel http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no5/srugo.htm
(12) Pertussis in vaccinated children in Lithuania http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15918913
(13) San Diego pertussis outbreak http://www.10news.com/news/26137516/detail.html
(14)Vitamin C treatment of pertussis in Japanese children http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/193x/otani-t-klin_wchnschr-1936-v15-n51-p1884-eng.htm
(15) Dr. Klenner’s vitamin C protocol http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/198x/smith-lh-clinical_guide_1988.htm
(16) Papayas and vitamin C http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=109
(17) Rosehips and vitamin C http://www.naturalhub.com/natural_food_guide_fruit_vitamin_c.htm
(18) Drosera for pertussis http://www.homeoint.org/books/boericmm/d/dros.htm
(19) Chiropractic for pertussis http://www.doctoryourself.com/whoop.html