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 Allergies and Asthma in Children 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Holistic Healthcare for Children by . View all columns in series

This holistic approach to asthma will strengthen the immune system and lung function, prevent the airway inflammation characteristic of asthma, relieve the muscle constriction that impairs breathing, decrease mucus production in airways, and create a balanced energy flow that allows the lungs to do their job without impairment.

Breathing Again: A Case History
Kayley is a fun-loving, friendly, and talkative first-grader. She likes Barbies and art projects and playing with her dog. Unfortunately, Kayley has some health problems that interfere with her life and play. She gets out of breath and coughs when she plays soccer. If she catches a cold it will quickly settle into nightly coughing spells that often worsen and turn into wheezing episodes. Twice, they have gotten so bad that she landed in the emergency room where the doctors used inhaled drugs to restore her breathing and then sent her home with a prescription for oral, systemic steroids.

The allergist prescribed an inhaled steroid for Kayley to use every day and a second bronchodilator drug for Kayley to take before exercise and whenever she developed cough or wheezing. Kayley’s mother was not especially happy with the doctor’s pronouncement that Kayley required continuous drug treatment, nor did she appreciate the side effects. The drugs made Kayley hyper. So began the search for alternatives to the standard drug approach for Kayley’s asthma.

When I first saw Kayley, she still had a chronic dry, tight cough despite the drug treatment. Since Kayley was in no acute distress and the drugs were not preventing or curing her symptoms anyway, we decided to replace the daily drug regimen with Chinese herbs and put Kayley on a program of immune enhancing supplements. I prescribed a liquid extract of herbs formulated for children (Deep Breath by Chinese Modular Solutions) and a similar formula for acute episodes of cough or wheezing (Open Air). She received one dose of a constitutional homeopathic medicine, Natrum-sulphuricum (1M strength).

Kayley needed help getting through her wintertime colds. Echinacea, vitamin C, herbs, and homeopathic treatment prevented the downward spiral that used to occur with her acute illnesses. Mild allergic rashes improved with supportive treatment. She never took steroids again, and she continued to excel at soccer and gymnastics. Her mother was frankly amazed at the new level of Kayley’s resilience when she caught a cold. Chronic coughing was no longer a problem, and Kayley stopped identifying herself as an asthmatic.

Cohet, C, et al. Infections, medication use, and the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema in childhood. J Epidemiology Community Health 2004 Oct; 58(10):852–857.

Hurwitz, E L, and Morgenstern, H. Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the US. Journal Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2000; 318(7192):1173–1176.

Kemp, T, Pearce, N, Fitzharris, P, et al. Is infant immunization a risk factor for childhood asthma or allergy? Epidemiology 1997; 8:678.

Noverr, M C, et al. Role of antibiotics and fungal microbiota in driving pulmonary allergic responses. Infectious Immunology 2004 Sep; 72(9):4996–5003.

Odent, M R, Culpin, E E, and Kimmel, T. Letter to the editor. Pertussis vaccination and asthma: is there a link? Journal American Medical Association 1994; 272:592–593. 2004 Oct; 58(10):852–857.

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 About The Author
Dr. Randal Neustaedter has practiced holistic medicine for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in child health care. He is a licensed acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine,......moreRandall Neustaedter OMD
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