As the outbreaks of Pertussis (whooping cough) have been escalating, patients are expressing understandable concern. Many have been asking me questions about vaccines, how to stay healthy and ways to be proactive for their kids. I am an Acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist and RN located in Mill Valley and family medicine is a large part of my practice. This article is intended to give you valuable information about Pertussis and supporting healthy immune systems.
As of June 2010 the state of California declared Pertussis an epidemic. Epidemic simply means that there are many more cases across California compared to this time frame in years past. Rather than getting caught up in fear of exposure or of illness, it is wise to keep in mind that we have many health-promoting options readily at our fingertips. The reality is that our immune systems are made to keep us well, and I want to share some tools toward that goal.
Facts about Pertussis
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection. It is highly contagious and spread through contact or respiratory droplets, which hang in the air from an infected person. Droplets generally can be found in a 6-foot radius of a coughing or sneezing event. Pertussis typically begins as a runny nose, which evolves into a spasmodic cough. The cough is strong, such that it can induce vomiting and rib soreness.
Pertussis can be fatal in infants. If you have a baby in your home, I believe it wise for the whole family to be vaccinated. I do realize that some families opt against vaccinations, and if that is your choice, you’ll find additional helpful tips below too.
As a parent you are likely familiar with the Td vaccine for tetanus and diphtheria. It is part of standard childhood vaccination schedules. Pertussis, a separate vaccine, has historically been given to children less than 7 years old. However in 2004 there was a spike in adolescents and adults developing Pertussis such that the Tdap vaccine was developed.
In 2005 the Tdap vaccine became available and was the first vaccine for adolescents and adults to protect against: tetanus, diphtheria and Pertussis. At this time Tdap is licensed for a once in a lifetime dose per person, whereas Td is given every 10 years or possibly repeated following a serious wounds or injuries. Health care workers in California are currently being encouraged to get Tdap vaccinated and facilities are offering the vaccine to employees.
What else can you do?
•Consider a consultation for homeopathic remedies. I find these to be highly effective, safe and economical options and routinely prescribe them. Remedies are tasteless, can be used by both children and adults, and can be taken alone or in conjunction with conventional vaccinations. There are combination remedies available, which address Pertussis, 2011 Flu, H1N1, and Childhood Immunization Support.
•Take care of your own immunities with an Acupuncture Immunity Booster appointment. A 30-minute treatment once per month September through January will help keep your immune system in optimal shape through flu season.
•For kids who frequently develop colds or ear infections, give a supplement of organic bovine colostrum (powdered capsules can be opened and added to foods) one capsule twice each day.
•Consider Chinese herbs for immune system enhancement. Both herbs and acupuncture have been shown to boost the activity of white blood cells and lower stress hormones, all of which improve your immunities.
•To resolve acute illnesses quickly:
Vitamin C 500-1000mg/day
Vitamin A 10,000-20,000 units from fish oil;
Sambucol 1 teaspoon 3 times/day
Echinacea (non alcoholic) 10-20 drops 3 times/day.
Karen Reynolds specializes in fertility and family practice in Mill Valley, CA. Drawing from 22 years as an ICU RN, she makes use of lab testing, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutritional supplementation to optimize health.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact her at:
Balance Restored Center for Integrative Medicine
600 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Ring: 415.381.8500 Ext. 4