Chronic illness in children has now reached epidemic proportions. The percentage of school age children who have had a chronic illness has grown to 52% with 25% having a chronic illness at any one point in time.
While increased rates in obesity account for some of this, rates of asthma, add, adhd, bipolar disorder, recurrent ear and strep infections and autoimmune diseases have climbed exponentially.
Antibiotic resistance in the US pediatric population is among the highest in the world. And, despite the widespread use of vaccines for flu and pneumonia among the pediatric and adult populations, the mortality rates for these diseases have been steadily rising. The morbidity and mortality trends in the US were on a steady decline the first 8 decades of the 20th century and since the late mid 1980’s, have been on a steady upward incline.
A note of interest is 1986 coincides with the beginning of the upward trend in mortality rates as well as the inception of the vaccine injury court followed by the introduction of several more pediatric vaccine mandates. Rises in asthma, eczema, food allergies and autism have all continued to rise along with the number of mandated vaccines.
The practice of prescribing antibiotics for repeated ear infections, coughs and colds have also lead to increasing antibiotic resistance which contributes to failed antibiotics once faced with a serious bacterial infection resulting in an increase in deaths.
While antibiotics might shorten the course of the 20% of ear infections that are bacterial in nature, they are not necessary in most of those cases. In fact, a suppurative outcome or punctured ear drum with a discharge, occurs in 1/500 cases whether antibiotics are used or not. And, once an eardrum is punctured, the infection resolves and the eardrum heals as well or better than one with a drainage tube removed.
Often children have fluid in the ear and are treated with antibiotics. This is not necessary as chronic fluid is usually the result of an allergy. Mastoiditis can occur with or without antibiotics. Approximately 5000 cases of otitis media need to be treated in order to prevent 1 case of mastoiditis but all the unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics lead to allergies, resistance and other problems. Mastoiditis is easily treatable and rare.
ADD and ADHD is frequently treated with stimulants and other neurotropic medications that have not been properly studied on children. Prescriptions for amphetamines for children increased 120-fold between 1994 and 2009. Autism rates have gone from 1/2000 in 1988 to 1/88 in 2008. At the moment, the rates of autism for boys in the state of New Jersey is 1/29. New Jersey has the greatest amount of mandated vaccines including yearly flu vaccines starting in pre-school. New Jersey is the home of Merck Pharmaceuticals and heavy lobbying there has resulted in the mandates.
In the typical medical office, patients wait 30-60 minutes to see the doctor and then are allowed about 10-15 minutes with the doctor. In my office, patients wait 5-10 minutes and then are allowed a full 2 hours for initial appointments and 30 to 90 minutes for follow ups. Spending time with patients and using a more discerning approach allows for individualized game plans and the avoidance of chronic medication use.