When Doctors Prescribe Medication to Children with ‘Death’ as a Known Side Effect
Asthma, Steroids, and Undiagnosed Leaky Gut Syndrome: Our Evolution to Natural Medicine
(I am not a doctor or a medical professional and I don’t play one on the internet. I am here to share with the world what I have learned from extensive research and personal experience. To see my disclaimer click here.)
While conventional medicine is considered an “evidence-based medicine,” I have found in my research a significant amount of evidence not being considered while children are put at high risk with deadly medications. Are we putting ourselves at higher risk with medications when we are not addressing the root cause?
Asthma is truly no laughing matter when a child cannot breathe and is showing signs of a struggle it is an immediate emergency life-threatening situation and should be handled as such. That being said, I would like to share my experience on battling severe unrelenting asthma in my son.
There has certainly been a massive fail in our system with regard to providing imperative information to those suffering from chronic illness, conditions commonly undiagnosed by doctors, and making absolutely certain that those who are taking dangerous medications are fully aware of the risks and side effects of deadly medications.
Some conventional medical professionals will lead you to believe that natural healing methods are risky and dangerous, however, my experience was quite the opposite. The risks our son’s doctors were willing to take with him could have been fatal. I was at the mercy of conventional medicine, and unfortunately, I had no knowledge of alternatives and at this point had no idea of what might be causing his repeated asthma attacks.
Would my child have needed to be rescued if he was never exposed to harmful substances in the influenza vaccine and had a healthy immune system free of toxins?
Fighting for Survival
Within days after my son received a flu shot (at just over a year old) he was hospitalized and in severe respiratory distress. It was a rough week, to say the least, his oxygen levels repeatedly dipped down below normal levels. Sleeping was almost impossible for him, as his body tried to rest, his oxygen levels would decrease. This is the normal process for the body. However, with his oxygen levels already low when they would dip lower, (well below normal levels) the alarms on machines monitoring him would be triggered left and right, scaring me and my son half to death. It was extremely frightening watching him desperately struggle, I did not know if he would make it through each night. Throughout the week he was so pumped up on steroids and unnatural drugs to help keep him breathing, I barely recognized him as my child. His emotions would vary from active and aggressive to emotional and sad. Clearly, he did not know what was happening to his body, or why, and unfortunately at that point neither did I.
We spent the next 9 years watching his asthma take its toll on his health and well-being, suffering through multiple attacks yearly. While daily corticosteroids never offered any increased benefit to his condition, a rescue inhaler, and oral steroids were able to get him by when an attack occurred. Anytime he got sick he would spend a week at a time unable to leave the house, barely able to take a breath, on hourly asthma treatments, and always ending up on oral steroids. In addition to these treatments he was also taking a daily steroid inhaler, nasal steroids, and a variety of allergy medications. After about 7 years this led to a test that resulted in 30% lung function in his small bronchial airways. All the while, his health was also rapidly declining due to the side effects of the steroids, other toxic elements (that we were unaware of) entering his body from foods, as well as those lingering from the vaccine.
Are doctors replacing the overuse of antibiotics with the overuse of steroids, without carefully considering what is causing the inflammation in the first place?
Prednisone and other corticosteroids are used commonly with breathing conditions to reduce inflammation quickly by suppressing your body’s immune system and can be life-saving during an asthma attack. However, they also come with serious side effects. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information gives a thorough explanation of the effects of corticosteroids on the body, “Physiologic and Pharmacologic Effects of Corticosteroids.”(1)
Side Effects of Steroids
- Known to weaken your Immune System
- Cause fungal infections
- Cardiovascular System (high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat)
- Sleep disorders (insomnia)
- Metabolism (weight gain)
- Endocrine System (suppress adrenal gland hormone production)
- Psychological effects (mood, memory & behavior) (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)
Clearly, when we are in a life or death situation these side effects seem irrelevant. However, as time goes by the side effects of these medications increase significantly and can lead to an extremely dangerous, life-threatening situation. Which is exactly what happened to my son, his health was deteriorating, his condition was getting worse and conventional medications certainly were not making him better, at best it was getting him by.
My son was showing many side effects from the steroids, he was well over his average weight and gaining steadily and rapidly. His ongoing struggle to breathe made physical activity and any exercise a challenge. Over a five-year period of time, his allergy response (or IgE) went from a high at 100 to an outrageously high at 800, a normal reading in a healthy child should be no more than 60. The steroids were suppressing his immune system and increasing his allergic response. We were stuck in a vicious cycle that was leading us to another life-threatening situation. With my son’s lung function at 30%, allergy shots were even more risky than usual and we were running out of options. We needed to find answers fast before it was too late.
More Risky Testing and More Dangerous Medications
Clearly, there had to be something causing the inflammation in the first place. At this point we took him to a pulmonologist who did a bronchoscopy to look into his lungs, this was yet another frightening situation, every test comes with risks although they don’t tell you about all of them. He woke up gasping for air and difficulty breathing due to the numbing agent used in his throat to get the camera down his esophagus and into his lungs. Fortunately, this subsided fairly quickly, he handled it like a champ and made it through just fine. The results of this test confirmed that acid from his stomach was in fact, getting into his lungs. How can this happen and why wasn’t it detected sooner? Considering he was not seeing any added relief from the large variety of inhaled steroids or allergy medicines we had tried over the previous nine years. I was advised that the only options we had left were two medications Advair (another inhaled steroid) and Xolair a medication that is designed to reduce the body’s allergic response.
The doctors didn’t seem concerned about giving him more steroids with the side effects he was already experiencing, it was obvious to me that steroids inhibiting his immune system function are what lead him to this situation in the first place. I was seriously concerned about giving him more steroids, particularly Advair. You see, I had my own personal horrific experience with Advair (which included waking up in the middle of the night as if my oxygen had been cut off, dazed and confused and unaware of what was happening) resulting in many years of insomnia as well as many other health problems. My grandfather also had the exact same reaction to a very similar medication named Symbicort, after taking this medication he spent the last 5 years of his life suffering from extreme insomnia and confusion. As far as Xolair was concerned, this medication carries known side effects of anaphylactic shock, chest tightness, wheezing, feeling short of breath, difficult breathing, fast or weak heartbeats, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. My biggest problem, the medications being offered would have done nothing to stop the acid from his stomach from getting into his lungs.(6)(7)(8)(9)
Advair and Symbicort are known as long-acting beta 2-adrenergic agonists and contain an active ingredient called salmeterol, these products are made by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (or GSK) and AstraZeneca. They have been used since the 1990’s, salmeterol products are used to prevent asthma attacks, exercise-induced bronchospasm, COPD, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Other associated products are Servent, Arformoterol, Indacaterol, Budesonide, and Formoterol (or Foradil).(6)(7)(8)(9)
These medications currently carry labels such as “WARNING: Long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists may increase the risk of asthma-related death.” An FDA ALERT as of 11/2005 : “…have been associated with an increased risk of severe asthma exacerbation and asthma-related death.” Another extremely important thing to note is that all of these medications state on their labels “13 deaths out of 13,176 subjects treated for 28 weeks on salmeterol.” How naive I feel for fully trusting that doctors would never put us in a situation like this in the first place.(10)(11)(12)
These medications are used to treat a variety of chronic lower respiratory diseases, the CDC reports chronic lower respiratory disease is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States at 147,101. Only being outnumbered by 591,699 deaths to cancer. Considering the potentially deadly side effects of the medication, who’s to say that it isn’t the medication that is killing in record numbers? (14)
Unfortunately, I don’t believe many people who have taken these medications are now around to speak about their experience. It is important to mention, conventional medications that can lead to insomnia should be very concerning, used sparingly and with extreme caution, considering insomnia has been used as an effective form of torture throughout history.
While I felt pressured and to some extent bullied by the doctors insisting that I give these medications to my son, I truly believed that they were not addressing the real cause of his reoccurring inflammation. The medications they had given him had not improved his condition, and the medication he was taking daily had slowly and progressively led him to yet another life-threatening situation. I was not about to put my child on these extremely deadly medications, without at least doing some serious digging and fully exploring what could be causing his attacks.
Determined to Find a Cause
At this point I had read about food allergies and food sensitivities, I had asked my doctors multiple times through the years if food allergies could be a factor in my son’s asthma. I knew that seasonal allergies were certainly a factor. It made perfect sense to me that food allergies could certainly contribute to his condition. I was repeatedly told by multiple lung specialists and allergists over the years that “asthma is not related to food allergies”. He had seasonal allergies which consisted of just about every plant in our Sonoran desert. So why not food allergies? With much persistence and eventually some demanding and threatening to find a doctor who would perform the tests, I convinced the doctor to do food allergy test. I was not surprised when the test revealed that my son did, in fact, have many food allergies. The doctor called me to say “see this is why we don’t do food allergy testing.” Taken back by her response, and fully believing that I now had solid information to work with. I thanked her for doing the test and focused on how to help my child and possibly save his life.
I now know that without this important information, we were unknowingly and constantly aggravating his immune system and making him worse with many foods he was allergic to. We immediately removed the medium and high-level offending foods from his diet. For the first time ever he made it through allergy season, from April and well into December of that year, without one asthma attack. 8 entire months! Had the doctor agreed to the food allergy test when I had first asked for one, or better yet had the doctor applied some critical thinking to an asthma condition that was not improving or controlled by conventional medications, my son could have been showing improvement much earlier.
Were we on to the real cause?
I began researching and learning more about food intolerance. What could cause acid from his stomach to get into his lungs? I wanted to know if he had food intolerances or sensitivities. When I spoke to my doctor she said, “food intolerance can’t really tell you anything”. I was not so easily convinced and as far as I was concerned I had already proven she was wrong about the food allergies. As well I was not willing to put him at risk with the medications being offered. I was exhausted and frustrated that no one really had answers. I knew we needed to increase his immune system function to decrease his allergic response and honestly, I was shocked at the fact that conventional doctors didn’t know how it worked or how to do it without putting his life in further danger.
Natural Medicine to the Rescue
We sought the advice of a local naturopath doctor who agreed that the IgG (or food intolerance) test would offer more information and if acid was getting into his lungs it was likely due to a condition called leaky gut syndrome.
IgG test (or food intolerance)
These are antibodies that provide long-term resistance to infections, called Immunoglobulin G (IgG), have a much longer half-life than the traditional IgE allergy. This is where food sensitivities come in because they are much more subtle and most people live with them for years, if not their entire lives. A food sensitivity is an adverse reaction to a food with no antigen-antibody response. For more information see IgE vs IgG.
Can it really be this easy? I definitely learned more from one visit to a naturopath doctor about the immune system’s function and my son’s condition than I had ever learned before. With this information we removed all offending foods for 6 weeks, we started an organic non-GMO diet. We weaned him off of steroids.
Per WebMD leaky gut syndrome was not a condition taught in medical school, which was very concerning considering it was caused by conventional medicine when my child was given the flu shot, unfortunately, this explained why it was not detected anytime during the previous 9 years.
- We used Jarrow l-glutamine to rebuild his intestinal lining
- Gaia herbs probiotics to rebuild gut bacteria
- Jarrow Formulas Quercetin for rebuilding the gut and combating allergies
- Licorice root for acid reflux
- Integrative Therapeutics – Similase GFCF – Gluten and Casein Digestive Enzymes to assist in rebuilding missing enzymes
- Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Rebuilder designed to help rebuild adrenal glands and assist them in functioning properly after years of suppression by the steroids
- Gaia adrenal support to help rebuild adrenal glands and increase cortisol levels that had tested low due to the years of steroid use
The natural doctor prescribed acetylcysteine for his asthma, however, we were unable to use this medication due to it inducing coughing fits. We use Sodium Chloride (or saline) respules in our nebulizer. They have been very effective at stopping wheezing and asthma symptoms.
I started researching on my own and found Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch. This book offered the final important piece of the puzzle. In this book, I learned that people with asthma are generally deficient in some vitamins and minerals such as Magnesium, some B vitamins as well we later learned some added vitamin D can be beneficial for those with respiratory problems.
- Pure formulas Magnesium
- Organic Garden of Life B complex
- Jarrow vitamin D3
Per the Washington Post, and many other well-known news agencies, I learned that many supplements from local stores do not contain what they say. Therefore I had to be very careful where I bought supplements. I only purchase brands that were previously recommended by my natural doctor or supplements normally found at my health food store. In addition, essential oils and herbal medicine have offered a safe way to get fast relief without the dangerous side effects. Which was extremely helpful in our transition off of all conventional medication.
Note: Always be sure to check allergy warning on supplements.
For those who have been on steroids long term and may have developed a fungal (or yeast) issue. I also highly recommended some daily apple cider vinegar especially if you have food allergies or food intolerance, apple cider vinegar improves digestion, calms inflammation, replaces healthy bacteria and combats the yeast (or fungus) in your gut caused by unnatural foods and toxic diet. Our family has seen a huge improvement in food allergies and intolerance with this simple step.
To learn more about leaky gut syndrome and see studies showing it connected to a wide variety of chronic illness see my post, Intestinal Permeability (or Leaky Gut Syndrome) What is it? Can it be treated?
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- http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6007-9383/prednisone-oral/prednisone—oral/details#McKay LI, Cidlowski JA. Physiologic and Pharmacologic Effects of Corticosteroids. In: Kufe DW, Pollock RE, Weichselbaum RR, et al., editors. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine. 6th edition. Hamilton (ON): BC Decker; 2003. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK13780/
- Drugs.com, Prednisone
- The Mayo Clinic, Prednisone and other corticosteroids, Mayo Clinic Staff
- WebMD, Prednisone,
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Medications that Weaken Your Immune System and Fungal Infections
- The US National Library of Medicine, Salmeterol (By breathing)
- Drugs.com, Advair
- Drugs.com, Symbicort
- Drugs.com, Xolair
- The US Food and Drug Administration, Information for Healthcare Professionals – Fluticasone propionate; Salmeterol xinafoate (marketed as Advair Diskus),
- GlaxoSmithKline, (or GSKSource), Servent
- GlaxoSmithKline, (or GSKSource), Advair
- The Center for Disease Control, Leading Causes of Death
- The Washington Post, Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in the United States
- WebMD, Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It? Matt McMillen
- The Journal of Gastrology and Hepatology called Intestinal barrier: An interface between health and disease, ASHKAN FARHADI, ALI BANAN, JEREMY FIELDS, ALI KESHAVARZIAN, 15 April 2003
- The Center for Disease Control, Flu Vaccine Safety Information
- The National Vaccine Information Center, Found 828 cases where Vaccine targets Influenza (FLU(H1N1) or FLU3 or FLU4 or FLUC3 or FLUN(H1N1) or FLUN3 or FLUN4 or FLUR3 or FLUX(H1N1) or H5N1 or FLUC4 or FLUX) and Symptom is Asthma
- The National Vaccine Information Center, Found 2417 cases where Symptom is Asthma
- Human Resource and Sensitive Information, Data & Statistics
- Leaky Gut Syndrome: What Is It?
FTC DISCLOSURE: This site is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Heidi Hall developed this site to raise awareness on concerns regarding conventional medications and how they can affect the immune system, vaccine safety, and informed consent regarding vaccines. As well as conditions such as leaky gut syndrome that commonly go undiagnosed by doctors as you have seen in my situation.
It is always important to check with your doctor before you stop any medication and some supplements can have a negative interaction with prescription medications. You can seek the advice of a naturopath doctor who can help you safely stop using conventional medication when necessary. Naturopath doctors are experienced in healing leaky gut syndrome, as well as diagnosing autoimmune diseases, food intolerance, and treatment options.
All information on Healing Children Naturally is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.