One late evening, as you are getting ready for bed, you are frightened by the wheezing and gasping sounds coming from your child’s room. “Mom, I can’t breathe.” As the short, fast, pumping breaths continue, you have this sick feeling in your stomach–what can I do? You either reach for the inhaler or head to the emergency room.

Coughing, wheezing, bronchial infection, puffy eyes and unbearable chest congestion are all part of the chronic conditions of allergies and asthma. The five million to six million children who suffer with asthma is the largest (and growing) group affected by the disease. Asthma is the number one cause of hospitalization for children under the age of 15. According to Energy Times, “The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74 percent between 1980 and 1994; the rate of preschool kids skyrocketed by 160 percent.” According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, the fatality rate from asthma among children five to 14 years old doubled from 1979 to 1995.

What has happened to drastically increase these conditions, namely asthma? Is it environmental pollution, poor diet, antibiotics and drug use, unsafe living conditions in our homes and schools? Has the air quality in our cities changed so much that it could affect a 160-percent increase in asthma among preschool children?

Many researchers are saying that our current rise in breathing problems is directly linked to pollution. Automotive exhausts, radon, secondary cigarette smoke, chemical cleaners, hairsprays–the list goes on. We constantly clear our throats, sniffle, wheeze, and blow our noses, while not paying any attention to the fact that the air we breathe may be slowly suffocating us. The American Lung Association says deaths from breathing problems have increased more than 61 percent since 1979. Why?

Antibiotic drug use and vaccines have also been associated with the epidemic of asthma in children. Vaccines and antibiotics can actually negatively affect the immune system.

In a recent report from the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, several points were made that clearly show why drugs and especially vaccines can cause immune deficiency in children, leading to asthmatic response:

  • Vaccines cause important cells in our immune system (T-cells) to commit themselves to a specific antigen. Once committed, the cells will not respond to other challenges.
  • Vaccines and antibiotics cause T-cell counts to drastically decrease, which compromises our immune system.
  • These drugs leave the immune system weaker in its response to other viruses, bacteria and pollutants that enter the body.

The question is simple: How many vaccines, antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs can an infant or child handle before suffering severe damage to the immune system, resulting in chronic conditions like asthma? Dr. Howard Urnovity, the science director of the Chronic Illness Research Foundation says, “There appears to be a limit on how much foreign material the human body can be exposed to before some level of genetic damage occurs and a chronic disease initiates.”

Have we compromised the overall health of our children for the sake of disease-specific immunity? An example of this is the Hepatitis B vaccination that is being required of every child, before four to five years old. It’s new, untested and the side effects are just being recognized. Consumer beware!

There are always options. First and foremost, ask questions, do not accept the fact that every medication and vaccine is safe. What are the side effects? Do the benefits outweigh the potential harm?

Second, become familiar with herbal remedies, homeopathic natural medicine and vitamins and minerals that will support the body’s immune system.

Third, advocate, advocate, advocate–for your children. Find holistic and integrative healthcare practitioners who may look at your child individually and who will consider their specific needs.
Fourth, be aware, become educated and understand that there is a correlation between environmental- and drug-induced illnesses like asthma. Yes, we can create our own diseases.

Natural approaches are available:

  • Antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, flavonoids, vitamin E, selenium, vitamins B and B12 are very useful for asthma
  • Herbs like echinacea, goldenseal and garlic help the body fight asthma
  • Breathe Free, an anti-asthma and anti-allergy formula that contains nettle, eyebright, goldenseal and mullein, helps congestion

Breathing is not optional. Become aware of your breath, your breathing patterns, and recognize early signs of trouble. This will change an unconscious pattern to a conscious one. Conscious breathing becomes conscious healing: Change your breath, change your life.

May the long time sun shine upon you.