a different kind of coffee break with Gerry and Ray Coffey

Disease-Free Living Through Fitness and Nutrition


Chronic Disease Has Roots in Infancy:
Exerps from May and September 1996 articles in Home Sweet Home Magazine
By: Gerry Coffey

Ever wondered why infants and children run fevers much higher than adults? The answer might surprise you, as Dr. Frank Sabatino, Health Director at Florida’s Regency Health Resort , and a specialist in food, stress & premature aging, explains:

"The infant might produce a high fever, diarrhea, vomiting or whatever it can as powerfully and as quickly as possible. This is why children have the acute diseases of childhood. They have a much more powerful and acute voice for self preservation and will work much more forcefully to restore themselves."

The father of five, Sabatino was one of a select few chosen to be a Brookdale Fellow in Gerontology and Aging at the University of Texas Medical School and has a Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology and Master of Science in Neurobiology and Cell Biology from Emory University School of Medicine.

Babies come into life at the height of their wellness potential, Sabatino points out, and their bodies will do all in their power to maintain that state.

"If we expose that child to problems with diet or climate or emotion, this dynamic child will respond with all of the force of creation to try to restore itself and we don’t want to interfere with that process."

Sabatino said we have to rethink our attitudes about trying to interfere with the body’s natural ability to reject that which is threatening its integrity.

Applying such things as cold cloths, ice, aspirin or other medications, points out Sabatino, depresses the body’s natural ability to heal itself and forces that body to expand the range of sensitivity to toxemia.

"I content that this early interference with the dynamic health of children drives those children into the adults with chronic diseases that we see around us."

Dr. Sabatino and other members of the elite Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, are taking us "Back to the Future." Returning health care to the ideals dictated in the physicians’ creed: First: Do No Harm."

Society has strayed far from that concept and much blame can be placed at the feet of medical schools funded by pharmaceutical companies, and a Congress -- heavily influenced by lobbyists representing drug, dairy and meat industries -- that waives close FDA scrutiny over labeling and false advertising. Ads in media and medical journals promote drugs and foods that actually contribute to the diseaes they are touted as curing. (i.e., Premarin and dairy products to reputedly prevent osteoporosis in women and weak bones in children). They have vested interests in promoting food and drugs that interfere with the body’s natural processes of cleansing and healing. Idealistic medical students teach what they learn and are victims along with the rest of society.

But we, the public, are also to blame. By failing to question high tech tests and expensive drugs that hinder, not heal, we become willing accomplices in promoting disease, not health. Once responsibility is taken it becomes clear health is attained only by allowing the organism to perform its job of new cell procreation by providing proper nutrition and avoiding disease producing toxins.

Two personal incidents cite my own ignorance and evolution. As a young mother of 4 under the age of 4, demands for my attention caused me to disregard bouts with fever and chills until my husband rushed me to the emergency room late one night. After a 2 hour wait, a fever of 104 got the doctor’s attention. Adult fevers that high were rare and dangerous, he said, while administering a shot of penicillin to my derriere. The prick I barely felt, but as soon as the injected fluid penetrated the flesh, my body folded like an accordion in a heap on the floor.

Diagnosis: Kidney infection: one of many I was told was my lot to endure. I now know the fainting spell was my body’s reaction to an invasive foreign substance. At the time I was grateful for the antibiotics and the "permission" to go home and rest, which was the real "cure."

A few years later while residing in Bangkok, Thailand, our 5 year old, Valerie, developed a hot flush, clamminess, and unusual quietness. Her 105 degree fever found me blazing through the traffic in that city of four million as I once more sought the Godlike people in white to whom we entrusted our loved ones. It crossed my mind we should take up residence at the U.S. Army Hospital that served the needs of Americans abroad.

Amazingly (I thought then), by the time the doctor was able to see us, Valerie -- who minutes before lay limp in my arms -- was fever free and romping happily up and down the corridor.

After years of trial and error, which brought me close to death, I have a deeper understanding of the human body’s miraculous power to heal -- when not compromised by intervention. Misinformation, fear and conditioning has been exchanged for logical, scientifically-supported facts ("Seek and you shall find."), and my life, (and others’) has been enhanced as a result. Unfortunately, our enlightenment came after our children were grown, so they were subjected to many health-demoting practices borne of ignorance and are still paying the price.

Lest misinformed zealots cause emotion to overcome logic, rest assured medical journals have never documented a case of death due to high fever. Fever, or increased body temperature, is the body’s first acute reaction to resolving an infection.

Interference with this natural process lays the groundwork for more serious health problems. Thankfully more and more physicians are being made aware and are changing their practices accordingly. For that reason, I was dismayed when attending a recent University lecture by a prominent Huntsville pediatrician. While acknowledging fever as the body’s method of fighting disease, the doctor told parents if the fever got over 99 degrees (average temperature is 98.6) to bring the child in for treatment.

An expectant mother in tears told of the recent death of her infant daughter after her two month immunization shot, resultant high fever, and medical intervention. The doctor said the immunization, fever and death was a freak coincidence and would never happen again. Note: Similar immunization reactions around the country have caused distraught parents to remand some state laws requiring mandatory immunizations.

But how should fevers be treated? As Dr. Sabatino points out, the best policy to follow with fevers and most other physical ailments is to: "DO NOTHING INTELLIGENTLY."

He was not being facetious. DO NOTHING EXCEPT: Follow the time-honored advice minus medicines: Bed rest and plenty of fluids. The fluids, preferably distilled water only, keep the body from being dehydrated. The complete, physiologic rest enables the body to divert energies otherwise taxed by digestion and daily activities to concentrate on resolving the problem as rapidly as possible. Renewed energy and vitality make it obvious when it has. Similarly, for an infant still nursing or bottle fed, offer distilled water in a baby bottle to ward off dehydration. When the baby’s appetite returns, the health -- or cleansing -- crisis is over.

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