Strep/Scarlet fever - Antibiotics? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Looks like dd may have strep.  I'm waiting for a call from the lab for the test results.  She has fever (102), angry swollen tonsils and the glands on her neck are so swollen that she looks lopsided and her neck is causing her a lot of pain.  She also has a rash that looks like worsening of eczema on her face, neck, chest, arms. 

 

My holistic MD is very holistic and I'm thinking that if he prescribed antibiotics she probably does need them but....I have never given them to her before and we have been doing gut-healing stuff for so long because of her eczema that I really really want to not have to give them to her!  I've been giving mega-doses of Vit C and today started with Oil of Oregano and Goldenseal.  

 

 

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#2 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She does have strep/scarlet fever.  I am considering treating it myself with natural anti-bacterials and homeopathics.  I've given her a dose of Belladonna and upped the goldenseal to 1 dropperful every few hours and as much vitamin c as I can get into her.  I'm thinking about colloidal silver and usnea.  She's sleeping a lot.  She feels dreadful.  I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone who has experience treating this illness without antibiotics. 

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#3 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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I am very natural health minded and very conservative with antibiotics, even by current MDC standards.  However when my daughter was a toddler and had scarlet fever, she was so miserable.  It was a bad, bad illness for her and normally she rarely even gets sick.  So in that case we gave her the antibiotics, she felt better, and I don't really regret it.

 

I would give the antibiotics unless I had a great homeopathic doctor or other naturally minded doctor who thought they could help with out it.  Scarlet fever can be a pretty serious illness, so it's not something I would mess around with too much on your own.  The time to have treated it naturally on your own imo, would have been earlier in the illness before it got this bad (which I know is hard to do with kids sometimes who don't always explain how they're feeling very well).  I don't know anyone who treats scarlet fever on their own honestly.  Strep...yes, but not scarlet fever.

 

And if you do give her the antibiotics, it sounds like you know everything to do to help heal her gut right away afterwords.  Hope she feels better soon.


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#4 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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Strep is one of those things I don't like to mess with, it can get really nasty. I'd give antibiotics 


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#5 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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Absolutely give the antibiotics.  This is serious and she deserves relief.


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#6 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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The chance of developing rheumatic fever from an untreated strep infection is 3%.  Those are pretty high odds.    Rheumatic fever has a mortality rate of 2-5%.  People who survive can go on to develop rheumatic heart disease.  Even if they don't get heart disease, survivors often need to stay on life-long prophylactic antibiotics to prevent flares.

 

And, I have to say, I think it is pretty horrible to withhold medical care from your child. She's feeling terrible.  Why deny her an easy cure?  

 

Also, penicillin is natural! It's made from mold, remember?

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#7 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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When I was 16 I got simultaneous mono and strep, only they didn't know about the strep because they assumed the symptoms were all mono.  My neck swelled up like that. It turned out the strep was abcessing my throat. To this day -- 25 years later, I still remember the moment that I coughed until the abcesses burst in a fountain of foul-tasting yellow pus, which filled my hands when I held them out to cover my mouth as I coughed.    I can see it, and taste it, clear as day -- even though I was very, very, very sick.

 

It is true that most strep infections will resolve without antibiotics.  But when it's advanced to scarlet fever, the bug is really "digging in" and going more systemic.   The recommendations on "wait and see" on some infections these days are generally to wait and see if it progresses -- to what you've got now.   


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#8 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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I totally get being cautious about medications and wanting to use them only when necessary.

But right now it's necessary. She's not doing well.

Furthermore, it seems to me that you would be more cautious to give one, standardized, safe and effective compound, than to continue megadosing with multiple nonstandardized compounds. 

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#9 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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Is there even a shred of evidence that colloidal silver and such are at all effective in treating strep?  

 

Untreated strep can lead to the infection spreading to other parts of the body.  It can lead to rheumatic fever which can cause permanent heart damage or even death.  Treating with remedies that are not only unproven but untested is basically the same as leaving it untreated.  Antibiotics are known to be very effective and fast at treating strep. 

 

Your daughter is miserable, and antibiotics usually start helping within twenty-four hours or so of giving them.  I understand your reluctance to give antibiotics, but strep is one of those things that they really are needed for.  

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#10 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 06:54 PM
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Untreated, scarlet fever can lead to rheumatic fever, which can cause heart valve problems and congestive heart failure - it's the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children.  Rheumatic fever survivors often have to take antibiotic prophylaxis (I'm seeing two recommendations for the length of prophylaxis. The NIH says 3-5 years.  The AHA recommends prophylactic treatment for life.) to prevent a recurrence of the infection, as a second occurrence is more likely to be fatal. 

 

Your dd's infection sounds quite serious.  Please give the antibiotics now, before it gets worse.  A 10-day course of antibiotics now is quite obviously preferable to heart damage and a 3-5 year course of prophylaxis. 

 

Here's the NIH page on rheumatic fever: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004388/

 

 

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#11 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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It's probably been beaten to death, but in this case, do the antibiotics. Her gut will heal up again afterward much better than her heart will if she gets rheumatic fever. This is one I wouldn't wait on for anything. I had scarlet fever a few years ago. Aside from the real risk of heart damage, the rash was excruciating. Much worse than poison oak or sunburn. I tried treating it myself with oatmeal baths, homeopathics, topical lotions, etc. They just didn't cut it. I felt measurably better after just 24 hours on antibiotics.

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#12 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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I wouldn't mess with scarlet fever.  My uncle had it and lost almost all his hearing.  A college girlfriend of mine had it and had heart problems as a result.  Antibiotics are a godsend for certain illnesses, and this is one of them.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post

Untreated, scarlet fever can lead to rheumatic fever, which can cause heart valve problems and congestive heart failure - it's the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children.  Rheumatic fever survivors often have to take antibiotic prophylaxis (I'm seeing two recommendations for the length of prophylaxis. The NIH says 3-5 years.  The AHA recommends prophylactic treatment for life.) to prevent a recurrence of the infection, as a second occurrence is more likely to be fatal. 

 

Your dd's infection sounds quite serious.  Please give the antibiotics now, before it gets worse.  A 10-day course of antibiotics now is quite obviously preferable to heart damage and a 3-5 year course of prophylaxis. 

 

Here's the NIH page on rheumatic fever: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004388/

 

 



this....

why and how can you watch your baby be so sick and possibly get worse and not go with something that is PROVEN to be effective and possibly prevent lifelong illness or death? 


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#14 of 44 Old 04-04-2011, 08:33 PM
 
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I've been an MDC lurker for a while but I got an account tonight just to implore you to please please please give her the antibiotics.

 

My dh is a physician who is extremely respectful of parents' hesitance to use antibiotics and is as well extremely conservative in his own antibiotics prescribing habits, but he would like to impress upon you the fact that scarlet fever can kill a child. In fact, scarlet fever used to regularly kill children before penicillin was discovered.

 

The time to be conservative with abx is when they have a mild case of strep - not when it has already progressed to scarlet fever. PLEASE give her the FULL 10-DAY COURSE of antibiotics so that she can not only recover from this bout, but be prevented from harboring resistant bacteria in her system. Please do it for her. Giving her probiotic yogurt at mealtimes will help to maintain healthy gut flora during the course of abx - I know you are worried about this but please please don't let it stop you from giving her a proven, safe treatment at a time when it is 100% indicated and NECESSARY.

 

Wishing a speedy recovery to your dd.

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#15 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow.  I feel like I took a wrong turn and ended up at the Parenting Magazine forums...???

 

I never said I wasn't going to treat her, or that I was going to 'deny her medical treatment'.  I understand what strep is and the possible (and very rare complications) that it involves.  Otherwise I wouldn't be here asking for help with alternatives, I would just forego the antibiotics like I have done every other time.  Of course she will get medical treatment.  I am investigating what that treatment will entail.

 

Why would I consider alternative treatments?  Because I love my kids and want to do what's best for them.  And I have learned the hard way that it is always necessary (for me) to question what allopathic medicine touts as law.  

 

Scarlet fever is strep with a rash.  The rash came before anything else actually.  She is atopic and was reacting to the toxins produced by strep.  SF is not an advanced case of strep, its a different way of reacting to it from what I can tell, or perhaps it is a slightly different strain of the bacteria.  Her infection does seem quite serious, however.  The swelling on her neck seems to be out of the ordinary for regular old strep throat like I had as a kid.  I will probably give her the abx, much and all as I don't want to.  She's been sick for three days and doesn't seem to be getting better.  Also, it seems that rheumatic fever is probably due to an overactive immune system which dd does have and that makes me slightly nervous.

 

I'm still waiting for some old-school MDC mamas to chime in here though.  I know people have treated strep/scarlet fever alternatively.  There are some great older threads about this.

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#16 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 04:08 AM
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I'm confused about what you're thinking, mama.  You posted

 

"My holistic MD is very holistic and I'm thinking that if he prescribed antibiotics she probably does need them but....I have never given them to her before and we have been doing gut-healing stuff for so long because of her eczema that I really really want to not have to give them to her!  I've been giving mega-doses of Vit C and today started with Oil of Oregano and Goldenseal.  "

 

I agree with the bolded 100%.  It sounds like your mama-instinct is telling you that you should give the antibiotics. Listen to your instinct, mama.

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#17 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 04:11 AM
 
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Wow.  I feel like I took a wrong turn and ended up at the Parenting Magazine forums...???

 

I never said I wasn't going to treat her, or that I was going to 'deny her medical treatment'.  I understand what strep is and the possible (and very rare complications) that it involves.  Otherwise I wouldn't be here asking for help with alternatives, I would just forego the antibiotics like I have done every other time.  Of course she will get medical treatment.  I am investigating what that treatment will entail.

 

Why would I consider alternative treatments?  Because I love my kids and want to do what's best for them.  And I have learned the hard way that it is always necessary (for me) to question what allopathic medicine touts as law.  

 

Scarlet fever is strep with a rash.  The rash came before anything else actually.  She is atopic and was reacting to the toxins produced by strep.  SF is not an advanced case of strep, its a different way of reacting to it from what I can tell, or perhaps it is a slightly different strain of the bacteria.  Her infection does seem quite serious, however.  The swelling on her neck seems to be out of the ordinary for regular old strep throat like I had as a kid.  I will probably give her the abx, much and all as I don't want to.  She's been sick for three days and doesn't seem to be getting better.  Also, it seems that rheumatic fever is probably due to an overactive immune system which dd does have and that makes me slightly nervous.

 

I'm still waiting for some old-school MDC mamas to chime in here though.  I know people have treated strep/scarlet fever alternatively.  There are some great older threads about this.



Yes, but you're not on Parenting.  You're on MDC.  And if EVERY poster on MDC is telling you to give the antibiotics, maybe you need to re-think your approach.  You've already delayed giving her the antibiotics.  You shouldn't wait any longer.

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#18 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 04:25 AM
 
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Hi there, I don't hardly ever post here, but I was upset enough reading this thread that I felt I needed to contribute.  

 

I had strep throat two years ago as an adult and I wasn't nearly as sick, I don't think, as your daughter.  Nevertheless, it felt, like someone was stabbing and shearing the inside of my throat with sharp knives.  It was horrific.   With my firstborn I had 54 hours of pitocin induced labor a month early with severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.    Last September, I herniated my small bowel, developed a blockage, and had to have emergency surgery to correct it.  I would rather go through BOTH of those horrific experiences again...than have strep throat. It is that painful.  I am a grown woman, and I did not stop crying with pain until a few hours after my first dose of antibiotics.

 

Homeopathy is NOT going to cure your child.  She needs antibiotics.   

 

I pretty much never give my kids medicine, ever.   I use all natural, homemade cleaning products.  I feed them a natural diet.  I avoid anything artificial.   And I would NEVER, EVER, EVER with-hold antibiotics from a child with strep throat as severe as your daughter has.   

 

Please, for the love of whatever you believe in, PLEASE post back and say you've treated her.  I am in tears thinking of your poor baby, completely unmedicated.  (Homeopathy is not medication.  It's sugar water.)

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#19 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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I hope you gave your poor daughter the medicine. Anything less is medical neglect.
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#20 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 06:10 AM
 
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I had scarlet fever last Nov/Dec. I disagree that scarlet fever is just a different expression of strep. Dh had a sore throat, went to the office nurse, and she said it wasn't strep. So when I had a bitterly sore throat, I ignored it as a virus. When I broke out in the neck to toe rash, I finally went in. My strep test came screaming positive and it took 2 rounds of antibiotics, (plus a belated Rx for my husband to avoid the heart complications that can come from strep). Then I came down with BOTH Fifth's Disease AND cytomegalovirus at the same time because my immunity was shot all to heck from fighting strep for over a month.

Look at the join dates of some of the posters here. These ARE old-time MDCers chiming in here. While I agree we shouldn't accept Western medicine as the end-all be-all, I also think it shouldn't be avoided at ALL costs.

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#21 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 06:24 AM
 
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Please give the antibiotics. I understand the reluctance. We've heard so much in recent years about overuse of antibiotics, and about how they're sometimes prescribed needlessly. This is not one of those cases. Scarlet fever routinely killed children, before we discovered penicillin. There's also the risk of rheumatic fever, and the risk of strep infections elsewhere in the body. Toxic shock syndrome is also always a concern, with strep.

You may have been thinking of me when you mentioned people who have decided not to treat strep. I did a lot of research on this, a few years ago, and posted about it, when I had a strep throat. I was in the middle of a nasty flare of ulcerative colitis, and my GI doc and I were trying to decide whether the risk of the antibiotics, for somebody like me with a seriously diseased gut, outweighed the risk of forgoing them. What we found out was that in adults over 18, it is SOMETIMES advisable to forgo treating strep, IF conditions exist that make the antibiotics a clear and present health risk. In those cases, the risk of complications from the strep is a hair less than the risk of the antibiotics, and so delaying antibiotics is sometimes a reasonable choice, when made with medical supervision and a close eye on the progress of the illness. So I went untreated, knowing it was a calculated risk. I am an adult, and I could take that risk with my own health, knowing that the doc I trusted had my back, and would let me know if he thought it was time to go for the abx.

Even the most alternative opinions I could find strongly recommended that CHILDREN with strep infections be treated with antibiotics, every time.
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#22 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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Many people believe scarlet fever is what caused Helen Keller's blindness and deafness. 

 

I had strep throat as a college student and ignored it thinking it was just a virus. Like Mosaic it took two rounds of antibiotics to finally kick it. I also had PSGN (my kidneys were unable to properly work) as a result of the infection so was simply miserable for months. And who knows what having that may eventually mean for my kidney function.

 

How can you deny your daughter antibiotics??

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#23 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 06:36 AM
 
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I am also conservative with abx use, but would absolutely have already started them in your dd's condition. The pain and suffering alone would be reason enough to go straight to the abx, but the real risk of dangerous complications far outweighs any possible risk of eczema, etc. I have eczema (despite not taking abx in at least a decade) and I'd rather be covered in it than have strep throat or scarlet fever.

You can usually give whatever alternative treatments at the same time as the abx. No need to forgo one in favor of using the other exclusively.

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#24 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joybird View Post

Wow.  I feel like I took a wrong turn and ended up at the Parenting Magazine forums...???

 

I never said I wasn't going to treat her, or that I was going to 'deny her medical treatment'.  I understand what strep is and the possible (and very rare complications) that it involves.  Otherwise I wouldn't be here asking for help with alternatives, I would just forego the antibiotics like I have done every other time.  Of course she will get medical treatment.  I am investigating what that treatment will entail.

 

Why would I consider alternative treatments?  Because I love my kids and want to do what's best for them.  And I have learned the hard way that it is always necessary (for me) to question what allopathic medicine touts as law.  

 

Scarlet fever is strep with a rash.  The rash came before anything else actually.  She is atopic and was reacting to the toxins produced by strep.  SF is not an advanced case of strep, its a different way of reacting to it from what I can tell, or perhaps it is a slightly different strain of the bacteria.  Her infection does seem quite serious, however.  The swelling on her neck seems to be out of the ordinary for regular old strep throat like I had as a kid.  I will probably give her the abx, much and all as I don't want to.  She's been sick for three days and doesn't seem to be getting better.  Also, it seems that rheumatic fever is probably due to an overactive immune system which dd does have and that makes me slightly nervous.

 

I'm still waiting for some old-school MDC mamas to chime in here though.  I know people have treated strep/scarlet fever alternatively.  There are some great older threads about this.

So, if people on MDC tell you that your kid needs the antibiotics and that it's serious and that's not what you want to hear, your response is to insult us and pull out the crunch card? Yikes.  Ultimately, all of this mothering isn't about us.  It's about our kids.  When our kids are clearly suffering, it's time to quit worrying about our crunch cards and how we're labeled and parent the little people in front of us as they need it.  

 

I could give you my laundry list of qualifications for being a "crunchy enough mama" for you to listen to, but I don't think it matters.  You asked for opinions here and described a very sick, obviously suffering child.  Respond to your child.  

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#25 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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Hey  :)    Old school MDCer here who just went through strep.  I woke up with a raging sore throat etc.   and dragged myself to the doc.   Started on ABX and by the next DAY I was good as new.  Please give your child the antibiotics. 

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#26 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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I really hope that your daughter hasn't already suffered permanent damage, and that you've given her the antibiotics.


Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#27 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 07:55 AM
 
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My great aunt died from scarlet fever in the 1940's before the introduction on antibiotics.  I'm not a huge fan of antibiotic.  I've seen first hand the effects of the super bugs in my patients.

I understand you want treat your daughter naturally, but scarlet fever is a systemic strep infection.  It is very serious.

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#28 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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old school mdc-er and strep sufferer here.  give your child the antibiotics.  trust me, at 3-4 days of the agony you are describing, you would be on your knees and knuckles begging for antibiotics if you were your dd - i've had a couple of bouts of it like you are describing and i truly felt like i was suffering in the real sense of the word. 

 

this is the time to meditate on being grateful for every little mercy (having medical care and medicine for your sick child) rather than meditating on which "crunchy" remedy to give and patting yourself on the back for holding out against the doctor's suggestion and prescription. 

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#29 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

Many people believe scarlet fever is what caused Helen Keller's blindness and deafness. 

 

I had strep throat as a college student and ignored it thinking it was just a virus. Like Mosaic it took two rounds of antibiotics to finally kick it. I also had PSGN (my kidneys were unable to properly work) as a result of the infection so was simply miserable for months. And who knows what having that may eventually mean for my kidney function.

 

How can you deny your daughter antibiotics??



 Scarlet Fever was also what made Mary Ingalls blind for life in the Little House series.

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#30 of 44 Old 04-05-2011, 08:44 AM
 
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I think even the most OG MDC member is going to tell you to give the ABX. This isn't one of those times they were prescribed as a precautionary; this is warranted and not doing so could put your child's health in jeopordy.  Why take that risk?   


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