Children are extremely vulnerable to common viruses, allergies, and illnesses. Even strong, energetic and healthy kids are can get sick when surrounded by children in school, sports programs and after-school care. Antibiotics are used more and more frequently for childhood ailments, but one problem with this is the possibility of overuse. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics when this form of medicine is over-prescribed or becomes too common. Western and traditional Chinese medicine doctors are combining efforts to educate the public about the problems with, and misuse of, antibiotics, as well as the available alternatives for children. Children are some of the patients that are most susceptible to the stronger, more resistant strains of bacteria that are created by the over-prescription of antibiotics.
Among the alternatives to antibiotics is traditional Chinese medicine. A gentler, subtler approach for children is Chinese herbal therapy, as well as various forms of massage, acupuncture, and specific dietary guidelines. Some of the problems that these methods can easily alleviate include colds, ear infections, allergies, and even skin problems such as eczema, which has a strong correlation to breathing problems like asthma. In a study performed by the University of Michigan and the Beijing Heart, Lung, and Blood Vessel Research Center in 2004, 102 children who took Chinese herbal medicine for their mild intermittent asthma were compared with 109 children with similar asthma who used only Western medicine. The children using only Western medicine were three times more likely to make hospital emergency department visits, twice as likely to report symptoms, and five times as likely to use bronchodilators as children using Chinese herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine and acupuncture helps other conditions that challenge children such as: