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Periactin (Cyproheptadine)

It is now generally accepted, even in the most conventional medical circles, that stress in adults can precipitate illnesses. Recurrent minor afflictions often seem to occur when you are under the most pressure. Even more serious conditions like heart attacks and cancer can often be traced back to a major stressful event, of which a bereavement is the commonest. This tendency to illness is undoubtedly because of the depressant effect of stress on the body’s immune system. This lowers our defenses, allowing ill health to take over. Children, however, are just as liable to suffer from the effects of stress as adults and their immune systems are equally vulnerable. Obviously they do not have the same sorts of stress as their parents, as they are not concerned with balancing the housekeeping or wondering how to keep up with the mortgage payments.
Many specialists on asthma will maintain that it is the over-protective attitude of the parents that causes the tension in children which brings on an attack. It is natural, they claim, to do all you can to protect your child from environmental allergens, from catching cold and from the mockery of school fellows; but most parents take this too far and their child becomes very nervous and fearful of the slightest wheeze. To this I would say ‘What a load of rubbish!’ Obviously these so-called experts’ own children have never suffered from asthma so they can only rely on theory and not on practical experience. My wife and I, like most parents I know, have never over-protected our own asthmatic children. In fact, we tend to do the opposite as we are keen that they should be able to lead normal active lives.
Certain children just seem more prone to suffer with stress in the same way that some adults do. Simon was a classic example, in that he was a natural worrier. At the age of 9 he would worry about practically anything but was at his worst at the end of school holidays. He liked school very much but for some strange reason a few days before the start of a new term would become very concerned, mainly at the thought of a new teacher. Once his parents realized this situation, they were able to reassure Simon that there was nothing to be worried about. This was in no way being over-protective. Stress in children is very common and can suppress the immune system in a very short period of time, perhaps taking only a day or two. An asthma attack can quickly follow. It is up to parents to recognize when their children are anxious or concerned and then to deal with this by massive reassurance. It is amazing that once their problems are shared then the stress is relieved and the immune system quickly recovers.
Just occasionally, stress in children persists even though the parents exert a calming influence. While tranquillizers are available I would very rarely recommend these and prefer to try a more natural approach. Sarah was a lovely 10 year old who was very shy and used to worry continuously about going out to new places. Often trips out would have to be cancelled at the last minute when Sarah became wheezy. I suggested to her mother that we should teach Sarah the technique of self-hypnosis which would enable her to relax at times of stress. Her parents were very wary to start with at the thought of their young child being put ‘under the influence. However, they soon saw how effective it was as Sarah became much more settled. Not only that but it did her confidence a world of good to know she had an effective method of stopping her wheezing.
I always think of the cells of the immune system as an army of soldiers who will march off to war against any enemy invaders. If these soldiers are kept in tip-top condition then they will be able to cope with virtually anything. Applied to asthma, all the viruses and allergens will not be able to gain a hold if the system is functioning efficiently. To do this it is necessary to boost it with a healthy diet, the correct supplements, regular exercise and as stress-free a life as possible. No parent wants to see their loved ones fighting for breath with asthma so you owe it to them to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle. You will be amazed how quickly and easily your child will take to them. If the immune system is kept strong you will go a long way to preventing any further asthma attacks.

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