If you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ve hopefully heard of the massive recall of children and infant medications from pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson earlier this month. As a father of 8, it certainly caught my attention.
According to the related FDA news release, medicines involved may have too much of the active ingredient, inadequately tested inactive ingredients, or even foreign particles which don’t belong in there at all.
All this on the heels of another major recall of 21 types of infant’s and children’s liquid Tylenol last September due to bacterial contamination and another recall of Tylenol Arthritis Pain in November due to a chemical contaminant. Clearly children and adults alike have been put at risk in the past several months.
So what’s a health conscious citizen to do? According to the big pharma influenced FDA, buy generic. Um, were they manufactured in the same plant? No word on that.
I have a better proposal. Stop using all forms acetaminophen and ibuprofen altogether regardless of manufacturer. And yes, I’m serious.
The real dangers of acetaminophen and ibuprofen
Regular acetaminophen use has been directly attributable to 8% to 10% of the estimated 50,000 annual cases of end stage renal disease in the United States. The more of it you use, even as prescribed, the greater the odds you’re going to die of kidney failure.
According to an article on acetaminophen toxicity by Dr. Susan Farrell, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, acetaminophen is one of the most common pharmaceuticals involved in both intentional and accidental poisonings. In the United States, toxic effects of acetaminophen overdose is now the most common cause of acute hepatic failure and the second leading cause of liver failure requiring transplantation.
While only about 1 in 50 overdose patients die or require a liver transplant, an overdose can occur by taking less than double the daily recommended maximum dose. Is this really a substance you want to keep around the house, much less feed yourself and your kids?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen are no bastion of safety, either. In fact, they’re probably worse. Including both prescription NSAIDs and over-the-counter varieties like Motrin and Advil, over 30 billion doses are taken each year just in the United States. This number on the rise. So are related hospitalizations and deaths.
Every year in the U.S. over 100,000 people are hospitalized and over 16,000 will die from NSAID use and misuse. According to one study, 1 in every 1,200 people who take an NSAID for at least two months will die from related gastrointestinal complications. That doesn’t count those with adverse effects who survive.
Fortunately, there are safer alternatives for Tylenol, Motrin, and their generic equivalents.
Natural remedies for fever reduction, pain relief and inflammation
The most common reasons over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are taken include fevers, general aches and pains, and to reduce inflammation. Each of these have much healthier alternatives in the world of natural medicine.
Remember, first of all, that a fever is your body’s defense mechanism. Infants under 3 months with a fever should always see a doctor right away. Otherwise, here are some simple techniques helping you or your child remain comfortable and reduce fevers:
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing to allow your body to breathe. Keep the upper body covered to help prevent chills.
- Take a lukewarm bath (sponge bath for infants). Hot water will be clearly counterproductive, but so will cold water as it causes your body to work harder to stay warm, therefore raising your internal temperature.
- Drink lots of cool fluids. This helps prevent dehydration and cools the body down. Some herbal teas with licorice root or echinacea can help reduce fevers too.
Ask any parent the most common cause of infant pain and they’ll
likely respond either tummy aches or teething pain. Here are some
great natural ways to ease infant teething and gas pains:
- Teething pain can often be helped by massaging your baby’s gums with your finger or allowing them to chew on a cooled pacifier or teething ring.
- Apply clove oil very lightly directly onto baby’s gums to reduce pain (older children and adults can get a similar effect for a sore tooth by holding a whole clove against it with their tongue).
- Let baby chew on a natural herbal (not candy) licorice stick. Besides numbing baby’s gums, licorice also has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can ease stomach irritations.
- Another great combined teething pain reliever and stomach soother is pure vanilla extract (real vanilla, not the artificial stuff). Similar to clove oil, apply by rubbing a tiny bit on baby’s sore gums.
- Infants with upset stomachs, gas pains and colic can often get relief using all-natural ingredients as well. One product I like, Gentle Naturals Tummy Soother, uses chamomile and ginger — both well known for anxiety reducing and stomach soothing properties.
- For general aches and pains, children (over 2 years old) and adults alike find the arnica, MSM, and menthol in Rub On Relief pain cream are work just as well as ibuprofen at relieving pain. Those with arthritis will especially love Rub On Relief for the Celadrin found in it, clinically proven to help reduce pain and increase flexibility and mobility in 100% of those who tested it.
Most children really don’t have a problem with inflammation. It’s when we get older that our bodies stop producing most of the proteolytic enzymes which signal our body to end its inflammatory response to injuries. That’s why it takes so much longer for something as simple as a sprained ankle to heal as an adult compared to when we were children.
Fortunately the solution is simple: supplement with the proteolytic systemic enzymes your body doesn’t make enough of. This allows your body to naturally fight inflammation. Other beneficial side effects of these enzymes are they also clean our blood, fight off viral and bacterial infections, and break down excess fibrin which leads to scar tissue inside our bodies.
In the end, there really are much healthier natural alternatives to drugs like Tylenol and Motrin. We just need to break our collective habit of reflexively taking drugs as our first response to pain.
TV, Whelton PK, Klag MJ. Risk of kidney failure associated with the
use of acetaminophen, aspirin, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory
drugs. The New England Journal of Medicine. 1994 Dec
Farrell S. Toxicity, Acetaminophen. Medscape. 2009 Sep 23.
Frech E, Go M. Treatment and chemoprevention of NSAID-associated
gastrointestinal complications. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk
Management. 2009; 5: 65—73.
Singh G. Recent considerations in nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
gastropathy. The American journal of medicine. 1998 Jul
TramÃ¨r MR, et al. Quantitative estimation of rare adverse events which
follow a biological progression: a new model applied to chronic NSAID
use. Pain. 2000 Mar;85(1-2):169-82.
Widrig R, Suter A, Saller R, Melzer J. Choosing between NSAID and arnica for
topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised,
double-blind study. Rheumatology International. 2007
Written By: Updated: May 10,2010