The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases
By Enola Gay
Paratus Family Press
Imagine waking up one day to a world filled with people suffering from tuberculosis, whooping cough, measles, chicken pox, bubonic plague. What would you do? How would you know which infection you or your kids might be facing?
Well, this imaginary world is not too farfetched. Certain infections once thought conquered and crushed are making a comeback. Conditions which many 21st-century parents have never had concern or even contact with are now popping up across the country. A whooping cough outbreak in the Pacific Northwest stretched from British Columbia to California. A school in California had an outbreak of over twenty students (all of whom were vaccinated, no less) with chicken pox.
The Prepared Family Guide provides an important resource for just such a worrisome time. More important, for any family that has chosen not to vaccinate their children, this book is a must (along with other complementary books) to ensure that if one of these infections does pop up, the family is prepared to deal with it.
The book’s organization is excellent, both overall and in separate discourses on each particular disease. Each disease is addressed with a number of short sections including description, signs and symptoms, treatment, containment, history, and finally a “doctor says” comment.
Each section is useful, but especially the signs and symptoms and treatment sections. Many modern families have never seen a case of many of these diseases, and with their possible resurgence, a familiarity with their symptoms can enable a family to catch a condition before it becomes a crisis.
The work’s main weakness is in the treatment section. First, treatment recommendations are relatively limited to conventional, modern medicine (drugs, antibiotics), and a few other, more historical or natural remedies. Some treatment sections do include very useful and practical observations, such as the close trimming of fingernails for someone suffering from chickenpox to reduce damage from the urge to itch.
The book provides limited information on herbalism (including a natural anti-louse shampoo), with none on homeopathy or any other alternative healing arts for treating these conditions. This is somewhat understandable, given the author’s credentials. But just as she consulted with a medical doctor to fill in certain gaps in the book, the inclusion of other disciplines would have further increased the tome’s value.
The Prepared Family Guide also could use more generalized preventative information, both nutritional and environmental. For instance, in areas of the country where mosquitoes and their attendant diseases are increasing, the recommendation to build bat housing and introduce other natural predator controls would be useful.
What the book highlights is the growing need for a holistic, desk reference-type work made available and in a format that is accessible to average families covering a wide range of conditions and diseases, both contagious and degenerative.
Imagine a children’s health guide detailing common conditions and diseases, along with recommendations from all the pertinent fields: dietary, supplementation, herbs, homeopathy, integrated medicine, historical remedies and treatments, and more.
Such a resource is sorely needed to equip and enable parents to bring the best of each discipline to bear on the disparate and sometimes challenging health conditions children contract. Until such a book is written, parents should build a good library with all the tools needed to raise healthy kids in a sometimes unhealthy world, including ones like The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2012.