So we got the news every parent of a sick child loves to hear – “positive for strep”. Great.
So far, this winter has been filled with about every other week of a sick child since mid-January. Something different every time. We’ve all had the flu (even with flu shots for everyone), the head cold, random fevers for no apparent reason and now strep. And since I’m counting the hours until my youngest gets strep, I’m already prepared for that.
This has also presented a whole new challenge when it comes to treating the various ailments. The majority of children’s medications contain artificial colors and flavors, obviously to help make the child take it. The dye free versions still contain the artificial flavors. Fortunately, since my kids aren’t that sensitive to those, I choose to treat the illness over worrying about the artificial flavors. (I’m not getting into the argument about giving medications to kids – not my battle. When I have a child with a 104 fever, you bet I’m giving her something for it.)
So on this past dreary, rainy Saturday, we made a rushed trip to the doctor’s office after a night of fever and throwing up when I noticed her tonsils were white and the red pustules around her uvula. I didn’t need to have doctorate degree to figure out that was bad. He confirmed the strep and called in an antibiotic. It has been a while since my girls have been on any antibiotic – we’ve been lucky. The last stuff I remember was white, so I didn’t think anything about the color.
When the pharmacist handed me two bottles with a lovely shade of pepto pink liquid, all types of four letter words went through my head. I asked if they carried a brand with no dye and they didn’t (after the usual funny looks from the pharmacist). At that point, I opted for the lesser of the evils and took the antibiotic home. My daughter was too sick for me to refuse to give her the medicine until I could find an acceptable replacement.
After the first two doses, not only was she feeling a little better, but she didn’t seem to be having an adverse reaction to the color. However, after four doses, the build up of the color was making her goofy and she couldn’t get to sleep until several hours after her normal bedtime, and it was a school night. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to get her out of bed in the morning. I needed plan B.
It took me several phone calls to various pharmacies to even find someone who carried one without dye. It then required a new prescription from the doctor, who already thinks I’m a little off my rocker for putting my kids on this “diet”. But they agreed to do it.
But seriously, why does it need to be pink? When did we implant the idea in our kids that it has to be a bright color in order to make them want to drink it? What’s wrong with white? All the antibiotics I ever got from our pharmacy in
When the girls had horrible coughs, I tried a homeopathic cough and mucus medicine that contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. My daughters thought it tasted good and, actually to my surprise, it worked well! And since it is homeopathic, it should have no interaction with other medications.
I could go on about all types of things I’ve learned about artificial colors (like do you know they are made from petroleum by-products? Yes, the same type of crude oil stuff they spilled in the Gulf, but it is OK to give to our kids. Really?). But maybe another day. I encourage you to look it up yourself and read some information. The Feingold site has lots in information about it (www.Feingold.org).
But I do ask you to ask yourself next time you give your kids medicine why it has to be a color. Pink, red and purple are fun to look at. But white works just the same.
Amy B. is a mother of two girls, ages 5 and 3, who is following the Feingold program to help control hyperactivity issues in her 5-year old daughter. Amy was on the Feingold program as a child when it was first introduced in the 70’s and knows its success first hand.
Amy is a financial analyst for an automotive finance company and a volunteer firefighter/EMT, where she also serves as President of her fire department. She lives in Zelienople with her husband and two girls.