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Private medical cover holders warned alternative medicines could be harmful to children

Published on 29/12/2010
A new study has suggested that private medical cover holders should not shun conventional medicine in favour of alternative therapies for their children.

According to research by scientists in Australia, parents often believe that alternative therapies are more 'natural' than conventional medicines and so will not carry the risk of any side effects.

However, evidence shows that such therapies can be harmful and even fatal when administered to children.

Experts writing in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood analysed monthly data reported to the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit between 2001 and 2003.

Over this period, there were 39 occasions where children had suffered side effects or complications related to alternative remedies, including four deaths.

In 25 cases (64 per cent), the adverse effects were rated as severe, life-threatening or fatal.

The study said all four deaths were a result of a failure to use conventional treatments.

One death involved an eight-month-old baby admitted to hospital "with malnutrition and septic shock following naturopathic treatment with a rice milk diet from the age of three months for 'congestion'", said the report.

"Another death involved a 10-month-old infant who presented with septic shock following treatment with homeopathic medicines and dietary restriction for chronic eczema," it said.

Earlier this year, a study found that popular alternative therapy acupuncture can help alleviate pain by influencing neural pathways in the brain.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Health
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