The Fear of Illness

The Fear of Illness  |  Brannick ClinicThe fear of illness is so profound—I just don’t understand it. I had a patient with a 3 month old child who brought her baby to the ER for a very minor cold. It was a Sunday and our office was closed and the mother panicked. She left the ER with three prescriptions: prednisone, an antibiotic and Claritin. Let me remind you, this child was only three months old and less than 15 pounds—nuclear weapons were given to her for a very minor cold. The mother did have some sense to question the prescriptions and did not give them to her child and instead came to see me the next day. I reassured her to keep nursing and the baby would be well within 3-4 days. I did not give her any substances to give to the child—she just needed reassurance. The baby was greatly better within 3-days.

I remember when we were children, my siblings and I and all the other children in the neighborhood rarely went to the doctor. When we were sick, we stayed in bed for a few days. The episodes of illness were also rare. We ate soup and my mother put a cool towel on our forehead with high fevers. Rarely did we take antibiotics or medications. It was almost all home care. We survived and are alive and well today!

I personally had several childhood illnesses—measles both German and Red, mumps, chicken pox, strep throat, etc. and got through them just fine without medical intervention.

Today fevers are an enormous source of fear (for parents), where it is just the body trying to heal itself. Kids are given medications to suppression any minor symptom they may have. Symptoms are the way the body communicates with you by telling you something is wrong. Symptoms usually show up when we are run down. We need to take notice by slowing down and resting not suppressing the symptom with medications. I see many children in my office and am amazed by their compromised health. Kids today are sick many times a year and given several rounds of medications.

What is driving this fear that every cold or stomach pain is cancer? Could it be the commercials on TV? I recently watched an ad saying gas and bloating many be a gynecological cancer! So, now every women should run to a gyn and get checked for cancer because every women has gas. Putting fear into your head creates more doctor visits and more invasive testing and more money for the doctors. I really think this is irresponsible. No wonder every symptom brings fear and a trip to the ER or doctor.