Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tylenol & Vaccinations

I guess I've been on a roll of reflection, self-pity and concern. So why not keep that theme alive again today?! Ha.

Before we wised up when M was three years old, we went to a pediatrician I will refer to as Dr. Chia pet. (Because her name was similar to the plant-growing wonder--not her hair!) Dr. Chia pet had been a pediatrician for many, many years and actually has a decent reputation, depending on who you talk to about it. She was one of those doctors that I never felt connected to. When M was an infant she would repeatedly call him 'she' and rarely did she even skim over our chart before entering the exam room in an attempt to fake some knowledge of us having been there before.

When a child starts going more and more to a doctor because the parent is concerned about certain behaviors or slow development, I'd like to think that's when a pediatrician should make a concerted effort to REMEMBER said patient and the patient's Mom. I just don't think that's asking too much.

During the first year of M's life I repeatedly said things to her like 'my nephew has autism, and the fact that M shakes his head, tenses his body, repeatedly says "EEEE!", and didn't roll over on time makes me worried.' Every time I spouted off a new (and very valid) concern, she would say, and I quote, 'This child does not have autism.' Interesting...
When M was still not crawling at 14 months, I would have to force her to refer us for an evaluation with early intervention. When he was not walking at 20 months I would have to again force her for a referral for private physical therapy at which time she said to me, 'I'll give you the referral for PT, but I don't think he needs one for speech.' (And yes, two months later we were in speech therapy, and M at five years old still does not speak conversationally)

And so we arrive at the purpose of this post: tylenol and vaccinations. As a first time Mom I was always reading Babycenter and naturally listening to any 'tips' my doctor could give me. One such tip was to give tylenol 30 minutes prior to vaccinations being administered so that your child wouldn't have the 'annoying' fever and side effects that may have followed. Since M had reacted in such a way on several occasions before, I was all for trying to alleviate any discomfort for my sweet baby. When I'd proudly tell Dr. Chia Pet that I'd given M tylenol before the shots, she always told me that was a great idea. Really, she did.

Well, today I understand a lot more about tylenol and its effect on the body. Don't get me wrong, I still use tylenol, but I prefer motrin for my little guys. Please remember I am most certainly not a doctor nor do I claim to be explaining this process in perfect medical terms, but tylenol blocks the body's natural production of something called glutathione. Glutathione is a really important thing that aids our bodies to naturally pass or process toxins. Make no mistake, even though vaccinations are beneficial, they are also TOXINS.

So by giving M tylenol before each and every toxic dose, I was essentially blocking his ability to process the vaccines in a healthy manner. Did I cause my child's autism? Well, maybe I did. (Insert expletives and desire to become sick to my stomach here) And this is why I always tell people who ask me about the vaccine debate that we weren't one of the cases that you hear about happening as a result of the MMR vaccination; we had delays and red flag behaviors that occurred from very early on. However, I do NOT discount the fact that vaccinations could have been one of the things that spurred M's autism since he started getting vaccinations at only five days old. I believe in the power of medicine, but I also believe that we need to focus not so much on discrediting those who believe vaccinations caused autism, but instead on developing tests for newborns that can determine whether or not they have certain genetic markers for disease. This way, parents can make more educated decisions about whether to delay, space out, or forgo vaccinations altogether for their children. And for sure, so they'll know NOT to give a child with a predisposition any tylenol before being vaccinated.

You're going to start reading more and more about mitochondrial and metabolic diseases and their relation to autism. These things are already being noticed as potential underlying causes to autism and other developmental disabilities. I am very hopeful that the pioneers in autism research are able to keep searching for, and hopefully pin down, the true cause(s) of autism soon so that we can stop this growing epidemic. It is not going to be easy. There are a lot of interests involved in this debate, many of which do not have our children's health as their highest priority.

In the meantime...I would urge you to not give your child tylenol before or after vaccines. Go with motrin instead. I don't want anyone else to worry that they, the parent who gave life to their beautiful child, may also have caused their child a lifelong disability.


sarah said...

Again debbie thank you for sharing. We have talked a few times about vaxes so you know where I stand and I appreciate your honesty and courage in writing this post. As you know there is so much misinformation and fear regarding vaxes. Keep on keeping on, must keep swimming right?

Kara said...

I'm glad you mentioned motrin. I thought it was any sort of pain reliever. On a much lighter note, you missed a grand ol' affair this evening.

Mandy said...

My dear Debbie. My heart just hurts for you!! I think of you so often now that we've reconnected. Margelle has some issues, very small in relation to M, but when people don't understand her, say rude comments, etc. I think of you and what you endure.

Let your mommy guilt go on this one. We were "unassuming" parents who also gave Margelle Tylenol before her vaccinations. Her doctors office even GAVE US a box with every appt. She is not autistic. You did NOT, under any circumstance, did NOT do this to your sweet boy!! You're a wonderful mom advocating and educating others and I applaud that tremendously, but don't lay this on yourself. Like you, I now will no longer give Tylenol before appts. and given Patrick's history of prematurity and milk protein intolerance, I spaced his vaccinations out. Education is power and you're such a wonderful mom for helping others!!! {Hugs}