2. Childhood Illness And Fasting
"Wise parents," wrote Dr. John H. Tilden (an early Hygienist), "will never feed their sick children. Be not afraid to let them fast. For, every day that they fast lessens their illness and their danger. Feeding adds to their suffering and danger and prolongs their illness."
Dr. Shelton also echoed these sentiments when he said: "Whenever animals, both young and old, become sick they instinctively refrain from eating. Warmth, quiet, and fasting, with a little water, are all they want. Infants, too, when sick require only warmth, quiet, and fasting, plus some water."
2.1 Specific Illnesses and Fasting for Children
Hygienic literature, and especially those books by Dr. Shelton, contains much practical advice about the care of children during illness. During almost any disease or illness of a child or infant, the basic requirements are the same: rest, fresh air, pure water when needed, warmth, and quiet. Fasting plays an important role in the child's recovery from sickness.
What follows in this section is a list of some of the common childhood illnesses and the suggested course of action by the parent in caring for the sick child.
Anemia is a lack of red blood cells. "The value of a fast in all forms of anemia is beyond doubt. Children that have been allowed to develop anemia should be given a short fast—three to five days; older children longer—or a few days on orange juice and fed properly thereafter."
Rickets are bone changes brought about by impaired nutrition. "Fasting has a beneficial effect in cases of rickets. Fasting properly done promotes growth. After a fast, an increase of body mass is accomplished which may have required years of normal growth."
A cold is a process of vicarious elimination. "For the 'common cold,' the child should be put to bed, all food stopped, except perhaps some orange juice (if there is no fever), and kept warm. That is all there is to the treatment of any so-called acute disease—rest, fasting, warmth. No cold can last long when the child is cared for in this manner."
Colic is digestive impairment of an infant. "The remedy for colic is: stop all feeding until comfort has returned."
Fever indicates poisoning; usually through decomposition in the intestines. "Fever will last until the poisons have been eliminated and the decomposing food voided. When such cases are fasted and not fed, the troubles end. Feeding and drugging are the elements of danger. When animals, young or old, become sick, they refrain from all eating."
In infants, vomiting is usually the first sign of acute disease. "Vomiting is a means of emptying the stomach before beginning housecleaning of the body. No food should be given the sick child."
Measles begin with a "head cold" and are accompanied by fever and malaise. "No food should be allowed until 24 hours after all acute symptoms are gone. Feeding should begin with fresh fruit juice, and then followed by fresh fruit the next day."
2.9 Whooping Cough
Whooping cough is a paroxysm of coughing. "Unless such a case is fasted, the coughing becomes more severe. The child should be given as much fresh air as possible and as much water as thirst calls for, but no food of any kind should be given until complete relaxation is secured (usually within three or four days). After full relaxation occurs, fruit juices may be given for two or three days, after which fresh fruit may be given. If the coughs tend to increase after meals, stop the feeding at once."
Mumps are an inflammation of the salivary glands, especially the parotids. "Rest in bed with warmth until the temperature is normal and the swelling has gone. No food and no drugs should be given. If the child refuses to fast, orange or grapefruit juice may be used. After the swelling is gone, fruit may be fed three times a day for the first three days. After that, a gradual return to a normal and healthy diet may be done."
Diphtheria is an inflamed and feverish throat condition. "Food must not be given until the throat is healed. Then fruit juices may be given for two days and then a gradual return to the normal diet. It is the fat, soft, 'well-fed' children who generally develop this sort of disease. I have never known a case of diphtheria in strict vegetarians on a low-protein diet."
2.12 Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is an acute disease involving mostly the small intestine. "When such patients are fasted, the stools and urine are pure by the time convalescence begins."
Tonsilitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane. "In acute cases, all food should be withheld until the symptoms are gone. After this, a fruit diet should be given for three to five days. If the case is chronic, then a fast or orange or grapefruit diet may be employed until the throat is clean and breathing is easy."
Home > Lesson 58 - Fasting Children During Disease
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