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Roseola and Pediatric Otitis

By Frederick E Steinway

A mother brought in her 14-month old baby for treatment of recurrent ear infections. Very early the infant had received many immunisations, which were followed by flulike symptoms and otitis. The otitis recurred and worsened, and was treated by 6 courses of antibiotics. The mother reported his lips had become very cold and reddish/blue, even though the rest of the body felt warm. Usually the child had stools tending toward diarrhea, but after the antibiotics a hard, dry, painful constipation developed, once not going for 2 weeks--and during this time woke screaming at night. The tummy was a bit swollen and the legs proportionately very thin. The baby boy looked a bit pale, with a yellow/orange color around the mouth. I did not take pulse as pulses usually cannot be felt in children under 5. Tongue appeared normal, perhaps somewhat pale, with much clear drool. Pregnancy and birth had been normal though the mother had experienced some headaches toward the end of the last trimester. He had been weaned onto food at 5 1/2 months.

At the time of clinic visit sleep was good, and there was no unusual sweating. There was no visible vein along the index finger. Both mother and child had a blue vein across the bridge of the nose. The child's eyes were clear and after a moment began to actively explore the clinic.

The assessment appeared to be something like Intestines Wind/Heat, evolving from Food Accumulation combined with a Lingering Pathogenic Factor. Possibly the LPF from the immunizations may have been a hot LPF and the 6 courses of antibiotics may have damaged the Qi mechanism aggravating Food Accumulation. According to Warm theory, even the cold (as evidenced by the icy lips, constipation and nighttime screaming) eventually transform to heat.

After getting settled I needled TH 5 WaiGuan bilaterally with a seirin #3 needle of the shortest length. I used dispersing technique for a few seconds at each point. Then I attempted to disperse BaiLao extra at the back of the neck (despite much wriggling from the patient). There appeared to be a good response at TH 5 WaiGuan.

The mother reported the ears drained within 2 days, and on a visit to the MD, no more otitis, was determined. I had been wondering if the assessment of Intestines Wind/Heat had been a bit off, but at that point the baby developed a whole body rash--red points--diagnosed by the MD as roseola. This would be consistent with a Wind/Heat assessment, and possibly the acupuncture may have encouraged the expression through skin rash. I checked with the child's father (who just happened to answer the phone that day) on the outcome of the roseola, and it he appeared chipper afterward, which suggested that reading this as a therapeutic rash may have been correct.

As the saying goes, in children, 'yin and yang organs are clear and spirited. They easily and quickly regain their health' (zong fu qing ling, yi qu kang fu).

c 1998 Frederick E Steinway, Licensed Acupuncturist/Herbalist


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