By Danielle, Contributing writer
Haemophilus influenza, also called H. influenzae or HiB for short, is a bacteria. This bacteria was identified in the 1890’s, and was first though to cause influenza. There are currently six strains of HiB identified, with more unidentified strains. HiB is spread through direct contact or through air droplets from coughing. HiB is not considered a highly contagious disease. HiB is most common in young children under 5 years old.
Like any bacteria, HiB may infect an organ or a system. When a system is infected, serious illness may be diagnosed. Common systemic infections include sepsis arthritis, meningitis, pneumonia and cellulitis. Nontypable HiB causes minor infections, such as ear infections, or no illness at all. This type of the bacteria is found in over 75% of healthy adults, showing that health is truly in the terrain and not the germ theory.
Bacteria and viruses, and even yeast and fungus, microorganisms live in harmony with each other. We know that when we take an antibiotic, all the good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria are killed in our systems. Recent studies show that not only can this cause issues for bacteria, where other bacterium take the place of the eradicated bacteria, but also other organisms may fall out of balance. With over 80% of our immune system in our gut, this delicate balance of organisms spells health or illness regardless if a bacteria or virus is present or not.
HiB Vaccine 101
There are currently six HiB vaccines on the market: ActHIB, Hiberix, PedvaxHIB, Comvax, Pentacel, and Menhibrix (link to vaccine insert). The HiB vaccine is given at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and again between 12-15 months per the CDC schedule.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports that 233 claims have been filed with the Vaccine Injury Compensation program, including 29 deaths and 204 serious injuries as of Sept. 1, 2015. According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as of Sept. 30, 2015, there have been 15,264 reported serious adverse events, 2,251 being deaths. Over 95% of the reported serious adverse events were in children, and 97% of the deaths reported were in children under four years of age.
Efficacy is purported to be around 95% by the CDC, but other sources question this number, placing it around 70-75%. One study on a specific population found no statistical difference in HiB vaccinated and placebo recipients. Only after the third dose, was the average efficacy around 35-43%.
HiB Treatment Options
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for HiB and HiB-symptom diseases (pneumonia, meningitis, etc), though numerous sources admit that antibiotics do not alleviate the infection well (source). Common antibiotics prescribed are cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, or ampicillin with chloramphenicol. Rifampin may be prescribed to those who have been around HiB bacteria.
- Of course, all antibiotics destroy the good and bad bacteria in the child’s immune system. Learn more about the dangers of antibiotics.
- Cefotaime may produce delayed sterilization later in life.
- Ceftriaxone, from the cephalosporin family of drugs, may be connected with antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
- Chloramphenicol may create bone marrow toxicity and anemia in some individuals.
Even with antibiotic treatment, 3-6% of children with invasive HiB infection die. It’s important to distinguish between a systemic infection (a major system is entirely infected), or a local bacterial infection (like strep throat). The systemic infection is much more serious, and shows that the immune system is seriously compromised. Remember that most cases of HiB infection are not even symptomatic. This shows that the level of infection is truly dependent on the child’s current immune health.
The best treatment for any systemic infection, viral or bacterial, is prevention. If you prevent your child’s organs and membranes from cell breakdown, your child is much less likely to develop a serious systemic infection even when they are in contact with the bacteria or virus. Some simple steps for promoting your child’s immune system are:
- Limiting use of antibiotics and antibiotic-laden foods, hand washes, and cleaners.
- Ensuring your child has adequate rest, sunshine, and play.
- Supplementing a good probiotic.
- Letting your child’s immune system build up by not over sterilizing.
- Feeding at least half of the child’s diet with raw, organic fruits and vegetables.
- Feeding grassfed, organic dairy and meat in the child’s diet.
Even the best immune system goes down sometimes. If your child is diagnosed with HiB, you will need to find more information to know the best way to treat. First, ask the doctor the level of infection and exactly what organ or system is infected. Also, ask for a blood test to know for sure which strain of HiB is infecting your child. Each parent is different, but use your best judgement, a trusted physician’s advice, and your parental instincts when determining how to treat your child. Though each case is different, here are some natural ways to help treat a bacterial infection. These can be used for
- Supplement garlic in the child’s diet. If sinus congestion is present, you can also add garlic ear drops to the ears.
- For meningitis, apply thieves oil to the spine 2-4 times daily.
- For cellulitis, apply thieves oil to the area and massage 2-4 times daily.
- Supplement high doses of probiotic. You may even have your child’s stool tested for missing good bacteria, and then ask your biomedical doctor or naturopath which probiotic strains in what doses may boost the missing strain in the child’s gut (I have seen this heal eczema over and over again!)
- Supplement the vitamins A, C, and D.
HiB was once a common childhood illness, which is no longer experienced often. Though those with weakened immune systems may be prone to serious infection, most infections are asymptomatic. If your child does encounter HiB, whether vaccinated or not, seek medical advice and use your parental instincts to treat the child appropriately.
Have you encountered HiB? How did you treat it? Share your stories below!
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