Antibiotics, infections and allergy

Autism Management Limited – #5 in a series of informative papers
All doctors in treating children have to meet three important expectations. The welfare of the child, parental expectation of the
treatment, and accepted professional standards of care. Frequently these work in harmony. Children have frequent ear, nose and throat infections being exposed to virus and bacteria at home, later at nursery, crèche, playgroup and at school. Parents catch the same infections and deal with them more effectively since they have frequently been exposed to the ineffective agent before.

Common reasons for prescribing antibiotics to children will include sore throat, and otitis media.

There is currently discussion in the medical literature about the use of antibiotics in young children.

A recent paper in the British Medical Journal (1), which was a randomised double blind trial, from Holland, in which the patients were chosen at random in the presentation group, and did not know whether they were receiving an antibiotic or placebo (inactive dummy tablet) suggested that antibiotics were of limited use in uncomplicated Otitis media (ear infection). Subsequent correspondents have drawn attention to possible misuse of these medicines and the need for suitable intervention using other agents.

The majority of autistic children have a history of allergy within the family and appear more likely than other children to react badly to infections, appearing to need more medical intervention than most children.

Some American non-autistic children have been reported as spending as much as 90 days of the first two years of life taking some form of antibiotic treatment.(2) This may be causally related to the fact that 32% of these children now wheeze, 26% use bronchodilators and 12% have asthma before the age of 5. In the UK the use of antibiotics in childhood is less, but the increase in asthma, and related conditions is equally alarming.

Pressure has also been placed upon parents and physicians from manufacturers, with misleading articles in the medical press, resulting in 20 fraud investigations by the US Government.(3)

There is considerable evidence to support the presence of an incompetent immune system in autistic children, with evidence of heritable failure complicated by exposure to infective agents and the frequent use of antibiotics.

Calls by physicians for fever and pain relief using simple analgesia such a paracetamol as the first line of treatment may help to reduce exposure, and perhaps start to reduce the rise in prevalence of drug resistant bacteria.

Vitamin C has been shown to raise serum interferon levels in response to viral infections, (4) The use of Echinacea has also been shown to increase T cell and other immune call activity.(5) Combined together they can be used as an effective first line of treatment. Giving either on a prolonged basis does not seem to be helpful.

The following protocol is used with success by parents attending the Manchester and London clinics.


Vitamin C is an essential in the body’s defences against infection. Susceptible children will not tolerate relatively unimportant
infections and this can lead to prolonged illness. In the case of behaviourally disturbed children exacerbations of symptoms
previously well managed. Echinacea is an effective activator of T cell lymphocytes which fight infection.

The method:

Use Vitamin C 1 gram fizzy tablets; they can be bought as Redoxan or Own brand. Buy the plain type; for some children the colourants can be upsetting. Bioforce Echinacea is the best available at the Pharmacy or health store

I gram three times a day until 10 tablets have been given. Do not give more; there is some evidence to suggest that persisting with large doses can cause cell damage in the bowel which may be pre-cancerous.

Give Bioforce 10 drops three times daily for 5 days starting at the same
time as Vit C Don’t give them together; the Vit C is a powerful agent and may destroy the Echinacea

When to give it:
On the first sign of a cold or the flu settling in or if the child is exposed to a family member with a cold.

Side effects:

Vitamin C can if given in large amounts cause diarrhoea. When given in this dosage if appears to be safe for all children aged 2 upwards. Smaller children should have the dosage of Vitamin C reduced by 50% to avoid this possibility.

If you do not see a reduction of symptoms within 48 hours or your child appears to be worsening in symptoms then contact your family physician as soon as possible.


1) Damoiseaux RAMJ, van Balen FAM, Hoes AW, Verheij TJM, de Melker RA,
Primary Care based randomised double blind trial of Amoxycillin versus placebo for acute otitis media, in children under 2 years. BMJ=2000;320:350-4

2) Paradise JL, Rockette HE. Colbourne DK, Bernard BS, Smith CG, Kurs-Lasky
M. Janosky JE. Otitis Media in 2253 Pittsburgh area infants: Prevalence and risk factors during the first two years of life. Paediatrics 1997; 99:318-33

3) Cantenkin. Time to stop misuse of antibiotcs Letter. BMJ 2000;765

4) Geber WF.. Effect of Ascobic acid. sodium salicylate, and caffeine on serum interferon levels in response to viral infection. Pharmacology 13
(3): 228-33, 1975

5) Bauer R, Wagner H. Echinacea species as potential immunostimulatory drugs. Econ Med Plant Res 5: 253-321, 1991

Copyright (c) 2000 [Autism Management Limited]. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 07, 2000

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