Every concerned parent worries about the health of their child. We know that children are naturally more susceptible to toxic insults that can cause illness because they are proportionately smaller, and their tissues and organs are still developing. Although no one can predict the future, it may be possible to prevent some forms of chronic illness by looking at certain fundamental health differences and potential risk factors.
Who is a vulnerable child?
The vulnerable child is the driving force behind why Barry Segal founded the Focus for Health Foundation.
Childhood chronic illnesses such as asthma and allergies, along with developmental learning disorders such as autism and ADHD, are on the rise in the U.S.
The trend is a major concern because children who suffer from one medical issue are often at higher risk for other disorders that are different in nature. Awareness of these connections can help define a vulnerable population. The vulnerable child may have a compromised immune system and could be at greater risk for developing chronic illnesses.
How do I know if my child is a vulnerable child?
Here are the questions you should ask yourself:
- Does my child have a family history of chronic illness?
- Does my child seem to get sick easily?
- Does my child frequently take antibiotics for illnesses?
- Does my child have food allergies?
- Does my child have eczema?
- Does my child have frequent ear infections?
- Does my child have seizures?
- Does my child have developmental delays?
Vulnerability often increases with family history, developmental delays or certain medical conditions. This subset of children who are more vulnerable to chronic illnesses and developmental learning disorders may also be more vulnerable to negative side effects from drugs, medications or vaccines.
Dr. Bernadine Healy, former National Institutes of Health Director, addressed the importance of acknowledging and identifying the vulnerable population in an interview with CBS:
“What we’re seeing in the bulk of the population: vaccines are safe. But there may be this susceptible group. […] If you know that susceptible group, you can save those children.”
Environment and Health
Some chronic illnesses can last for years or even a lifetime as a result of genetics (family history) and/or exposure to environmental influences. We tend to underestimate the environmental impact on our health. Although we may be genetically predisposed to certain illnesses, environmental exposures can heavily influence gene expression and how sick we get.
To protect these vulnerable children, toxic exposures should be limited.