Naturopath mom lets her kids suffer from whooping cough because it’s an ‘immune-building process’

A woman claiming to be a “board-certified naturalistic doctor” posted a blog last month describing her experience letting her three children, one as young as nine months, contract pertussis as way to build immunity to the diseases.

Heather Dexter of Grand Rapids, Michigan posted the story on The post was subsequently taken down after a significant backlash. However, another blogger on the site, Britt Hermes, was able to take a screen shot of the article titled Natural Remedies for Whooping Cough before it was removed.

In the post, Dexter tells of her three children contracting pertussis last year and how she experimented with natural remedies while her kids suffered for months. She said her eldest was first be stricken with the highly infectious disease, followed by the two younger siblings very soon after.

“It was perhaps what could be considered the most traumatic period of my life,” Dexter said. “Each child’s attitude and expression towards daily life was excessively dramatized as we endured a VERY lengthy immune building process.”

While she describes the ordeal as “traumatic,” the five months of torture her young children went through not only placed their lives at risk but might cause them to suffer life-long repercussions.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a bacterial infection that spreads through the respiratory system causing a characteristic whooping sound when coughing. The disease is extremely infectious and every so often, causes death among children. It can also lead to brain damage, pneumonia, encephalitis, and seizures years later.

Before vaccinations, whooping cough killed roughly 9,000 people in the United States each year. Pertussis vaccine has lowered the annual deaths to less than 30, however that number has started to rise since the number of parents refusing vaccinations for their children is also increasing.

Those who are infected with pertussis painfully endure the high-pitched cough which could last as long as 10 weeks. Dexter described her children as coughing so hard that they often vomited and turned purple while gasping for air.

“During the night, L would cough until he barfed up mucus, proceeded by crying and screaming fits,” Dexter said. “He was genuinely terrified each and every time he woke from sleep without breath.”

Normally, whooping cough is treated with antibiotics while under strict, professional medical care and observation. However Dexter, who has no medical training or experience, used homeopathic folk remedies and herbal treatments instead of proven life-saving methods.

Needless to say, her children got worse as the illness progressed and they continued to suffer horribly.

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About 150 days later and hundreds of dollars spent on natural remedies and consultations with naturopathic “doctors,” her kids began to show signs of improvement. Dexter said the ordeal was a “living hell” and it made her question her commitment to the practice of natural medicine. 

In the end, Dexter described her children’s victory over the disease as her own triumph and without the need of traditional medical care.

“We made it through using only natural remedies,” Dexter said. “My children developed REAL and TRUE immunity from being exposed to this bacteria and fighting it off naturally. It has been my biggest challenge to date as a mother. This mother conquered.”

It is unknown if her kids sustained long-term lung damage or any enduring medical complications from the experience. However, letting young children suffer needlessly from a life-threatening disease that’s easily preventable, borders on child abuse.

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