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Student opts for prayer, not pill, for common ailments

By Lexi Muir


When junior Brenna Sharp comes home from school with a headache, she does not immediately take two Ibuprofen and go on with the rest of her day. Because of her religion, Sharp stays away from taking medicine for just any little ache or pain. Instead, Brenna, who is a Christian Scientist, uses prayer in place of medicine. “I don’t turn to medicine for just any little thing,” she said. “If I don’t feel well, I rely on prayer to help me feel better.”

Susan Sharp, Brenna’s mother and follower of the Christian Science faith said that she believes that praying and being spiritual is one of the best preventative medicines.

“People do not always need to turn to outside meds,” she said. “(Aches and pains) are caused by inner turmoil. Prayer helps to counter those and take away the aches and pains.”

Mrs. Sharp, who has been a Christian Scientist her entire life, said that she contributes her good health to her religion. She said her mother, who was told of her bad health at a young age, turned to prayer and used it as her only medicine for nearly the rest of her life.

“At age 22 my mother was told that she was going to die,” said Mrs. Sharp. “From that point on, she turned to prayer and did not take medicine again until the year before she passed away, at 81 years old.”

Brenna said that she really has no strong feelings about others taking medicine, but she, like her mother, said that she feels our society depends too much on over-the-counter medications to cure every minor discomfort.

“Everybody relies so much on medicine,” she said. “They all think, ‘Oh, I have a headache so I’ll just take Advil.’ That’s not right. Relying on (medicine) too much is not a good thing. I just try and stay positive about it and pray. People should try relying on something like that rather than medicine all the time.”

Nurse Carol Gelatt said she agrees with Brenna that people rely too much on drugs for minor discomforts. She said that students need to take care of their bodies first and foremost, and then they may find themselves preventing most of the pains that they have.

“We get students who come in (to the Health Center) in the morning and say they have a headache when they haven’t eaten since dinner the day before,” she said. “We sometimes offer a snack before we give out medicine.”Listening to your body, according to Gelatt, is the best way to prevent illness, regardless of any religious practice.

“Getting plenty of rest, eating a balanced diet and balancing work life with exercise are all ways to prevent illness,” she said. “Also, students can avoid headaches by using proper lighting when they read and study and giving their eyes a break.”
Gelatt also said that students need to know when a pain is at the point of needing to see a physician.
“Sometimes, medicine is used to ‘mask’ pain,” she said. “When that happens, an injury, which may need to be treated by a doctor, may go for too long without being properly treated. Students need to make sure they are getting proper diagnoses from their doctors and are not just ignoring the pain or treating it with OTC medications.”

Brenna said, “I do what everyone else does to stay healthy. I drink ===a lot of fluids and try to get a lot of rest.”

Mrs. Sharp said, “It is not healthy to take too many medications. All you have to do is look at the side of the bottle and see all the side effects.”

According to mayoclinic.com, as well as causing liver damage, taking too many OTC drugs can cause chronic daily headaches. The Web Site classifies “too much” as an average of more than two days a week or nine days a month.

Brenna said that her advice to other students would be to “stay away from medicine. Try to stay positive about everything and find other ways of treatment besides turning to drugs.”

Mrs. Sharp said that her family does everything they can to stay healthy and prevent any illnesses.
“Along with prayer, we try to eat healthy, get plenty or rest and we don’t eat fast food,” she said. “It is a whole balance of wellness that we have to reach.

“There are so many people today that say, ‘Just give me the pill,” Mrs. Sharp said. “Everybody just wants a quick fix.”


Skip the pill and take a look at these options:

Back ache: Massage with eucalyptus oil, rub garlic oil on your back, sit with proper posture, eat a vitamin-C rich diet, sleep on a hard bed

Common Cold: Drink hot liquids (herbal teas and vegetable soup), avoid meat, fish, eggs and other starchy foods, eat a Vitamin C rich diet, gargle a warm salt-water rinse two to three times a day.

Stomach ache: Drink plenty of water, eat green, leafy vegetables and fruits, regular light exercise

Headache: Rest in a room with dim light, have eyesight checked, avoid red meats, nuts and chocolate, have positive thinking, exercise and meditate.



What the label on OTC drugs tell you:

Active Ingredient: The substance in the product; the amount of the active ingredient (per unit).

Uses: The symptoms or diseases that the product will treat or prevent.

Warnings: When you should not use the product; any conditions that might require advice from your doctor before taking the pills; potential side effects; when you should stop taking the product; when you should contact your doctor; if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, talk to a health care professional; keep product away from children.

Inactive Ingredients: Colors/flavors

Purpose: The category of the product (antihistamine, antacid, or cough suppressant).

Directions: Age restrictions, how much to take, how to take, and how often and how long to take the medicine for.

Other Information: Information about certain ingredients and how to store the bottle.