Cold, flu and earache season is upon us. A current Newsweek article isn’t very promising, either. They say more strains of bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics in “Are We Running Out Of Antibiotics?”
Infectious disease specialists say antibiotics have been squandered in animal feed and on diseases they can’t cure, like the flu.
“The CDC estimates that as much as 50 percent of all antibiotic use is unnecessary. Doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics as a precautionary measure, to ward off infections that have not yet occurred, or to appease patients worried about falling ill while on the road.”
Doctors are increasingly coming up against infections, which cannot be overcome by antibiotics. Presently there are over 100,000 deaths a year from antibiotic-resistant infections in the U.S.
Karlee & Katy play doctor.
According to the Newsweek article, some doctors are reading up on how to treat common infections without the use of antibiotics, as they may not be useful in the future.
Be Proactive & Your Child’s Advocate
What measures can families take to ensure health as antibiotics become more and more ineffective? First, only purchase meat and dairy from animals raised without antibiotics. You’re getting regular doses of antibiotics every time you eat meat and dairy, when the animal it came from has been treated with antibiotics. As always, avoid sugars, which impair immune response.
Question your pediatrician when antibiotics are recommended for your children. Ask if they are necessary at this time. Ear infections are the most common reason why kids are prescribed antibiotics. Yet, in a study by PubMed.gov they relate that antibiotics are only “slightly more effective than NO treatment” for ear infections and may cause bad side effects in up to 10 percent of children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians have recommended since 2004 that doctors hold off on prescribing antibiotics for ear infections.
“While the number of office visits for otitis media with effusion — middle ear fluid — (OME) have decreased over the past decade from 25 million in 1990 to just 16 million in 2000, the number of antibiotic prescriptions to treat AOM has remained constant. At the same time, concerns about the rising rate of antibiotic — or antibacterial — use and resistance have emerged.”
Wait & See
The AAP suggests that doctors have parents wait up to 72 hours before beginning a round of antibiotics, to see if the symptoms improve on their own.
Dr. Mercola says, “Whenever you use an antibiotic, you’re increasing your susceptibility to developing infections with resistance to that antibiotic, resistance that can last up to a year — and you can become the carrier of this resistant bug, and spread it to others. Read the entire article here.
In fact, a 1997 JAMA study found frequent use of antibiotics for common ear infections raises risks that children will harbor drug-resistant bacteria during subsequent illness. The researchers found that children whose previous ear infections were treated with antibiotics had a rate of Ampicillin (amoxicillin)-resistant bacteria that was three times higher during subsequent ear infections. In extreme cases, deaths from drug-resistant meningitis have been linked to built-up antibiotic resistance traced to previous treatment for ear infection.”
Home Solutions from Dr. Mercola
“First, watchful waiting is a solid strategy before asking your doctor for a prescription. The majority of kids will get better in 48-72 hours with no antibiotics necessary. During this time, you can try the following solutions, which work remarkably well in treating acute ear infections:
Make garlic and olive oil eardrops. Eardrops that include extracts of garlic may help reduce the pain of middle-ear infections in children. You can make your own at home by crushing a clove of FRESH raw garlic and dissolving it in some olive oil. Put a few drops of oil in the ear canal, as long as the eardrum is not perforated.
Use breast milk for eardrops. If you have access to breast milk, put a few drops of breast milk in the ear canal every few hours. This usually works to clear up the infection within 24 to 48 hours and is far safer, less expensive and a better solution than putting your child on antibiotics.
Apply a poultice. Application of warmth behind the ear can be used to mobilize the post-auricular lymph chain and vasculature and to draw congestion away from the inflamed area of the middle ear. To do this, heat half of an onion in a toaster oven for a few minutes, until it is warm but not intolerably hot. You could test it by applying to your own ear or inner forearm for several seconds. Next, wrap the onion in cheesecloth or thin dishcloth, and apply the largest side (the cut side, for maximum surface area) to the area just behind the ear.
If your child is not improving or is getting worse after 72 hours, then antibiotics may be required in some severe cases. Make sure you are working with a health care practitioner who is aware of the risks of antibiotic overuse and will work with you to provide alternative options as much as possible.
If your child does take antibiotics, make sure they replenish their supply of beneficial bacteria by taking a high-quality probiotic after the round is complete.”
This Year, May Your Holidays Be Happy And Healthy.