In the book Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., I’ve been reading about the overuse of antibiotics and the price we pay for it. In my own family, I must admit that our first pediatrician was anti-antibiotics and I used to get so frustrated with her because I’d bring my sick kids in and she’d say to they would be fine if I just let them rest and drink plenty of fluids. Maybe give them some pain killer or fever reducer if necessary. I spent my time and money for that answer?!? After learning what I have about the dangerous and even long-term side effects of antibiotic use, I am now grateful for that pediatrician refusing to give me something for my kids. Most doctors are not as concerned with patient health and are more concerned with pleasing the patient/parent by writing a prescription for a ten day dose of amoxicillin or the like. In the last ten years, the antibiotic prescription rate has gone up 50% in the U.S. I can just picture these worn out, working moms taking time off work to bring their kids to the doctor and thinking they better leave with a prescription! I can also picture what these kids are eating on the way to the doctor’s office. They are probably eating some type of processed food or animal product, which keeps their bodies from being able to fight these germs in the first place. So the doctor writes a prescription for the child’s cold, flu, ear infection, or sore or strep throat, which are mostly all viral illness to be fought with an antibiotic made to kill bacteria. Some think that colored mucus means you need an antibiotic, but virus turns your mucus colors too so don’t jump the gun on the “need” for antibiotics due to that. Let’s not forget that the misuse of antibiotics is a multi-billion dollar industry per year in the U.S., which is probably why we don’t hear too much complaining from the industry about this misuse.
What happens to the kids on these antibiotics? “Antibiotic can cause diarrhea, digestive disturbances, yeast overgrowth, bone marrow suppression, seizures, kidney damage, colitis, and life-threatening allergic reactions. The unnecessary over-prescription of antibiotics during past decades has been blamed for the recent emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of deadly bacteria. Besides these potential risks, in every person who takes an antibiotic, the drug kills a broad assortment of helpful bacteria that live in our digestive tract and aid digestion. It kills the “bad” bacteria, such as those that can complicate an infection, but it also kills these helpful “good” bacteria lining your digestive tract that have properties that protect from future illness” (p. 48-49).
“When you eat plant based foods you promote the healthy bacteria in your body which crowds out the bad bacteria. When you take antibiotics, you kill these good bacteria. When these good bacteria are killed, your body is more susceptible to disease causing microbes and yeast to grow out of control” (p. 50).
100,000+ people per year die from antibiotic-resistant infections. Many of these could have been easily treated in the past but are now resistant infections from our over use of antibiotics.
In a double blind study with children with ear infections treated with a placebo verses amoxicillin, the symptoms resolved in eight days in the treatment group and nine days with the placebo group. Is it worth risking the health of yourself or your children to recover one day faster (p.53)?
“The vicious cycle of poor nutrition and the overuse of antibiotics works to place a tremendous disease burden on the future health of our children” (p. 54).
“The use of antibiotics in early childhood is also a contributor to the increasing incidence of allergies, asthma…hay fever and eczema to those receiving multiple antibiotic prescriptions early in childhood” (p. 55).
Research is now also linking the use of antibiotics to Crohn’s disease. You are also more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who never took an antibiotic (p. 56-57).
Why do kids get so many infections to which they are brought to doctors? It’s their diet. Dr. Fuhrman tells story after story of kids who come to his office chronically ill, and amazingly he changes the family diet and there are no more sickness.
I have personally noticed that I have not had a bad cold since I stopped eating dairy over one year ago. I drive carpool and in the winter I hear the kids in my carpool trying to breathe through their clogged noses and coughing up so much mucus. I remember those days of feeling that way myself and how miserable it was. I don’t miss it one bit!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates.
–Disease-Proof Your Child by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., 2005