Antibiotics Are Not Candy
The overuse of antibiotics is a growing problem in our current health care system. It’s quickly becoming a matter of public safety. The CDC has been pushing for greater education in the use of antibiotic therapy, as many parents are unaware of the serious implications of antibiotic abuse. For one, antibiotics cause damage to the immune system, kidneys, liver, digestive system, connective tissues such as tendons and teeth, nervous system and can even cause impairment in vision and hearing. According to the CDC, reactions to antibiotics are the most common ER visit for adverse drug events. Furthermore, the frequent use of antibiotics results in illnesses that are resistant to antibiotics, meaning that if your body has difficulty overcoming an infection it will not respond to the antibiotics, leaving you vulnerable. Naturopathic Physicians have been warning about this resistance for decades. Antibiotics are effective only for bacterial infections and should only be used in life threatening illnesses. However, they are often prescribed by conventional medical practitioners for viral, fungal and allergic conditions, for which they are completely ineffective.
It’s important to remember that the side effects of antibiotics are cumulative. I have seen many patients who have taken frequent and long term antibiotics and now they are chronically ill, not realizing that the frequent use of antibiotics causes lasting problems and reduces immune function over time. Also, with chronic exposure to antibiotics, patients reach a threshold of tolerance and begin to have side effects. Tens of thousands of people are damaged by antibiotics each year, yet most are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, given such garbage can diagnoses as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Our intestines contain 100 trillion different bacteria all living in a symbiotic relationship with each other. The diversity of these organisms determines the strength of our immune system. The bacteria that we are born with has developed over millions of years. With the high rates of C-sections, newborns miss out on being exposed to the mother’s friendly bacteria as they pass through the birth canal; Not to mention that many pregnant women take antibiotics either during pregnancy or at delivery, destroying the friendly bacteria that babies need to have a strong immune system.
When antibiotics are given to newborns or young children, all but a few strains of bacteria are wiped out, leaving them with a compromised immune system. They often have chronic immune problems, as the friendly bacteria never fully recover, even with the use of probiotics. Most children receive antibiotics several times a year for minor problems that could easily be resolved with safer alternatives. The antibiotics used today are broad spectrum nuclear weapon caliber, whereas 40 years ago, small amounts of specific antibiotics gunshots were prescribed for short durations.
Naturopathic Physicians use vitamins, minerals, probiotics and herbs such as berberines to overcome bacterial infections by supporting the immune system rather than weakening it. The net result is that the organism–the body–is stronger from the experience of having fought off the infection naturally. The immune system “learns” from the experience and in future infections fights more quickly and more efficiently.
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