The Role of Antibiotics
But alas, that’s why we have a Walgreen’s and CVS on every corner filled with antibiotics of all shapes, colors, and sizes right!? All a parent needs to do is go their local pediatrician, urgent or immediate care, ER, or minute-clinic and talk for a few minutes, grab the prescription, and head out. And all is good then, right?
We’ve had plenty of research since about the 1980s that first off, antibiotics don’t work very well for ear, sinus and respiratory infections. And second, they don’t come without side effects. Not only are there short-term side effects such as stomach pain and diarrhea in a lot of kids, but the long term ones are even worse.
Some studies have shown that for each antibiotic given to a child in the first year of life, it increases their risk of things like asthma and allergies 2-4x. Plus, it can also lead to resistance and actually INCREASE the risk of re-occurrence.
Even the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends a watch and wait approach. “Updated American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical practice guidelines address the diagnosis and management of uncomplicated acute otitis media (AOM) in children aged 6 months to 12 years. The new recommendations, which offer more rigorous diagnostic criteria to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use, were published online February 25 and in the March issue of Pediatrics.”
So if they’re known to not work well, known to have short and long term side effects, and known to contribute to what is now a major public health crisis (antibiotic-resistant strains or “super bugs”)… then why do they still get prescribed left and right by pediatricians and doctors of all sorts? Good question. I’ve been trying to find a LEGIMITATE answer to that question for 7 years.
My guesses and assumptions are this:
- Ear, sinus, and respiratory infections account for nearly half of the visits to a pediatrician’s office. If they aren’t chiropractic friendly like our holistic pediatrician, the only thing they really have to offer from their “tool kit” is a script for antibiotics. If everyone knew the real issues and ineffectiveness of them and stopped going to their pediatricians for every ear ache, sniffle, and cough… they’d lose a lot of business.
- Drug companies make a lot of money on the sales of antibiotics.
- Since our whole system is still based upon the “germ theory” of disease, philosophically people/parents still think it’s what must be done.
- Pediatricians are good people and want to help, as no one likes to see a kid suffer… and again, that’s the only “tool” they have.
Ok, so that’s it right? We now know that really ear infections are caused by bad “plumbing” and lowered neuro-immune function, and that the overuse of antibiotics are a pretty big problem… but that’s the end of the story right?
We are just getting started. Well, now that typical American kiddo who had a rough birth, has a “kink” in his neck, and keeps getting ear infections… finally has his or her doctor tell her parents that after 6-8 (or more) rounds of antibiotics…it’s time to get tubes put in.
So off they go down the street to one of the local ENTs, who are more than happy to help. So, they do.
The kiddo goes into the hospital, gets a “simple and routine” $15-20,000 surgery (but who cares if it was REALLY necessary, health insurance covers it!)… gets some ice cream afterwards (Oh, did I mention that dairy causes all sorts of mucus production and immune reactions and is a major problem with ear infections and other respiratory illnesses? Nope, I should have, because it does.)… and goes home.
Miraculously, the ear aches are gone!