In the 1950¹s, penicillin was used for every ill and was considered to be the ³miracle drug² which could ³cure² everything. The word ³antibiotic² means ³against life² and antibiotics are amongst the most powerful drugs. When used appropriately, they can save lives, but used improperly, they can actually harm your child and weaken their immune system.
There are two main types of germs-- bacteria and viruses. Viruses cause most coughs and sore throats and all colds. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections, but should never be used for viral infections. Your child recovers from these common viral infections by activating their immune system, which naturally takes care of the viruses.
All antibiotics cause side effects, the most common being diarrhea or stomach irritation. This is because antibiotics also kill the "good" bacteria residing in our guts and disrupts the normal bowel flora ratio. Yeast infections, or candida, often result with antibiotics use. Allergies may also develop as the gut becomes ³leaky² and lets large particles and toxins out into the general circulation, stimulating the immune sytem to become over-reactive.
New strains of bacteria have become resistant to antibotics and are no longer killed. Some bacteria have mutated so that they feed off of antibiotics! The chances your child will become infected with resistant bacteria may increase with more antibiotics. If your child eats meat, they may be getting a regular dose of antibiotics because antibiotics are added to some animal feed! Each time we take antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics are some of the main causes of the increase in resistant bacteria.
The best thing a parent can do to protect their child from resistant bacteria is to understand that antibiotics should not be used for viral infections. It is also wise to work with a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable about ways to boost your child¹s immune system, naturally. Breastfeeding helps to protect your infants from disease when they are most vulnerable.
When are antibiotics needed and when are they not? Antibiotics are often prescribed for ear infections, also known as Otitis Media (OM). There are several types of OM and most do not need antibiotics. Some studies show that whether kids get antibiotics for ear pain or not, they ³feel better² in a few days. Also, the Federal Guidelines state that antibiotics aren¹t to be routinely used for otitis media.
Most children with thick or green mucus do not have sinus infections, therefore, antibiotics may not be needed. If there is an infection, it is most likely viral.
A cough is a symptom, not a disease. It is the way the body keeps mucus from entering the lungs. That is why it may be dangerous to treat coughs and try to suppress them without knowing the cause. Antibiotics are rarely indicated for coughs, even when the diagnosis of bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchii) is made.
Most sore throats are caused by viruses. Only one main kind, ³strep throat,² MAY require
antibiotics. Strep MUST be diagnosed by a laboratory test; it cannot be made solely upon examination.
Colds are caused by viruses, therefore, antibiotics have no effect and may actually weaken the immune system to prolong the illness. Viral infections may sometimes lead to bacterial infections. But using antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections may not work, and may in fact lead to infection with resistant bacteria.
If I don't use antibiotics, what can I do?
Regular chiropractic check-ups are one way to try and maintain your child’s immune system in peak condition. Subluxations. or spinal misalignments, can interfere with the nerves that control the immune system. And when they do get sick, chiropractic adjustments may help their body to heal itself.
Deepak Chopra has called the nervous system, the “circulating immune system.”
You can also try to prevent subluxations by occurring, by eliminating as much trauma as possible, helping your child learn how to deal with daily stressors, eliminating toxins from their environment and ensuring they are eating nutritious foods.