About Antibiotics

When I was a toddler, my immune system was not very good. I always had colds, coughs, a runny nose or flu. During that period whenever my parents brought me to see a pediatrician, an antibiotic was always prescribed for me.

Only much later on, when I had my own children that I learned that colds, coughs, or flu are caused by virus. Treating upper respiratory infections that are caused by virus using antibiotics is a blatant misuse, since the drugs kill only bacteria and are of no value at all in treating viral infections.

When your child is continually treated with antibiotics, the bacteria in his or her body may eventually be able to survive the drugs, making it much harder to cure an infection. In the event of a serious bacterial infection, such as meningitis, a much higher dosage of antibiotic may be required or a doctor may have to try different drugs before finding one that will work. The time this takes can potentially be a matter of life or death, since meningitis can be fatal and needs to be treated immediately. Unfortunately, with each try at a different treatment, the bacteria are given another chance to build up their resistance against even more powerful drugs.
Antibiotic resistance can affect the whole family and everyone around the child with a history of frequent antibiotic use. If the child develops resistant bacteria, he or she can pass them along to others through coughing, sneezing, and kissing.
What's more, antibiotics adversely affect many nutrients, particularly the ones needed by the immune system to fight infection, such as vitamins A and C. One of the most common side effects of antibiotics is diarrhea. This causes a loss of nutrients, especially magnesium and zinc. Some children are on antibiotics for months or even years. Nutritional loss over such a long period of time is debilitating for the body and sets up an environment for more infections.

Thus, next time when your pediatrician prescribed some antibiotic for your children, you must ask the following questions:
Are you sure it is bacterial?
Are you sure it is the right antibiotic?
Are there alternatives to antibiotics?
What are the risks if we don’t use them?
What are the risks if we wait one or two or four days?