This week, I'd like to address a very common and very big problem regarding the over-use of antibiotics. Now before some of you get all hysterical on me, yes, I absolutely agree that they are a wonderful life-saving invention. However, there are many - too many, in fact - cases in which antibiotics are prescribed when they're simply not necessary.
Take, for example, the all-too-common case of a young child with an ear infection. Typically, babies under two years old are more susceptible to middle ear infections because the eustachian tube doesn't drain fluid as easily as an older child's or adult's. You can clearly see the anatomical difference in the above drawing.
I found this wonderful article that discusses the real cause of middle ear infections, and I highly recommend that all of you read this, especially the parents of young children. In a nutshell, most middle ear infections are caused by inflammation, but not as a result of bacteria! One Dutch study found that 88% of children with otitis media did not need antibiotics! Many times it's actually an allergic reaction to a food, dairy products being the biggest culprit. Well, what a surprise. Dairy is known to cause all kinds of health problems, from increased mucus production to all sorts of digestive problems to skin rashes, particularly around the mouth. My advice? Dump the dairy.
So what can be done when you have a child screaming in pain from middle ear inflammation? First, give the poor kid some Tylenol! Even though I hate Big Pharma, I am not a fan of screaming children, either. Why should they suffer unnecessarily? If you were screaming in pain, wouldn't you help yourself to a little relief? I think even giving half a dose is also not okay, because would you give yourself half a dose if you had a fever or were in severe pain? I sure wouldn't! Don't turn your kids into martyrs, for G-d's sake.
Now that I have angered many parents out there, let me anger the doctors, too. I feel that it is completely negligent for a pediatrician or any physician to prescribe repeated doses of antibiotics for non-life-threatening medical issues. But you should know why they do this. First, their hands are tied legally. They are placing their licenses on the line if they give their patients any nutritional or natural healing advice. Second, they might really not know what other natural options are available, since it is well-known that nutrition and natural approaches to healing are not taught in medical school. So in reality, all they are left with is their little pen and prescription pad.
Some of you might remember the famous adage, "The pen is mightier than the sword."
Well, I've just given it a 21st century makeover: The pen is deadlier than the sword.
Believe me, I wish I were exaggerating. The CDC states that 2 million people per year become infected with antibiotic-resistant germs, and 23,000 of those people die as a result. Each year! If this were a plague, everyone would be running hysterically through the streets. Even if a person doesn't die from repeated antibiotic use, they are placing their health in major jeopardy, because antibiotics act like an atom bomb when ingested. They kill off the bad and the good bacteria, which allows the bad bacteria to grow unchecked by the dead good bacteria, and the vicious cycle continues.
Now, let's take off our angry caps and put on our thinking caps. How, oh how, can we fix this problem? Well, there are many solutions. First, I would recommend that everyone find themselves a good naturopath, homeopath, or doctor of Chinese medicine, and make that doctor their primary care physician. Just stay away from the psychopaths.
Second, regarding otitis media infections in particular, Mullein Garlic drops are excellent for relieving inflammation. Garlic is a powerful anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial healing agent! You can get them at the local health food store. I would suggest that if you have small kids, you should have a bottle on hand even though no one may be sick at the moment.
Third, we have to get back to basics. As I've said time and time again, the entire approach of modern medicine is backwards. Instead of focusing on building up the body's defenses, their entire aim is to break down the body's defenses, all in the name of killing the enemy.
Let's put this strategy into perspective, shall we? If you were involved in a war with another country and you had to send your troops out to battle, would you drop an atom bomb on everyone on the battlefield, knowing that you will be killing your own soldiers in the process of trying to kill the enemy? What do you think would happen to a general who came up with such an insane tactic?
If the good bacteria have been decimated in an intestinal Hiroshima, the best thing to do is to eat probiotics. These help the good bacteria reproduce and strengthen your immune system. Here's a good article that discusses probiotics in more detail.
Back to basics means that we have to focus on eating healthy and taking care of ourselves! Our diets are the main cause of our physical and mental states of well-being! How can you expect to be healthy if you're stuffing your face with fake food and sugary snacks? How can you ask why Hashem gave you an illness if you eat like garbage? If you want to be healthy, you have to eat healthy! There's no way around it. And, of course, you must must must exercise!
I have one more thing to add to parents who are looking for spiritual reasons as to why their children are sick. Yes, it is obviously a tikkun for the parents. I'm not arguing with that. But I know, as a BT, that it's easy for a religious person to get caught up in the spiritual aspect of a situation without giving much consideration to the physical, practical aspect of it. The best route is a combination of both approaches. Yes, look for the spiritual message behind it. But while you're looking, you've got to put forth your maximum effort by looking for physical solutions as well!
Let's get back to the common example of a kid is getting repeated middle ear inflammation and going for a prolonged period of time on antibiotics without recovering from the original problem. Why are the parents still taking him to this doctor? I personally think the message for these parents and the rest of us is that we've got to stop having blind faith in modern medicine. We need to educate ourselves about natural healing methods and especially about how to keep ourselves healthy, so G-d willing, we won't need a doctor ever again!
You are welcome to post your infuriated comments below.
Blessings for a healthy, happy, and educated week!