Don’t Overdo Antibiotics — Or, My Mother Has Been Right All Along (apparently)

When I was a teenager, I had a really bad case of acne — not only was it bad, but it was all over my back bad. I tried quite a few treatments, including a rather painful one that my mother found in a book that involved pouring hot oatmeal on my back. It later turned out that the oatmeal was supposed to be warm, not hot. I got so fed up that we finally went to a dermatologist and the dermatologist prescribed a topical antibiotic. My mother, to say the least, was not too impressed. She asked if there were any alternatives and when the doctor said that this was the best solution to such a bad case of acne, she relented.

The problem, she told me, was that overuse of antibiotics would lead to them becoming ineffective over time. This was something she told me about twenty years ago, mind you. In the time since then the amount of antibiotics prescribed has exploded. Have a problem? There may be an antibiotic to treat that. Oh, you don’t want for your body to fight that over a few days? These antibiotics will kill it in only one day.

“Whatever doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger” — and this is exactly what is happening to the bacteria because of this overuse of antibiotics. The more they are exposed to the antibiotics, the faster they adapt and become resistant to them. Another major issue is that the food that many of us eat — meat in particular — is chock full of antibiotics because the animals are fed antibiotics in an effort to get them to gain weight. It does work in that the animal ends up heavier than it would have been without the tetracycline (interestingly enough, the very drug that the dermatologist prescribed me for my acne) but the resulting meat from the animal ends up having the antibiotic in it.

The big fear now is that if current antibiotics become entirely useless, a seemingly trivial thing such as a scrape will be life threatening, and surgery will be reconsidered if the surgeons cannot ensure the safety of the patient.

I believe that it bears looking into it when your doctor suggests an antibiotic treatment. Moreover — as my mother would say — if you must take antibiotics, you should at the same time go on a probiotic treatment — I recommend (always refrigerated) live probiotics in capsule form as well as foods that are chock full of probiotics, such as certain yogurts, unpasteurized sauerkraut (pasteurization defeats the purpose by killing the good bacteria), miso soup, sourdough bread and others.

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One thought on “Don’t Overdo Antibiotics — Or, My Mother Has Been Right All Along (apparently)

  1. Pingback: Helpful Folk and Thoughts on Snowpocalypse 2015 | blog of gordon davidescu

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