LIFESAVERS- Antibiotics have become a regular, every day part of life, and rightfully so – the advent of antibiotics has saved countless lives. Today, people routinely recover from problems that in the past would have landed them in the hospital, or even worse, the graveyard.
That being said, there is definitely a trend to over-use antibiotics. Instead of only using them when they are absolutely positively needed, we’ve become more and more inclined to take them even for the smallest problems, and even those that antibiotics do not work for, such as viruses.
THE DOWNSIDE- There are quite a few problems associated with the use of antibiotics. Of course, none of these matter if you are in a life-threatening situation where their use is warranted, but when they are simply being overused, this can mean trouble.
It has been estimated that over 140,000 visits are made to the emergency room every year due to side effects from antibiotics, with allergic reactions being the most common. Other side effects include things like retinal detachment, tendon tears, peripheral neuropathy, and even heart damage.
Compared to dying immediately from pneumonia, these side effects are small potatoes, but we see people day in and day out that go get an antibiotic at the first sign of a sniffle. If you are healthy, and not an infant or in the elderly category, you have an immune system that will take care of the common cold, flu, and less serious bacterial infections. (By the way, colds and flus are viruses, and antibiotics only work on bacteria.)
RESISTANCE- The other obvious problem is the development of “super bugs”. We have so overused antibiotics that bacteria have adapted and are becoming more and more resistant to our treatments. This poses a danger to the public in general, even those who do NOT take antibiotics regularly, because we are creating bacteria that are almost impossible to fight. According to pharmacological epidemiologist Mahyar Etiman, antibiotics are overused by “lazy doctors who are trying to kill a fly with an automatic weapon.” However, it’s not just their fault. Often, patients demand antibiotics and get mad if they don’t get them. We know several medical doctors who have said they are often forced to give antibiotics even when they are not necessary, or else the patient will choose a new doctor.
Hope this helps,
Dr Matt and Dr Robin
This week’s bit of Useless Information: The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.
This email is courtesy of Matthew Barnes, D.C. and Robin Barnes, D.C. Neither this nor any of our emails are intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. They are opinion and are for informational purposes only. None of the nutrients discussed here are meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.