The word antibiotics gives me the utter shudder. I have experienced the undesirable side effects of antibiotics myself and would avoid it at all cost, if I can find an alternative to treat myself naturally.
When I was a new mother, I panicked when my eldest daughter (now 13 years old) caught the slightest cold and cough. We would bring our precious baby straight to the pediatrician. When she started attending play-school at 3 years old, she fell sick every single month. Our pediatric freely prescribed her with antibiotics without performing any test on her. We trusted all our doctors as we were still inexperienced parents. Soon, her body became resistant to antibiotics and her immune system weakened. Nothing seemed to strengthen her immune system. I tried all kinds of supplements that were supposedly effective in strengthening the immune system but they were not helping at all. I hadn’t heard about Izumio and Super Lutein yet. That was in 2006. Fortunately I got to know about these fantastic products last year and my girls had not gone to the doctor ever since, except for a remote case in November last year when Cass had a bad bout of UTI attack.
When my eldest daughter (then 3 years old) kept catching flu bugs and strep throat with high fever every month on end, we pulled her out from the play-school. She was fine and healthy for the entire time she was out from play-school, which was about 6-9 months of respite. That period of time was a breather for my hubby and me. We need not have to pay hefty fees to different pediatricians. But when we sent her back to play-school, the whole viscous cycle of falling sick, popping antibiotics, getting well and falling sick again started all over again. Feeding her with medicines was hellish. I was as helpless and hopeless as a feather in the cloud. We had to endure that until she was about 7 or 8 years old and had developed a stronger immune system.
When Cass, my third daughter was born, she was diagnosed with Grade 3 Kidney Reflux when she was an 8-week old infant. Several months later, the pediatric nephrologist detected a duplex system on her right kidney via ultrasound scan. Cass had UTI attacks every single month despite being on prophylactic antibiotic everyday from 8 weeks old until she was about 16 months old. It was obvious that the bacteria became resistant to the antibiotics. On many occasions, the urine culture and sensitivity tests showed that the bacteria was not sensitive to any of the safe antibiotics on the report list. I remember Cass got attacked by Klebsiella several times, a very virulent bacteria that was hard to wipe out. Our doctors were as tensed as I was. They had to prescribe other antibiotics not on the sensitivity list with the hope of treating Cass’ UTI. It only worked in ‘weakening’ the bacteria and the next month or so, Cass would have another bout of UTI attack. On a few occasions, she needed hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics, only to be attacked by another episode of UTI a month later. The first 16 months of Cass’ life was a sheer nightmare for me. Again, I was as helpless and hopeless as a floating feather in the clouds, not knowing where to head to and what the prognosis for Cass would be. No parents should ever go through what I went through with Cass.
These days, should Cass get a UTI attack, I try not to bring her to the doctor for antibiotics unless she develops pain on her flank side with fever as this may mean that her kidneys are affected. I am aware of the consequences and side effects the antibiotics will cause her. Instead, I treat her with such home remedies as D-Mannose, Ural, barley water, coconut water, Izumio hydrogen water and making sure that she pees every half hourly during the day and every 3-hourly during the night.
What are bacteria and virus?
Bacteria are single-celled organisms found all over the inside and outside of our bodies. Many bacteria are not harmful. In fact, some are actually helpful, including the majority of bacteria that live in our intestines (guts). However, disease-causing bacteria can cause illnesses such as strep throat. Viruses, on the other hand, are microbes that are even smaller than bacteria that cannot survive outside the body’s cells. They cause illness by invading healthy cells.
What is an antibiotic?
Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, are drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria in both humans and animals. Antibiotics fight these infections either by killing the bacteria or making it difficult for the bacteria to grow and multiply. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses.
Viral infections should not be treated with antibiotics. Common infections caused by viruses include:
- Most sore throats
- Most coughs and bronchitis (“chest colds”)
- Many sinus infections
- Many ear infections
What is antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of an antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm.
The article below on how drug resistance happens appeared in The Star’s Fit For Life Section on 1 May 2016. The diagram clearly explains how bacteria gets resistance to drugs. The life cycle of these drug resistance bacteria can begin from the animals that we eat. So folks, go easy on consuming meat. If you can afford it, get organically bred ones. I am a flexitarian now and eat very little meat. I have never felt this good.
Why should I care about antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Antibiotic resistance can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become dangerous infections, prolonging suffering for children and adults. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread to family members, schoolmates, and co-workers, and may threaten your community. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to kill and more expensive to treat. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death.
Although some people think a person becomes resistant to specific drugs, it is the bacteria, not the person, that become resistant to the drugs.
Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?
Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria (bacteria that antibiotics can still attack) are killed, but resistant bacteria are left to grow and multiply. This is how repeated use of antibiotics can increase the number of drug-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections. Widespread use of antibiotics for these illnesses is an example of how overuse of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic resistance. Smart use of antibiotics is key to controlling the spread of resistance.
How do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?
Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics through several ways. Some bacteria can “neutralize” an antibiotic by changing it in a way that makes it harmless. Others have learned how to pump an antibiotic back outside of the bacteria before it can do any harm. Some bacteria can change their outer structure so the antibiotic has no way to attach to the bacteria it is designed to kill.
After being exposed to antibiotics, sometimes one of the bacteria can survive because it found a way to resist the antibiotic. If even one bacterium becomes resistant to antibiotics, it can then multiply and replace all the bacteria that were killed off. That means that exposure to antibiotics provides selective pressure making the surviving bacteria more likely to be resistant. Bacteria can also become resistant through mutation of their genetic material.
How should I use antibiotics to protect myself and my community from antibiotic resistance?
Here is what you can do to help prevent antibiotic resistance:
- Tell your healthcare professional you are concerned about antibiotic resistance.
- Ask your healthcare professional if there are steps you can take to feel better and get symptomatic relief without using antibiotics.
- Take the prescribed antibiotic exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Discard any leftover medication.
- Ask your healthcare professional about vaccines recommended for you and your family to prevent infections that may require an antibiotic.
- Never skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your healthcare professional tells you to do so.
- Never take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu.
- Never pressure your healthcare professional to prescribe an antibiotic.
- Never save antibiotics for the next time you get sick.
- Never take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.