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My comments about preventive antibiotics, part 1 of 3

Disclaimer: I’m really conservative and avoid antibiotics, but I don’t tell people not to do what their doc says.

I have strong opinions about antibiotics (AB’s) because of my experiences over a lifetime. I’ll tell you the nutshell version:

I used to get strep as a kid, several times a year. I believe that so many courses of AB’s destroyed my immune system, and it took me years of good nutrition to recover. I’m also allergic to penicillin and was rushed to the E.R. and nearly died when I was a child, when I took it.

I had a root canal not long ago, and the periodontist my doctor referred me to sent a 20-year old staff member out to pressure me into taking a course of oral AB’s before the procedure.

I refused and went to another guy, had the procedure, no problem, no AB.

When I was in labor with my 3rd child, they did a swab and told me I was positive for strep. I was symptom free. In the moment, I told them I am ALWAYS strep-positive: it lives in me since I was a kid and got strep constantly. They demanded that I take injected AB right then. Fortunately my baby was born so quickly after that, I didn’t have time to get the AB. (I told them I didn’t want it and they said I had to anyway.) The baby was fine, and I was fine.

My third child had a structural ear problem and rather than give her even ONE dose of AB for her chronic ear infections, I had tubes inserted. I’d read in the medical journals that 85% of ear infections are virally caused anyway (impervious to antibiotics)–and yet virtually 100% of ear infections are treated with AB!

When I worked on the children’s unit of the state hospital, in grad school, if one child got strep, they administered AB to ALL the children. With that, plus the terrible cafeteria diet, and perpetual snacking on sugary foods brought in by volunteers, I’ve never seen a group of children more perpetually ill.

So. Because of my own bad experience with AB’s, I refused them for my kids when they were little. Never once did the “worst case scenario” happen, and I didn’t destroy the friendly flora in their digestive tracts that they needed to fight the next infection to come along. So, I was emboldened in my microcosmic “civil disobedience” rejecting the automatic drug approach.

Not that I became cavalier about my children’s health. Part of why I’m willing to say no to antibiotics is that I’m doing quite a lot to keep them healthy and naturally resilient. Like minimizing sugar and maximizing green. Like not owning any drugs in my house for cough, cold, allergies, etc. More tomorrow.

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