Introduction by SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson
We absolutely love hearing from parents who are taking a stand and making a difference! One concerned mama sent us an article she had written based on research regarding her growing concerns around bacteria, antibiotics and superbugs. We know this is a concern for many parents!
We did have a few concerns though after reading her submitted article, so we took those questions to our SafBaby Health Expert Adviser, Dr. Murray Clarke ND., D.Hom, L.Ac. He expanded on this conversation with relevant and awesome understanding and we are thrilled to share this entire scope with you today. Make sure you read the entire article and share it if you feel compelled to help spread greater education in this arena too. Thanks to mama Theresa who submitted the top part of this post (below) and thanks to Dr. Clarke for the follow up!
Are You Contributing to the Bacteria Superbugs? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
A danger that must be given sufficient consideration, bacteria superbugs, are no laughing matter – especially if you’ve got children and one of them is falling ill.
More and more in the news we’re hearing stories about superbugs like MRSA. Essentially they are strains of bacteria that have developed a resistance to antibiotic treatment. This makes it potentially very dangerous as our methods of treating them become less and less effective over time.
Senior health officials from the World Health Organization have described this failure to stay ahead of the evolution of diseases as one of the greatest health problems facing the world. As certain bacteria grow stronger and our treatments less effective, or if we simply haven’t had enough resources and time to develop any treatment for particular illnesses, the risk to our little ones is perhaps the greatest worry we face on a personal level as parents.
1. Has your child been sick? If so, what was the illness?
If your child has been sick with an illness caused by a bacteria, known as a bacterial infection, read on as your next step may be contributing to the superbug crisis.
2. Did you give your child anything for the illness? If so, what was it?
If your child has been sick with a bacterial infection and you gave them some form of antibiotic medication you may be contributing to the superbug crisis. Even if you finish the entire course of medication, there is an, admittedly, very small chance that despite this, the bacteria might mutate. This is a small risk that conscientious parents must consider before taking any medication. Letting your child recover without any antibiotic treatment or giving them natural treatments for symptoms such as chewing on ginger to relieve nausea may be fine.
3. Do you make sure your child always finishes the course of antibiotics?
One of the key causes of superbugs is that a bacterium has been able to develop resistance to the drugs we use to destroy them. In large part, this has been due to the fact that many people do not finish the course of antibiotics their doctor gives them. This means the disease is not completely destroyed and those bacteria that survive are able to breed again. Some of the offspring then mutate and become more resistant to antibiotics and you have a slightly stronger bug. Do your bit against superbugs by finishing the course and not just stopping when your kids feel better. They may very well feel better, but that doesn’t actually guarantee that all harmful bacteria have been killed at that point.
4. Do you take antibiotics when you really don’t need them?
These drugs have been integral in the fight against disease but there are many occasions when we just don’t need them. A child’s immune system may be very capable of killing the bacteria thoroughly without the assistance of antibiotics. If your child is ill with a less severe disease, a parent could consider letting their child recover without using antibiotics.
However, if your child is sick with a more severe illness like whooping cough or tuberculosis then it is worth taking antibiotics and it becomes a case of minimizing the risk of contributing to the superbug crisis by finishing the prescribed course of medication and cleaning the house once your child has made a recovery.
Bear in mind, if you are doing anything to kill bacteria in any way less than thoroughly you could very well be contributing to the superbug crisis.
5. Do you ever ask your pediatrician about natural medicines?
If your child has been diagnosed with a less severe bacterial infection, look for natural remedies which alleviate the symptoms and see if they can ride out the sickness without antibiotics. You may find that if you can alleviate the nasty symptoms of the bug, you may not feel the need for antibiotics.
If your child has been diagnosed with a severe bacterial infection then ask your doctor for the appropriate course of antibiotics and make sure you finish the course.
If we don’t care about superbugs then we are becoming part of the problem. By using too many antibiotics when we don’t need to and not finishing the courses we are making the situation worse for our kids’ generations. By asking yourself these simple questions you can give your kids the best chance of avoiding vital diseases and start building a safer future.
About the Author
Theresa Harris (@TheresaHarris9) is a mother of two boys (age 6 and 9) and works from her home in London. She believes in teaching her boys to live a natural lifestyle and never realized how much she was contributing to the superbug crisis until her doctor asked her this set of questions. She now tries to do her bit by encouraging her family to avoid antibiotics where possible and finding natural alternatives to soothe the symptoms.
by SafBaby Health Expert Adviser, Dr. Murray Clarke
As outlined above, antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing phenomenon in this day and age and has emerged as one of the primary public health concerns of the 21st century.
Historically, there is evidence of low levels of pre-existing antibiotic-resistant bacteria even before the widespread use of antibiotics, which shows us that bacteria have been trying to outsmart the naturally occurring antibacterial agents found in nature for as long as we and the bacteria have been on this earth. This process and the development of more antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MSRA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Clostridium difficile has just been accelerated in recent years with the advent and massive worldwide use and abuse of pharmaceutically-related antibiotics.
Misuse of Antibiotics and Our Children’s Heatlh
Studies into the reasons behind this increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to show that the emergence of resistant bacteria is due to misuse and overuse of antibiotics, with the sheer volume of antibiotics prescribed being the major factor in the increasing rates of bacterial resistance. In a study from the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Sept. 2001 we see the conclusion that is the volume of antibiotics in use, rather than non-completion of the prescribed course that is the primary factor. Just a single dose of antibiotics has been shown to lead to a greater risk of resistant organisms to that antibiotic in a person for up to a year. (British Medical Journal, May 2010).
So, the question then becomes: What is the best way to treat our children if they do catch a bacterial infection of some sort, both to help them recover as quickly as possible while at the same time reducing the risk of creating their own antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
Herbal Remedies as a Safer Alternative to Antibiotics
To answer this question best we can look at the experience, knowledge and principles of 3000 years of Chinese herbal medicine and 200 years of effective homeopathic medical treatment. Both herbal extracts and homeopathic remedies have been demonstrated as highly effective treatment when used and applied correctly.
Herbal formulas for treating infections are comprised of several herbs and ingredients that each have their own specific function and purpose. The most effective formulas are based on the following structure and should include the following:
- nutrients that are naturally occurring antibacterial agents (such as Colloidal Silver);
- herbs that contain naturally occurring antiviral agents (such as Olive Leaf extract);
- herbs that will also activate and stimulate the child’s own immune system and macrophages to join the fight so as to completely clear all of the invading bacteria and/or virus (such as Larch Arabinogalactan); and
- nutrients that support the immune response (such as Vitamin C and Zinc).
When a formula is taken that contains herbs and ingredients with all of these functions then the offending bacteria will be contained and destroyed while the immune-stimulating and activating herbs will also encourage the immune system to remove any remaining debris from this confrontation and to also make antibodies for any future encounters. When this full and complete immune response occurs, then all of the offending bacteria or virus is cleared, antibodies are made for the future and the immune system grows stronger and wiser from this experience, prepared to be even more effective for the next encounter.
Homeopathic Remedies as a Safer Alternative to Antibiotics
Homeopathic remedies work a little differently than the herbal formula approach outlined above. Homeopathic remedies such as ferrum phos, gelsemium and chamomilla (commonly used to treat both bacterial and viral infections associated with colds, flus and ear infections) do not contain any intrinsic antibacterial or antiviral agents but work by directly stimulating the child’s immune system to confront, contain and clear the offending bacteria or virus. When a child’s immune system is already in good condition and able to respond to the correct homeopathic remedy, quickly and decisively, then the results are also always good.
If your child starts to show symptoms of a cold, cough, ear infection or upper respiratory infection, you can always consider these treatment options before reaching for the antibiotics, which run the risk of creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria by interfering with the normal, natural, complete and thorough immune sequence and response.
About SafBaby’s Health Expert: Dr. Murray Clarke, ND., D.Hom., L.Ac.
Dr. Murray Clarke is a doctor of naturopathic medicine with licenses and doctorates in homeopathic medicine and Chinese medicine (including acupuncture and herbology) and is a leading homeopathic physician for children in the Los Angeles area. He is also the founder of ChildLife® Essentials and author of Natural Baby-Healthy Child: Alternative Health Care Solutions from Pre-conception Through Childhood.
Natural Baby-Healthy Child utilizes diet, environmental detoxification, nutritional supplementation and holistic modalities including homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture to help parents–from pre-conception to pregnancy, to the baby’s first year through childhood–make the right health decisions for themselves and their child, naturally. Natural Baby–Healthy Child is an essential medical road map that will help keep children firmly on the path to robust, long-term good health and the realization of the full potential of body, mind and soul. For more information, please visit NaturalBabyHealthyChild.com.