My Healthy Child: The Antibiotic Trap

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My Healthy Child: The Antibiotic Trap

When a child is sick, many parents feel that a prescription for antibiotics is the cure-all. If the parents are not keen on the idea of antibiotics and question their doctor about the alternatives available, most doctors do not have a positive response. Fear sets in, and antibiotics are prescribed to reassure them -- often even before the lab results come back confirming a diagnosis of a bacterial infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, yet they are often prescribed when a virus is the culprit.

Unnecessary Antibiotics

When my son Levi became ill with his first cold just after Christmas, my husband and I were not too concerned. His energy level was still very high and his appetite was still hearty. Then, on New Year's Eve, Levi broke out in hives and developed a low-grade fever. His energy level and appetite were still fine, but since neither my husband nor I was sure about the hives, we took him to the local hospital's emergency room.

The doctor then confirmed the hives and the low-grade fever and stated that Levi also had a slight ear infection. We were very surprised about the ear infection, since Levi displayed no visible symptoms. The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the infection and an antihistamine for the hives.

Even though current research indicates that it is better to wait 48 hours before beginning antibiotic treatment for ear infections to lessen the risk of recurrence, Levi was still offered a dose -- which we declined. The doctor did not approve of our decision, but we felt that since neither diagnosis was life-threatening, we were going to wait until we heard from our naturopath.

A Healthy Resolution

Though it was New Year's Eve, our naturopath returned our call and advised which herbal and which homeopathic remedies to administer. It is important to contact your naturopath or homeopath each time your child has an illness. Homeopathic treatment is very individual and symptom-specific, and you want to administer the most effective remedy as quickly as possible.

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By New Year's Day Levi's fever was gone along with most of his hives. It was obvious that, in this case, antibiotics (or antihistamines) were not warranted.

Be Well informed

It is important to note that your child's behavior is always the strongest indicator of how ill he or she is. A child who has no appetite and is very lethargic with a low-grade fever may often be much more ill than a child who has a good appetite and high spirits with a high-grade fever.

Surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable in alternative medicines -- a naturopath, chiropractor, massage therapist, local health food store employee or even your vet, if he or she practices alternative medicines as ours does.

Most importantly, become well informed yourself. There are many great books available about children and alternative medicines -- read them!

When your child becomes ill, go with your "gut." If you are concerned, take your child to the local hospital or doctor for diagnosis. Treatment will be recommended and, as long the illness is not life-threatening, it is your right to choose the type of treatment you prefer. Don't be a victim of the antibiotic trap.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Kerstin Shillum

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