Wednesday, March 21, 2012

JOT #36: An ounce of prevention...

It's been at least 2 years since Little One and I have taken antibiotics. We're not against them inherently, they do save lives and are necessary to help prevent the spread of so many diseases. The same is true of so many other medications.

When Little One was barely one, we had a scare of H1N1 flu in New York City, and he was prescribed Tamiflu. We had to force down dose after dose of white fluid that he kept spitting out and letting dribble from his tired, cranky face. A week later, we were able to confirm it wasn't any fancy bird flu, not even influenza, just a bad cold virus that all his friends back home had gotten as well. Lesson learned.

The same year he had had two ear infections, and when we traveled to India that year, he had another round of antibiotics, some decongestants, and cough syrup, added to malaria pills - he was almost on a schedule worthy of an octogenarian. I decided enough was enough, and I bought up a supply of delicious probiotic pills (he lapped those up), laid in a stock of sweet elderberry syrup, and went with the remedy doctors in Amsterdam once gave my mother when I had a fever: stop giving milk, and serve very weak tea. And ear infections? Regular ear-cleaning and drying (especially post-swimming), no straws and sippys, and a ball of cotton soaked in eucalyptus or other oil in the ears. The herbal tinctures are generally mild and serve as backup.

Not very logical advice, but what I took away was this: healthy immune systems get stronger by working to fight infections. In the case of otherwise healthy children, it really is a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

That's not to say I won't be giving serious medical concerns to the pediatrician's care, or halting all immunizations, but I do think I've overused medication in the past for my child, and myself as well.

Let's bring back prevention, what an idea!

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