The Case (Pro and) Against Antibiotics
When you struggle in an emergency room with a life-threatening infectious disease like me recently, you are grateful that Sir Alexander Fleming, a Scottish biologist, discovered the antibiotic substance penicillin in 1928. When you can't even stand up because bacteria are wrecking havoc on your body, you are thankful that conventional medicine exists. Yes, modern medicine can save lives. Yes, invention of antibiotics was a huge progress. Until recently, infectious diseases were the main cause of death worldwide. However, easy access to antibiotics have also led to their overuse, prompting bacteria to develop resistance. And it is a huge problem.
I wonder if my clean diet, free of antibiotics filled meat and dairy, tilt me over to a happy ending. I may only hypothesize that if I ate a standard diet, full of CAFO meat, conventionally raised chicken and eggs, antibiotics might not have helped me. If you are asking what has a chicken to do with overcoming infectious disease, read on.
Antibiotic Resistance and Why You Should Care
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. Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death.
Not only misuse of antibiotics against viral infections like the common cold, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections can result in antibiotic resistance but eating conventionally raised meat can have the same effect. Agricultural industry uses massive amount of antibiotics and administers 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics to livestock every year for non-medical purposes.
How To Prevent Antibiotic Resistance
1. Ask your doctor if there are steps you can take to feel better without using antibiotics. Your doctor should make throat swab cultures to find out if the disease is caused by a virus or bacteria.
2. Never take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu.
3. Never take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
4. Never save antibiotics for the next time you get sick.
5. Shop for 100 % grass-fed or organically grown meat and poultry.
6. Never buy conventional dairy or eggs (read about human health implications of eating organically grown food here)