Stop Killing The Good Guys! Protect Your Child's Microbiome From Antibiotic Overuse

Aviva Romm | Huffington Post | January 8, 2015

...The average child in the United States will receive between and 10 and 20 courses of antibiotics by the time he or she is 18 years old. (2) We are so accustomed to antibiotics being prescribed for childhood illnesses that we assume that they are as safe as they are common. But this is far from the truth. We are now learning the hard way that the common overuse of antibiotics, both as medicines and in our foods (they are given to cattle and poultry to keep them "healthy" until they are slaughtered for food; antibiotics also promote growth in these animals by the same mechanisms that their chronic use increases the risk of obesity in humans) is responsible for two major health problems: global antibiotic resistance to serious infections, and damage to the human microbiome.

This growing awareness that antibiotic overuse is dangerous for both public and personal health requires us to drastically and immediately rethink and adjust our antibiotic use. In doing so we can prevent our children from developing life-long chronic illnesses associated with microbiome damage, some of which rival the seriousness of the bacterial infections that used to threaten them, and we can reduce the major global threat of antibiotic resistance we all face.

Antibiotics kill bacteria. The problem is that they not only kill off the bad guys (and as you'll see below, because of antibiotic resistance, they are doing this less effectively!); they kill off the good ones, too. When we give antibiotics to children at a young age or frequently enough, some of the good guys may never fully recover. These good gut flora, and their composite, our microbiome, are essential for more functions that protect and support our health than we'd ever imagined until recently...