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Aug 22, 2011

Children Who Take Antibiotics More Susceptible to "Superbug" Infections

Antibiotic resistance is a serious health problem contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people annually. The connection between overuse of antibiotic drugs and development of antibiotic-resistant infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is fairly well-recognized. It then comes as no real surprise to learn the results of a new study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Canadian researchers found that children who do a round of at least one antibiotic have triple the risk of developing MRSA compared to children with no antibiot ic use. Children are 18 times more likely to have MRSA when they have taken four or more antibiotics!

In this particular study, researchers from McGill University in Montreal analyzed data from more than 400 clinics in the UK. They showed particular interest in children diagnosed with MRSA between 1994 and 1997. Over half of the 297 children who had tested positive for MRSA had previously been prescribed an antibiotic within a 30-180 day window prior to diagnosis.

Though many people picture hospital environments as being one of the primary sources for superbugs like MRSA, contraction of superbugs outside of hospitals and in the general public (aka community-acquired MRSA) is now proving to also be problematic, according to this study.

Antibiotic therapy can be a valuable therapeutic method in certain situations, but should not be regarded as a panacea for every complaint. If they are used (and overused) without regard to the impact on our children's health, serious consequences can result. In many cases, numerous excellent herbal and nutritional remedies can be used to effectively eliminate infectious organisms, help correct the reason they got there in the first place, all the while not contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance! Another tip for those interested in putting a stop to antibiotic resistance is to avoid consumption of animal products whereby the animals have been administered antibiotics, as these can be passed on to the end consumers (us!). Support local, free-range and organically-raised products as much as possible.

Dr. Shana McQueen