Asthma cases in the US continue to rise. Our children are being hit hard; in 2010 an estimated 10 million children had been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their young lives. Growing up, I can recall many mornings where I woke up to learn that my brother had been rushed to the ER that night because he was having an asthma attack. Asthma is a very serious condition. And millions of our children have it. This is not OK.
In a previous post, I explained how they have linked early antibiotic use to increased risks of developing asthma. Antibiotics are not just prescribed during sicknesses though, they are also rampant in our normal food supply. If a child isn’t eating organic, he is eating antibiotics. Antibiotic use is THAT prevalent in our food supply. Recently we learned that even the antibiotics that are supposed to be banned from use, are simply still being used in our livestock anyway. Our food supply is in crisis. About 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in America are given to livestock. And what is our government doing about it? Two key FDA decisions recently (discussed here and here) show that we are doing basically nothing about this problem.
The antibiotic crisis is currently so bad that in March of this year, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, gave a sobering Keynote address at a conference about combating antimicrobial resistance in Copenhagen, Denmark where she explained that we are actually, PRESENTLY, entering a post-antibiotic era. She didn’t say this because of the side effects of antibiotics, but because they simply aren’t working anymore; even the strong ones are becoming less effective because bacteria simply evolves faster than we can upgrade our antibiotics.
So, while all the governing agencies fumble around trying to get their crap together, we got to see this month yet another probable example of our misuse of antibiotics. Of course, it wasn’t mentioned in the article. The article was more about the financial impacts and sociological effects of the rise in asthma in our nation. While it went on about the detrimental effects though, I kept trying to visualize 10 million children living with asthma… and their sisters waking up in the morning, just hoping that their sibling will grow out of it.
While some children will suffer from asthma as a result of premature birth or other factors, right now, with our little ones, there is something we can do to at the very least lower the risks that they will develop asthma. We can breastfeed our babies as long as possible. This not only helps reduce the risks of asthma on its own, it also lessens the likelihood that our children will need antibiotics. In non-serious conditions, we can ask our children’s doctors if the antibiotics are really needed. If our children’s doctors say they are, we can make sure to use antibiotics responsibly according to their directions. We can learn about natural alternatives to antibiotics. (Read here, here, here and here.) Perhaps the easiest and least controversial way to reduce antibiotic exposure though: Switch to all organic meat and dairy products.
If you need ideas on how to eat organic on a budget, visit our Facebook page. I’ll certainly be sure to help, but other moms hang out over there too and are always eager to share ideas.