ANTIBIOTICS – FIRST CHOICE OR LAST RESORT
Antibiotics have a definite place in the health care system – and they save lives. But they should not be taken as a first resort unless there is an actual and serious threat to life. Many Western doctors too, are now avoiding routine prescription of antibiotics, particularly in the early stage of coughs and colds caused by a virus, where antibiotics are ineffective and therefore inappropriate.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture have many effective strategies to treat fever, infection and inflammation, and in fact treat a range of conditions which Western medicine ascribes to bacteria or other micro-organisms.
Many Western doctors unfortunately are strongly influenced by their early medical training, which teaches the possible complications of disease – for instance, how an ear infection may spread and infect adjacent structures, and even ultimately lead to meningitis. However, it is important to keep things in perspective and understand that such risks are remote – and even more important to treat the ear infection effectively to prevent any complications.
In my clinic I see many children, and adults too, who have had repeated courses of antibiotics to no avail – and yet their GP has insisted that they continue taking the antibiotics, even though they have not been effective. Sometimes too, I see people who have an undiagnosed condition, and where all the tests and investigations have showed no bacterial infection, and yet their doctor has prescribed antibiotics “just in case”.
When we study Western medicine (accredited courses of Chinese medicine also include many hundreds of hours spent on Western medicine studies), we learn not only of the possible complications, but also the cause is disease – and the most common culprits are antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and steroid-based medications. Not only does Chinese medicine stand perfectly poised to offer safe, viable, and effective alternatives, but a properly qualified Chinese medicine practitioner* also understands the nature of the disease according to modern Western medicine, and can refer the patient on to a Western GP if circumstances so dictate.
The routine over-use of antibiotics is something that was discussed in the 1950s, and it is difficult to understand why antibiotics have continued to be over-prescribed for the past 60 years. It is well known that they cause stomach upsets, and numerous people suffer diarrhoea and nausea even when on a short course. Their association with candida is also well known. In general, they impair the immune system by killing of the good bacteria we need in our gut which preserves our health. More recently, there has been a link to certain kinds of autism, as reported on the ABC program “Four Corners” http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/08/23/3574441.htm.
There is an extended list of reported and well documented side effects associated with the antibiotics. As an example, those associated with gentamycin can be found here. http://www.drugs.com/sfx/gentamicin-side-effects.html
It is no wonder that more and more people are seeking Chinese medicine treatment as a safe and effective alternative.
* Registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) under AHPRA