Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Snot Suckers, Antibiotics, and Healthy Kids

By the time my kids were the age my grandkids are now they'd taken many courses of antibiotics.  Both of them had ear infections at an early age, and Lukas had H.flu meningitis at four month, a disease that babies are vaccinated against now at 2 months. 

But neither Jeanne nor Thomas has had an ear infection, and Thomas at a year has never had a whiff of an antibiotic (Jeanne did as a precaution after she was born for rather arcane reasons.)

Why is this? I wondered as I sat in the waiting room yesterdaya while Lukas took  Thom in for a well-baby visit.  Is it because of the "snot sucker" that young families are using these days to clear their children's nasal passages of mucus. 

The picture gives the idea of how it's done, which looks rather gross.  But it works, even if most kids scream when they see the tube coming.  Certainly the child doesn't have a lot of mucus collecting in the inner ear, which is where the ear infection usually start.

And the result of not taking antibiotics for this kind of infection is underlined in studies reported in The New York Times today.  Over use of antibiotics has led to the developoment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which in turn leads to the death of any average of 23,000 people per year, the US  Center for Disease Control and Prevention says.   Some of this resistance is due to use of antibiotics in animal feed, but unnecessary use for human disease is also a major factor.

So, not only have Jeanne and Thomas so far escaped the fevers and pains that their parents went through due to ear infections, they're also part of a new vision of health. 

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