A Natural Path: Skip the antibiotics, save the planet, Eagle County | VailDaily.com

A Natural Path: Skip the antibiotics, save the planet, Eagle County

Dr. Eliza Klearman
Eagle County CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/kanderson@vaildaily.com

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” With all that is “green” these days, most of the medical world is not. If we were all to make a little effort, we could impact what is perhaps the scariest, most daunting medical disease that is quickly coming upon us: antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is exceedingly common. There are increasing numbers of bacteria strains that no longer respond to antibiotics. This leads to bacteria that are stronger, that we have no treatments for, and are more likely to lead to serious illness and death.

Experts from the FDA report that antibiotic resistance is occurring for two reasons: People are contracting more infections and over-using antibiotics to treat them.

Is it true that infections are on the rise? Maybe we are getting more sinusitis and ear infections than before. Maybe it is because most families are dual income and have their younger children in daycare. Or perhaps we go to work when we are sick because we fear that we just can’t miss a day of work. Infections are contagious, and when we have them and pretend like we don’t, we spread them all around.

Obviously, you can prevent the spread of infection by staying at home when you are sick, washing your hands, and covering your mouth.

More importantly, and less obviously, you have to build up your terrain to prevent illness. That is, make yourself healthy and you’ll be less likely to catch infections. This is an area of wellness where naturopathic medicine shines. There are simple things you can do every day to increase your overall health. For example, eating fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins can give your body the nutrients needed to increase your natural defense system.

Taking a daily probiotic improves your digestion and elimination and also increases your immunity against invading bacteria and virus. Daily exercise and a cold water rinse at the end of your morning shower stimulate circulation and keep your immune cells on the alert. These are just some examples of the thousands of simple things you can do to strengthen your body and keep you healthy.

We all know that we can’t stay healthy forever, and sometimes, even the healthiest of us get an infection. What do you do when your defense mechanisms fail?

The only thing most people know to do when they are sick is take antibiotics. Patients often exert pressure on physicians to prescribe antibiotics, and physicians may prescribe antibiotics to those who don’t really need them. The CDC estimates that tens of millions of antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections each year. That is an astounding amount of unnecessary prescriptions that are not treating the illness and only contributing to antibiotic resistance.

The truth is the best medicine for most viral and even mild bacterial infections is rest and time. Most infections resolve on their own, without treatment, within about a week ” even ear infections and sinusitis.

Most people, however, don’t like to sit idly by and let their cold resolve. Luckily, there are a multitude of natural remedies that are excellent at treating both viruses and bacteria without causing any sort of antibiotic resistance.

Certain foods, something as simple as a freshly crushed clove of garlic, have anti-microbial effects. There are homeopathic remedies and herbal medicines, probiotics and hydrotherapy, all of which can treat infectious diseases.

So please, I beg you, use your better judgment when you or your children are ill.

Save the antibiotics for the serious infections. Do not pressure your doctor to prescribe them ” there are other, better, more natural treatment options for you.

Each time you take an antibiotic, you are bringing you, your family, your descendants and your planet one step closer to antibiotic resistance; one step closer to a time when infectious diseases are again the number one killer in our country.

Dr. Eliza Klearman is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist practicing in Eagle. For more information call 970-328-5678 or email liza@drklearman.com.

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