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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kid With MRSA Dies in DC

My husband and I have been having an ongoing conversation about antibiotics. There's a guy he works with that wants his kid on them, Phil tells the guy--if the infection is viral you do not want your kid on them. The guy takes his kid to the doctor, the doctor says the kid has a viral infection and prescribes antibiotics. What?!

I have heard this over and over and over around here. "My kid has strep, he's on antibiotics." To that I respond, "Did your doctor do a culture, swab your kid's throat?" Nope. Not at all. Yet, here's some antibiotics for you.

Last night when I took Zane to get his hair cut the lady says, "Yeah, I saved a couple of my antibiotics for this weekend because I'm going out of town and I'm gonna need them." Again, What!? Are you kidding me? I told her that wouldn't help her feel better because that's not how antibiotics work. She gave me a look of confusion and said, "Well it worked the last time I did it."
Okay. Whatever. How do you talk to stupid people like that?

What the hell is wrong with doctors that they're just handing out antibiotics like this? And what in the hell is wrong with people that they don't care to learn to handle this stuff correctly?

So then I read that this eleven year old is dead in Washington D.C. with MRSA found--man. I don't want kids to die and I'm hoping that maybe this will raise the awareness we need. Because now the parents in the school are outraged. I wonder how many of them have stuffed their kids full of antibiotics?

The school sent home a letter to the parents.

This is out of hand. And it's controllable. It's like people saying, "Wow. Look at all the teen pregnancy. Why are there so many teen pregnancies?" Because the kids are having sex. That's why. Sex causes pregnancy. Nothing else. So when we start getting "outraged" that there's MRSA everywhere and we want to know why--it's because we take too many antibiotics. Period. This is not rocket science folks.

Oh. You've never heard of MRSA? It is an extremely contagious and potentially life-threatening anti-biotic resistant staph infection.

Doesn't surprise me. Most people haven't. Most people don't know how to take antibiotics properly. Hell, most doctors aren't prescribing them right, nor taking precautions to make sure patients understand the complications of taking them wrong. So start here: How To Take Antibiotic Properly

Let me be blunt with you. If you don't understand the what I'm talking about, you NEED to. If you think you can take antibiotics for viral infections, you're ignorant. And if you think you shouldn't be concerned about this, my opinion is you're stupid.

People and doctors are shoving antibiotics in the meat we eat and as a society we're taking them for everything. And now kids are dying because of antibiotic resistant strains like MRSA.

Here's an article from 2006. The first two paragraphs should be enough to make you concerned:

If you are an American admitted to a hospital in Amsterdam, Toronto, or Copenhagen these days, you'll be considered a biohazard. Doctors and nurses will likely put you into quarantine while they determine whether you're carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a deadly organism that is increasingly common stateside, especially in our hospitals. And if you test positive for methicillin-resistant staph, or MRSA, these European and Canadian hospital workers will don protective gloves, masks, and gowns each time they approach you, and then strip off the gear and scrub down vigorously when they leave your room. The process is known as "search and destroy"—a combat mission that hospitals abroad are undertaking to prevent the spread of germs that resist antibiotics. Our own health authorities, meanwhile, have been strangely reluctant to join the assault.

In the United States, MRSA kills an estimated 13,000 people every year, which means that a hospital patient is 10 times as likely to die of MRSA as an inmate is to be murdered in prison. The latest survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 64 percent of the Staphylococcus-aureus strains in American hospitals were MRSA—that is, resistant to the powerful antibiotic methicillin and other antibiotics—which makes them difficult to treat. MRSA has also spread to the general public, afflicting football teams and schools in the last three years. I know a healthy 5-year-old who got a staph infection recently after she skinned her knee on the playground. She ended up requiring two full months of antibiotic treatment, while her mother scoured the house with bleach on doctor's orders. And she may not be rid of the bug yet.

Do yourself a favor and learn about this kind of stuff.

From Pfizer:

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

When bacteria can defend themselves against the effect of an antibiotic, they are said to be antibiotic-resistant. The word "superbug" is used by the media to describe bacteria that have become resistant to certain antibiotics. One of the reasons for the increase in antibiotic resistance is the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.

Due to the inappropriate use of antibiotics, an increase has occurred in the resistance of many kinds of bacteria to this medication. Many of the more familiar antibiotics like penicillin have become ineffective against or resistant to bacterial infections like Streptococcus, the most common cause of pneumonia, meningitis and sinus and ear infections.

When people don't take antibiotics properly, instead of eliminating the infection altogether, the antibiotic kills only the weaker, non-resistant organisms and leaves the tougher ones to become more resistant.

To reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance :

  • Follow your doctor's instructions when taking antibiotics.
  • Take your antibiotics at the same time every day.
  • Finish all your antibiotics to kill the bacteria completely.
  • Never take another person's antibiotics.
  • Do not take antibiotics for a cold or the flu (These are viral infections and they do not respond to antibiotics).

5 comments:

Katrine said...

I'm always suprised how easily Dr's give antibiotics out. I love my Dr! She plays it safe and she wants to know what the problem is before she gives out any medication.

Kay said...

The doctors in this part of the country -- at least the one's I've been to -- don't give antibiotics very freely. They have postors on the wall explaining what antibiotics are for and what they are not for.
I don't even want to take them when I need them. They make me sick, for one thing. How can anybody take them just because. I hate them. They have their place obviously, but they still make me feel crappy.
I appreciate your post. It is a pet peave of mine as well.

Angie Poole said...

Remember in 2006 when my teen had MRSA? It was awful.

Toni said...

*ggrrr* ONLY in an emergency is my motto with a-bios. I kept my son away from them, until last year. His ear drum ruptured and he was prescribed a-bios for the first time in 8 yrs. Turns out, he broke out in hives - was allergic. Mother knows best!

Momstheword said...

When my girls were young, the doctors were much more free about prescribing antibiotics than they are now, if you can believe that! My older girl had frequent earaches and infections (or so we were told). The doctor would give her a penicillin shot and some pills. He never had us bring her back for a recheck. Numerous times this happened. Then we changed doctors and this one put her on antibiotics for the ear infection and had me bring her in every week for about four weeks, with antibiotics still going. Then, after all that time, he said, "I can finally see the eardrum." Her ear infection had NEVER gone away and just kept coming back. She had very little trouble after that. She got lots of antibiotics during that treatment but it finally cleared up. I've worked for doctors and they are getting much better about not giving antibiotics for viral infections. By the way, there are people who insist on antibiotic and when the doctor doesn't prescribe it, they will go to the ER and get them.