Antibiotics can be life saving in numerous situations, but their indiscriminate use has led to the emergence of a number of a highly resistant bacteria. Among the most resistant are Streptococcal Pneumonia and this bacterial strain is one of the leading causes of ear and sinus infections, meningitis, and other potentially serious illnesses in adults and children.
According to medical research, antibiotics are prescribed at an enormous rate in the United States. Many doctors routinely write prescriptions for antibiotics ( in part due to pressure from their patients) for cold symptoms, bronchitis, and ear infections despite the fact that they know up to 90% of them are caused by viruses and therefore an antibiotic is totally ineffective and unnecessary.
In fact, according to statistics, pediatricians and family physicians prescribe over $500 million dollars worth of antibiotics each year just to treat ear infections and another $500 million each year for other pediatric illnesses. When one considers conventional medical treatments for ear infections including antibiotics, antihistamines, and the surgical insertion of “tubes”, the total spent is approximately 8 billion dollars per year.
Ironically, researchers question whether the routine use of antibiotics is a contributing factor to increased incidences of ear infections and fluid in the ear. Children in one research study who received Amoxycillin for chronic ear infections actually suffered 2-6 times the rate of recurrence. Other studies have shown that for most children, drugs and “tubes” are not only ineffective, but their costly measures may predispose children to recurrent ear infections. Other researchers found that pharyngitis and tonsillitis are among the worst treated of all illnesses because of the overuse of antibiotics. Many of theses infections are viral in nature in which case the use of antibiotics is unwarranted and may lead to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.