I recently looked over my blog posts, and it dawned on me how I must appear to the reader. If I didn’t know me any better, other than what I read on my blog, I’d certainly think I was a ranting, raving lunatic that doesn’t know which soapbox to climb next. But, in all seriousness, the reality is that I just have a lot to say, that only comes from experience, that kind of wisdom that comes from “been there, done that” sorts of scenarios.
And so, today, I shall stand atop another soapbox, confidently and without shame. Because, today, I’d like to talk about drugs. Not pot or heroine (although a problem, for sure), but everyday, mundane drugs we all have taken from time to time, but have never given it much more than a passing thought- the drugs that have become the silent killers in America.
Parents, if you have kids, sit up and pay attention.
A few statistics to get you started:
- 7 out of 10 Americans take at least one prescription drug
- 9 out of 10 Americans report using at least 1 prescription drug in the last month
- Over 10% of Americans are taking a whopping 5 or more different prescription drugs every single day of their lives
- Over a quarter of children under the age of 12 are currently taking at least 1 prescription drug daily
- The most prescribed drugs are:
- #1- pain killers
- #2- Cholesterol drugs
- #3- Anti Depressants
- We’re one of only 2 nations in the world that allows direct prescription advertising to the consumer (you know, the dreaded Cialis commercials? The “get thicker lashes” commercials? The restless leg commercials?)
- The 4th leading cause of death in America is due to adverse reactions to prescription drug combinations- and some scientists argue it’s even higher, since it’s hard to tell, say, if a heart attack was caused by a poor heart or all the medications used to treat the poor heart
- The life expectancy in America lags behind most other developed nations- at an average rate of 79 years old, we rank 34th in the world, behind most European and Asian nations (Japan ranks #1 at nearly 85 years old)
- We rank highest in probability of having poor health in older age- meaning while we might be living longer than other less-developed countries, we are living out our older years in poorer health compared to any other developed nation in the world (are you getting this folks? We are the most medicated nation in the world, but we aren’t out living most other nations, nor are we living our older years in any resemblance of quality health!)
What, then, does this all mean for parents in America (because, after all, that is the focus of this blog)?
It means a lot! It means we’ve all been duped and we have a huge “unlearning” task at hand, before it’s too late:
First and foremost- stop medicating your kids for every little thing. So little Johnny has a cold? So little Sarah has an upset stomach? Don’t rush them to the doctor or to these ever-convenient “urgent” care places that have popped up on every street corner. Our bodies are miracles. They were created to cure themselves, in almost every situation. I mean that! Let the body do its thing, and only go to the doctor in rare cases, and yes, it’s rare you’ll need a doctor if your kid is generally healthy.
Teach your kids about the dangers of using medications. So they sprained a finger? Have menstrual cramps? A mild headache? A low grade fever? Don’t automatically reach for the OTC bottle of Advil or Motrin. Because when you do, you’re telling your kid through your actions that every pain, every discomfort ought to be medicated. And they’ll grow up to live in that mindset and become one of the above statistics.
Learn about what really is making us sick and how we can overcome the most common illnesses, naturally. We are a nation of over-eaters. And not just over-eaters, but eaters of horrible, processed junk that poisons our bodies. Teach your kids to eat right. Teach yourself to eat right. And don’t buy into the ease and convenience of pre-packaged foods! The chief causes of death in America are chronic illnesses caused by environmental factors- heart disease, diabetes, cancers, strokes and COPD. The primary causes of disabilities in older Americans are back problems and depression. All of these issues can (and should) be treated naturally, and begin with healthy habits developed as young children.
Limit (or eliminate-yes that’s what I said) your use of antibiotics. You see, the MAIN culprit for all of the aforementioned illnesses in America lies in our guts. We eat poor diets high in fats and chemicals and low in fruits and vegetables. Our guts are off kilter, lacking the necessary balance of good and bad bacteria that are common in the guts of say, the Japanese (remember, the longest living nation on the planet?). Over time, poor gut health can be is a primary contributing factor to almost every ailment top on the list in Americans today- heart disease, diabetes and even depression. Stop thinking medication is the go-to answer for every ailment, and start trusting that your body (and your kids’ bodies) can work magic on their own!
Do some research and trust your instincts. Don’t vaccinate your child for everything. I’m no doctor, but my kids have never been vaccinated for the flu, and I’m pretty sure they’ve never had the flu, ever. Remember that crazy swine flu that was going to kill us all? And public schools raced to offer free vaccines to every, single child? And we all raced to put our kids first in line? My kids were among the very few that did not get that shot. Other parents looked at us like we had 6 heads. Yet our kids survived. Did they get swine flu? I think so, because they all got sick for about 1.7 days, and guess what? They got better! And they’ll never get swine flu again, thanks to their little, trustworthy bodies doing their thang, naturally!
I end with a cautionary tale of my own, a wake up call that I desperately needed. So as not to bore you more, and for shock value, let me tell it this way-
My son almost died.
Sure, I may be exaggerating, but the truth is, he picked up a nasty, gut bacteria (or shall I say it was always there, but kept at bay by the good bacteria normally present) that is a known killer in America. One of those super bugs we all hear about. It’s called C-Diff for those “in the know.” He was sick for a month- stomach cramps and chronic, nasty diarrhea that the pediatrician failed to recognize in a timely fashion. We were referred to a “communicable disease specialist” and sent for pokes and prods that ended in an ultrasound that initially showed “tumors” or enlarged lymph nodes. It was the closest I ever got to know the pain and agony parents go through when they learn their child has a serious illness.
And I never want to feel that way again.
What was the cause? What brought my son to suffer through the most bitter, nasty tasting medication, and me to get a stern warning that he very well might end up in the hospital if I couldn’t get him to down that stuff 3 times a day? Strep throat and an ear infection that led to back to back antibiotics, one of which was double the recommended dose for his age and weight (doctor messed up….who knew?). This antibiotic overdose killed almost every, single good bacteria in his gut, allowing the nasty bacteria to flourish and grow. An innocent mistake by an uninformed parent and a rushed urgent care doctor led to my son being overdosed by antibiotics that could have killed him. A common mistake made by many parents in America, which, in all honesty, is killing our nation one, little kid at a time.
It’s time we wise up and make better health choices, peeps. Now, go get some veggies and fruit for dinner tonight, and strip your medicine cabinet clear. No, seriously, go. Now.
For more information (and to CYA for stealing statistical data for my blog) see: