Blasphemy is what my wife will say when she sees this blog title. We have long had the debate regarding the value and safety of vaccines and drugs. Of course she is on the side of the doctor knows best and I am on the side of we need less.
There is an old saying “a happy wife is a happy life.” So it won’t take much to conclude that I have, mostly, yielded to her desires to run to the doctor anytime this sniffles, sneezes and temperatures have become worrisome.
Not only am I not a professional financial consultant, I am also not a trained physician nor biologist, scientist or other ist. Science however is fascinating to me and as a result I’ve spent a lifetime absorbing whatever comes my way.
In the course of my life a number of studies, theories and suppositions have been presented that suggest when it comes to bacterial diseases we are fighting the fire with gasoline. Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard concern that consumers incorrect use of antibiotics are actually enabling germs and bacteria to build resistance to the medications we have created. I’ve always wondered if it is our use or simply nature. After-all life has been adapting for millions of years; why stop now?
So here I would like to present not just the musings of a self-described science nut but the first concrete evidence I have ever seen:
OSLO, Norway — Aker University Hospital is a dingy place to heal. The floors are streaked and scratched. A light layer of dust coats the blood pressure monitors. A faint stench of urine and bleach wafts from a pile of soiled bedsheets dropped in a corner.
Look closer, however, at a microscopic level, and this place is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia last year, soaring virtually unchecked.
The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs.
I came across this information from one of my favorite science blogs, the Curious Cat. The article quoted above comes from The Miami Herald: Norway Conquers Infection By Cutting Use of Antibiotics.
In particular the paper notes that the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] bug kills about 19,000 Americans every year. That is more than the swine flu, avian and even AIDS! What makes it really crazy is that we are spending millions for the privileged.
The World Health Organization says antibiotic resistance is one of the leading public health threats on the planet. A six-month investigation by The Associated Press found overuse and misuse of medicines has led to mutations in once curable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, making them harder and in some cases impossible to treat.
Now, in Norway’s simple solution, there’s a glimmer of hope.
In our family of four it is well known that I am the healthiest of all. This is ironic considering that I rarely take any medications, even aspirin and I travel at least 30 weeks each year meaning I am exposed to literally millions of people and all of their illnesses. Throughout my career I have missed less work (and therefore earned more) than my counterparts and I have always attributed it to having a strong immune system. My belief is that by exposing myself to illness and allowing my body to fight it naturally, like exercising a muscle, it has gotten stronger.
Many times when the kids were sick my approach is to let it run its course. This is surely difficult for a worrying parent. More than half the time when my wife overrules me and goes to the doctor she has been told the same thing. I recall a number times however our doctor being left unclear of the cause and prescribing medicine “just to try.”
No doubt, there are times when we all need the assistance of drugs and doctors. However, when evidence such as this comes out you have to ask… The answer, it would seem, is simpler than the problems we face.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer,” he said [Dr. Robert Muder]. “You save people pain, you save people the work of taking care of them, you save money, you save lives and you can export what you learn to other hospital-acquired infections.”
“So, how do you pay for it?” Muder asked. “Well, we just don’t pay for MRSA infections, that’s all.”
Readers: Believe me, my wife would love nothing more than if you all disagreed with me. Even if you do, I am interested in your opinion. Do you believe our population has been over-medicated?
photo by due.chiacchiere