Guest Column: CDC speaks out against antibiotics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched a national campaign aimed at encouraging appropriate antibiotic use, which addresses a growing public health risk: the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant bacterial strains. The stimulus for and timing of this campaign, “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work,” originates from statistics like these:

Antibiotic prescriptions for children increased by almost 50 percent over a 12-year period, according to a national office-based study conducted by the CDC.

Many patients seek medical care and antibiotics because they believe that colds are caused by bacteria. A study in Pediatrics (February 2003) revealed that 53 percent of patients believed antibiotics were needed to treat colds. Colds are caused by a virus. Antibiotics do not affect viruses at all.

An estimated 7.4 million prescriptions were written in 1998 for viral upper respiratory tract infections at an estimated cost of $227 million, according to Clinical Infectious Disease (Aug. 21, 2001).

The CDC campaign hopes to increase public awareness of these issues. It also hopes to avoid the development of resistant strains of bacteria by encouraging more conservative use among physicians.

Commitment to prevention of disease is one of the finest expressions of a society interested in its members. This commitment comes with the responsibility to share relevant information as it becomes available. In an ideal United States, where people would be free to choose health care based on knowledge, studies like the following would inform good decisions:

The study of 1,996 children that showed 69 percent of chiropractors’ children had never had otitis media, and only 30 percent of the medical doctors’ children were otitis media free.

The 1981 study showing that antibiotics are not effective for otitis media—inflammation of the middle ear. (Notice how long that information has been around!)

The study of 52 healthy men that showed enhancement of the immune system after humor-associated mirthful laughter.

The study in the British Medical Journal showing that patients who did not take antibiotics for otitis media had a higher rate of recovery than those who did.

The study of 332 children showing that 90 percent of them showed dramatic improvements in otitis media symptoms after as few as three chiropractic adjustments.

These and other studies from different health care professionals serve to remind us that health is not a matter of “killing off the germs,” but of assuring nerve system integrity. There may be many ways to enhance immune function, and clearly antibiotic use is not one of them. But your chiropractor is the only health care professional trained to remove spinal interference of the nerve system that manages immunity.

Dr. Philip Schalow is the director of 1st Step Chiropractic, S.C., Rockford’s first NUCCA chiropractic center; it’s the first step to take in wellness care.



“Physicians Key in Preventing Antibiotic Resistance.” Humana’s Your Practice: winter 2004. Corporate Communications in conjunction with Physician Practice.

Berk, Lee S., et al. “Modulation of Neuroimmune Parameters During the Eustress of Humor-Associated Mirthful Laughter.” Alternative Therapies, March 2001, Vol. 7, No. 2.

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Froom, J.; BMJ, 1990 March 3, 300 (6724): 582-6

Froom, J.; Culpepper, L.; Jacobs, M.: “Antimicrobials for acute otitis media? A review from the International Primary Care Network,” BMJ 1997; 315:98-102

Fallon, J.M.: “The role of chiropractic adjustments in the care and treatment of 332 children with otitis media.” JCCP 1997: 2:167-183

Vora, G.S., Bates, H.A.: “The Effects of Spinal Manipulation of the Immune System. A Preliminary Report, Journal of Chiropractic, 1980, Volume 14, p. S103.

van Breda W.M.; van Breda, J.M.: “A Comparative Study of the Health Status of Children Raised Under the Health Care Models of Chiropractic and Allopathic Medicine.” J Chiro Res 1989; 5:101-3

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