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Antibiotics: King of Double-Edged Swords

(we're creating a dangerous super-monster)

Whenever I had a cold or flu during my childhood, I was given an antibiotic called tetracycline. When I was a teenager, I got mononucleosis (a virus we called the "kissing disease") and took lots and lots of antibiotics. Both realities encouraged my body's immune system to shut down. Closed for business. In my twenties, I worked three jobs to make ends meet and developed a low-grade fever and swollen glands for years. And you guessed it, I took more antibiotics. My doctors never talked about spinach salads, healthy sleep, or stress. 

I watched my parents and doctors blindly accept the cultural reality we lived in, during a time when encouraging an apple a day was a passing thought. Woefully, this hasn't changed all that much.

On my 30th birthday during the height of the HIV epidemic, I participated in an AIDS Walk to raise money for the dying gay men I watched all around me in San Francisco. That day I woke up: no more tobacco, no more daily coffee (I learned I'm not a "coffee metabolizer"), no more late nights, way less dairy and food animals, and no more doctors prescribing me antibiotics. Antibiotic use and abuse is a SERIOUS problem. Like, crazy serious folks. Although antibiotics are also saving lives (HOORAH!), researchers have sent us a loud warning: overuse of antibiotics for humans (30% total) and food animals (70% total) is creating a menacing Super-Monster.

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