Another trip to the library for more learning. And, boy, am I learning some interesting facts about antibiotic prescriptions in the US. Allow me to share a sample:
Americans are now prescribed some 258 million courses of antibiotics each year.
With a population of 318 million, that equates to roughly 80 prescriptions for every 100 people. Every year.
Most of these are the broad-spectrum antibiotics, the “pharmaceutical flamethrowers” that wipe out basically everything, good and bad (opening the door for all sorts of bad, like c-diff infection).
Interestingly, within the US, prescription rates vary widely state by state, with far higher rates in the South (a pattern that mirrors geographical rates of obesity).
Children in the US get on average 20 courses of antibiotics before their 18th birthday.
The largest percentage of these go to children before their 2nd birthday: some 1300 prescriptions for every 1000 babies.
One study found that some children’s gut bacteria were still out of whack FOUR YEARS after finishing a single course of antibiotics.
Some 70% of children who visit a doctor for an upper respiratory infection leave the appointment with a prescription for an antibiotic despite the fact that more than 80% of these infections are VIRAL, not bacterial (and, you know, antibiotics are useless against viruses).
Source: Cultured: How Ancient Foods Can Feed Our Microbiome by Katherine Harmon Courage.