Times Magazine published an article about death statistics in 2009. The article showed that more people have been killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents. Between 2000 and 2008, drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults. The same numbers triple among people between the ages of 50 and 69. Believe it or not, these death statistics pertain to legal prescription drugs, and most of these were prescribed by a licensed physician. 

An estimated 450,000 preventable drug-related incidents occur every year. 

Taking those numbers into consideration, it is important to ask ourselves: 

Is our over-the-counter medication, pain killer, or antibiotic killing me?

With the summer days coming to an end, the weather will soon begin to change. Rainy days, chilly nights and winds from the north will start to make their way south. Moreover, with the seasons coming up, we will have less and less time available in our schedules as we start getting things ready for Christmas.

Winter tends to bring our energy levels down which, in turn, affects our immune system. For few of us, this will translate into a seasonal cold, flu, or some form of sinus infection.

As soon as the symptoms start to arise, should we run to the doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics? Most of us seem to think so. There’s nothing worse than fighting through a cold or flu, especially when you have the option to stop it at its tracks.

Before we reach for a prescription, there're a few things to keep in mind. 

Is it Viral or a Bacterial Infection?

Antibiotics only work on bacterial infection. A lot of the time, antibiotics are given wrongly to patients suffering from a viral infection. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics and usually clear themselves after a few days with the help of rest and good nutrition.

However, it is rooted in our culture that when we go to the doctor, we expect to receive antibiotic medications. Furthermore, 99% of the time, the physician will grant it without testing for a bacterial infection. 

What Are the Risks? 

Adverse drug reactions kill more people than motor vehicle accidents and even terrorist attacks. The difference is that it doesn't make the daily news.

Where Do Drug Reactions Come from?

Each individual reacts differently to drugs. Detoxification systems vary considerably from person to person. 

It all depends on the gene variation you have to detoxify certain substances. Not one drug fits all people.

Adverse drug reactions are caused by substances that cannot be detoxed properly, causing an overload in the system. This is a pretty scary healthcare occurrence. Frightening enough to cause an astonishing 8% of hospital admission.

All of this caused by over the counter medicine or anti-inflammatory products that are easily accessible without the consultation of a physician. 

The unique genetic makeup of a person is a powerful tool in shaping his or her detoxification system. Without understanding this, it is hard to know what a simple over the counter drug is doing to you. 

Yet death by drug reaction it is still considered as rare cases despite the numbers. 

So what if you do not have any adverse reaction? Does it mean that your health has not been negatively affected?

Even if it does not kill you or make you sicker, an antibiotic could still damage the gut health. Ironically, half of your defense system is located in your gut. The consumption of antibiotics could lead to all sorts of unwanted digestive issues, hormone imbalances, or even neurotransmitter imbalances. This can result in mood swings and even depression while making you prone to other infections.

That’s not all...

Apart from making you prone to infection, antibiotics come with a long list of side effects including skin problems, leaky guts, and, of course, possible fatal adverse reactions.

Moreover, because of our continued use of antibiotics, bacterial infections have evolved, causing antibiotic resistance. In other words, we have used antibiotics so much that bacteria is now able to resist the medication.

Let me put this bluntly: If we were to run out of efficient antibiotics, this does not mean that we can any longer treat an infected wound. Rather, it means that, eventually, we will no longer be able to treat propagation of diseases, run a hospital, or even save lives.

Drug-resistant infections are already common in hospitals and are a rising concern among the medical establishment.

It is estimated that, unless we cut antibiotic use, these new superbugs could kill 10 million people a year by 2050. This is almost 10 times more than Malaria! 

So, What Can You Do About It?

Having your all genome sequenced, and having access to pharmaceutical genomic is one possible solution. However, this is not yet accessible to everyone.

The best option, for now, is to remain proactive and give your body all the tools it needs to boost its well-established defense system.

A simple way to boost your immune system and keep the pain away is to adopt healthy-living strategies. Your first line of defense is choosing a healthy lifestyle. Here are the basics: 

• Don't smoke.

• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low in saturated fat.

• Exercise regularly.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Control your blood pressure.

• Drink only in moderation.

• Get adequate sleep.

• Take steps to avoid infection such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

In addition to eating seasonal well-balanced diet, here is a list of foods that can support your immune system.

It is clear medication is not always the solution. Moreover, the misuse of medication and adverse reactions are real problems affecting individuals today. Preventing the cold and flu is not our only problem today. It is time for us to be more proactive in preventing drug resistance and the spread of superbugs. 

So think twice before getting that antibiotic prescription... It is likely only benefiting the Pharma industry.