Monday, November 19, 2012

Red dye 40-free Antibiotics

Baby E battled some kind of funk the last 3 weeks. We had 5 - oh yes, 5 - vomiting episodes in that time frame, snot galore, a decreased appetite, intermittent low-grade fevers, coughing. Lots and lots of coughing. And did I mention the 5 episodes of vomiting? I did?

Suffice to say, baby boy was not feeling well. And clearly his immune system was not taking care of this particular bug. So off to the pediatrician we went.

You should know that we're not big proponents of antibiotics (meds in general). I completely believe that early and repeated antibiotic use causes all kinds of problems, both for individuals and society as a whole (increases in asthma, increases in drug-resistant bugs, etc...). Also, our state was recently rated as being at the top of the list (nation-wide) for overuse of antibiotics. As in, we use tons more than most other states. Yay for us.

In the past when we've gone to the pediatrician with sick boys, she's often tried to get us to give the boys antibiotics, usually because of ear infections. Research I've read suggests that 90+% of ear infections resolve on their own without antibiotics (i.e. it's viral not bacterial thus antibiotics are ineffective). So, we've always politely refused the antibiotic, come back 5-7 days later and shown her the miraculous results of our child being  ear infection free. And, since the 2nd time that happened, she's backed off on the whole pushing antibiotics thing.

After examining baby E, the pediatrician still wasn't sure what was wrong. It didn't appear that he had an ear infection. She threw out that she'd like to treat it like a sinus infection. Which meant antibiotics.

Poor baby E had been miserable for so long, and showed no signs at all of even starting to feel better. So, I decided fill the script and actually give it to him. On the condition that she prescribe one that doesn't have Red 40 in it. Because, you know, it makes the kid crazy. And I'm pretty confident that it's just not something I want in either of my boys' systems. Yes, Dr Pediatrician, even if it doesn't affect baby E in quite that way.

The pediatrician, again, acted like she didn't know which meds don't have Red 40 in them. So I had to tell her. And I'm not sure how I feel about having to tell the MD what to prescribe my child. A bit unnerved that she didn't know. A bit empowered that I did.

At any rate, baby E finished his 10 day course of antibiotics last night. And I am beyond thrilled to tell you that he's back to his happy-and-into-everything-literally-climbing-up-the-walls self. Sometimes, just sometimes, the antibiotics are the right thing.

Today's Lesson:
One of my posts that often gets found through searches is this one in which I talk about how we hate Red dye 40 at my house. Often, people seem to be searching specifically for antibiotics in relation to red dye (based on their search terms). My assumption is that you're looking, like we were, for an antibiotic that doesn't have red 40 in it. I may be totally wrong about that of course, but it's the assumption I'm going off.

There are apparently only 2 antibiotics on the market approved for children (to take orally) that don't have Red dye 40 in them.  They are Omni.cef and Aug.mentin. And, apparently, they can make your child's poop red. Am I the only one who sees the irony of that?


Kelly said...

I had no idea that all of these reactions were even possible. Thanks for sharing, I'll be watching what my girl injests a little closer now.

Jessica said...

I'm with ya on all counts! We also try to avoid antibiotics, but sometimes it's just needed. And we also recently took up the "dye free" lifestyle. We had suspected dyes and additives were affecting our little guy for a while, but things became crystal clear after a certain blue jello incident;0 We then decided to dig in and research and try to remove/limit dyes, additives and sugar to see what would happen. What happened has been two months of pure bliss. Two months of hubby and I looking at each other and saying "whose kid IS this?". He is soooo much calmer, and so much more agreeable-it's really amazing to us. We have found dye free medicines too, which are becoming more available I think. We are definitely keeping this up!

Oh, and I know a thing or two about having to educate the doctor. My daughter has a rare immune cell disease that they unfortunately just barely touch on in medical school:) There are many times I think they should be paying ME.

Elizabeth said...

I am just sick about antibiotics- G was pumped full of them when he was 5 days old and in the hospital for dehydration- "just in case" he had an infection. UGH. We are as antibiotic free as we can be now, and really try and avoid dyes as much as possible. It's crazy how artificial almost everything available for consumption is.

Tava said...

We actually went through this today- and then found your blog! My son was prescribed Keflex and after I made a stink about the bright pink color, the doctor prescribed Cefdinir (Omnicef). I'm sure it's still full of artificial flavor, but at least we won't send my son into a tail spin for ten days with the Red 40. When will our country catch up with the others who have banned this crap!?