The ever expanding world of microflora (and a little on antibiotics and illnesses too!)

The ever expanding world of microflora (and a little on antibiotics and illnesses too!)

Wow!  We've known about gut flora for a while

But check out this new article in the New York Times about the role of placental microflora in shaping the health of newborns. Pretty great, especially for moms who have had their babes via c-section and worry about the implications of their little ones missing out on the flora filled passage through the vaginal canal.

On the other hand, with all this information about how important our microflora is we all have one more HUGE reason to really stop and ask ourselves if treating an illness with antibiotics is worth it. (to be clear, I am in no way anti antibiotics, I just think most people take them far too quickly and readily under the incorrect assumption that they need them to get better and that they will help them get better faster*  See below for data on what the research actually supports!

And for the hard core human microflora enthusiast, here's the How Stuff Works link to a little gem of a procedure called a Fecal Transplant. I know, I know... it sounds gross and it is gross, but it is also sort of brilliant. And with places like the Mayo Clinic touting it's borderline miraculous cure rate for reoccuring c dif infections and lots of other great research being done on other major digestive diseases, this may be the first place you've heard of it, but I can almost guarantee it won't be the last.  

*The following are from the website The Number Needed to Treat (which is a cool website that reviews the scientific evidence on whether a specific treatment is actually worth the risk of the side effects and what data supports as best practice.

Antibiotics and acute sinus infections do antibiotics actually help?
Antibiotics and bronchitis do antibiotics actually help? 
Antibiotics and ear infections do antibiotics actually help?

I think we really just need a dose of realistic expectations on how long illnesses really last:

 from: http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/01/fridge-post-how-long-kids-bugs-last

from: http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/01/fridge-post-how-long-kids-bugs-last

The 90-percent mark for common respiratory illnesses indicates how long they can be expected to last: By this number of days, 9 out of 10 untreated children get better. Caution: Patients with severe or worrying symptoms should be examined even if still within the typical duration. (Source: BMJ, “Duration of Symptoms of Respiratory Tract Infections In Children: Systematic Review.)