"I was antibiotics shamed."

Alissa Warren.


I’m a victim of the latest shame campaign.

Med-shaming. And I’m a glad recipient of the title.

For one week, the five people that make up my family have been taking antibiotics. All of us. Me, my husband and our three kids.

But that confession has been met with rather disapproving faces over the past few days because for many parents, antibiotics are a big no no.

“So”, laughed one friend, “it sounds like your family alone might be responsible for the antibiotic-resistant bugs”.

There have been a few reports in the media recently about antibiotics resistance. It’s the name given to what happens when bacteria somehow survives after continually being exposed to antibiotics.

And this is why some parents are scared. They think that if you take too many antibiotics, they won’t work anymore.

Last week, a report compiled for the Federal Health Department claimed the latest jump in antibiotic resistance across Australia could leave doctors with fewer treatment options.

Professor Turnidge, who carried out the research said the rise in antibiotic resistance might not be slow because “it creeps along at a fairly low level for a while but then it creeps up and then all of a sudden it takes a big upswing, even if we don’t change anything”.

This information makes me worried. And with careful consideration, I respect it. I trust it.

“Have we forgotten that sick people need medicine? And that’s okay?”

But my family is sick. S-I-C-K. Ear infections, blocked sinus’, croup. I won’t bore you with the details. Because this is all you need to know – we’re all medicated. And we’re all GETTING BETTER.


So, I ask you this: have we become so concerned about the big picture that we’ve forgotten about our own little picture?

Have we forgotten that sick people need medicine? And that’s okay? In fact, that it’s more than okay, it’s actually life-saving? And that mothers shouldn’t feel they’re letting the world down if their sick child needs medicine to get well?

I’ll admit, there was a time when I’d prefer to soldier on. I’d have sick children for weeks, even months. I’d wait until they were vomiting like a pirate, eating like a bird and blowing their nose, eyes and ears all at once before taking them to the doctor. I was worried we’d overdosed on the meds after I realised we’d been to the GP eight times between April and August.

The proof was right in front me, a mountain of Medicare forms sitting on my desk. Judging me. So I took some time out from the Doc. Only to realise (about six months later) that my increased visits was due to our sons first exposure to a wonderful germ-festering pool of ruthless bacteria also known as PRE-SCHOOL. Conjunctivitis, impetigo and ear infections x 5.

It was a big season. Never to be repeated.

In the past week, my family have gone from completely miserable to normal, functioning people. With a concoction of different medications at different strengths, doses and quantities, we’re well.


So, if the Sick Fairy has generously sprinkled dust on your house this week, this is my message to you: go to the doctor and if they give you antibiotics you shouldn’t feel guilty about dishing them out.

Permission granted to look after your family, shamelessly.

Have you been ‘antibiotic shamed’?

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