antibioticsAny parent knows healthy eating is a lot harder than giving into the junky snack food your kids crave. The latest industry headline just made things a lot more challenging. For years now, we’ve heard about the dangers of taking too many antibiotics and even consuming antibiotic-laden meat. But if the food is organic or free-range, you’re in the clear, right? Wrong.

The Situation

Let’s start from the top. Antibiotics can be life-saving medical treatments that promote public health. But on the other end of the spectrum, too many antibiotics can diminish immunity to life-threatening illnesses.

Each year there are 23,000 fatalities caused by antibiotic-resistant infections. That’s a lot.

Of those suffering from antibiotic-resistant infections, children under five years old were the most-affected demographic. In many cases, their underdeveloped immune systems make this especially concerning.

Things to Know

So, you have restricted your family’s antibiotic use to times when this type of medical intervention is really needed. Overexposure to antibiotics could remain an invisible threat, though. But how?

Chances are antibiotic-laden meat remains lurking in your fridge and on menus at restaurants. In some cases, even buying the free-range, all-natural, or organic varieties doesn’t guarantee the food is antibiotic-free.

The result of this reality isn’t a surprising one. Reuters Health cautions, “Overuse of antibiotics in animal feed is making it harder for doctors to treat life-threatening infections in young children, a report from U.S. pediatricians warns.”

The Solution

Although it’s nearly impossible –and not advisable– to completely avoid exposure to antibiotics, there are some extra precautions parents can take as they feed their children.

Looking for antibiotic-free food labels and asking your local restaurants and food suppliers to provide these alternatives is a start. Thoroughly cooking food is also important. For more child-specific advice, be sure to consult your family physician.

Keeping your kids healthy and strong isn’t easy, but it’s easier when you know the right measures to take.