Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In your eyes...

Wednesday Apr 07, 2010

In your eyes...

...The light, the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
-Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes

Entertaining follow up to my pinkeye post...

For those of you who aren't Facebookers, you need a bit of background. On Monday, I posted a status update about my pinkeye predicament. The first reply was from a friend who informed me that breastmilk could be used as a treatment for pinkeye. I assumed she meant that if your baby gets pinkeye, it goes away faster if he's nursing. I jokingly reply something like, "So, am I supposed to squirt it in my eye? Ha Ha." A long string of smart@$$ comments ensues, with others agreeing that yes, I should squirt my child's milk into my own eye. Ewww, Ewww, EWWWWW.

But curiosity got the best of me, and I had to hit up my old friend Google. (We already established that he knows everything, right?) Well, it turns out that my friend wasn't so off-base. People - a lot of people- really DO use breastmilk, applied topically (!!), as a cure for pinkeye. Oh my. And of course, those people write about it on the Internet.

Okay, Google may know everything, but my husband was educated in the school of, "If it wasn't discovered in a double-blind study and published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, it's just internet ramblings." And a little skepticism is probably a good thing. So, off to PubMed we go. And, guess what? It's common practice in India and has been analyzed pretty extensively there.

So, the question I know you're all asking yourselves ... did she do it? And the answer is ... Well, no. I'm just can't get over the ick factor. Had I heard of this before going to the opthalmologist (and spending $55 on a tiny bottle of actual prescription eye drops!) I might have asked the doc his opinion on said treatment. As it is, I'm gonna stick to proven western medicine this time. I'm all for attempting harmless natural approaches, but I'm not sure about putting stuff, particularly bodily fluids, in my eye. Or I'm just not that crunchy.

Posted at 02:10PM Apr 07, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[16]

I'm with you! Hope the medicine works...and hope I can do the math.
Love you

Posted by Annie on April 07, 2010 at 02:49 PM EDT #

Oats and Groats mann Oats and Groats! Crunchy always wins the race! LOL! Susie
I think someone at NCSU blog library has been reading my complaints. My question is 1+4=

Posted by Susie Hoffman on April 07, 2010 at 09:18 PM EDT #

See! I told you I really did pay close attention in that breastfeeding class! Imagine my disappointment that THAT piece of knowledge is the only real useful information I got. ...and you wouldn't give it a try. :( On the other hand, if you decide to bottle some of your extra and sell it for $55 an ounce, I totally deserve a cut of the profits.

Posted by Amy G. on April 07, 2010 at 10:07 PM EDT #

Hey - here's a question that was weighing on me since your facebook post, but I didn't ask. You may need to bring in reinforcement, aka Derek.

Okay - so, we discovered that breastmilk (incidentally, my computer doesn't think breastmilk is a word...hmmm. Is it two words?) has antibiotic properties. We also discovered (from Other Ginger) that calves get pink eye quite frequently. So why isn't the antibiotic property in breastmilk (breast milk?) not in udder milk? (Okay - seriously - another question for Derek - "udder milk" can't be the correct term.) Especially will all the "half of the world's antibiotics go into cows" news you hear?

Posted by Ginger on April 08, 2010 at 02:11 PM EDT #

*with ... not "will"

Posted by Ginger on April 08, 2010 at 02:12 PM EDT #

Very good questions, Ginger! I don't think it's officially "udder milk" - I think just plain ol' milk. But I'm gonna let the hubs weigh in on that one. He's also got an hour long lecture on the antibiotic issue. Honey - care to respond?

Posted by Jen on April 09, 2010 at 07:40 AM EDT #

I'll try my best at Ginger's questions--we just call it milk. Occasionally we will use a species designation (sheep milk, goat milk, cow milk, etc.) if we need to differentiate for some reason.
Use of milk to treat pink eye--cow milk does have some antibiotic properties (not great hence pasteurization is needed) which might help with pink eye. More than anything, I bet it helps decrease some inflammation and improves healing (serum is sometimes used as eyedrops for this reason). The realities of treating cattle will keep this from ever being useful--eye meds are typically applied anywhere from twice a day to every 4-6 hours. Cows don't like their heads being messed with, so catching them and restraining them that many times is impractical. A single dose of systemic antibiotics will cure 95% of cases of pinkeye in cattle so that is what is routinely done.

Posted by Derek on April 09, 2010 at 09:45 AM EDT #

Half of world's antibiotics go to cows--short answer is nobody knows. The quoted numbers are extrapolated from some very wrong assumptions--they looked at all the antibiotics that can be used in food animals (not just cows) and assumed that they are all being used in all cases. I'm not giving a cow every antibiotic that is an option when it gets sick, I'm only using 1, not 15. So those numbers are an overestimate of what is actually used. As for the antibiotics in the milk, all milk is tested for drugs. Any time I prescribe a drug, I have to tell the farmer how long he must throw away the milk from that cow because the drug will be in the milk. If any drugs are found in the milk during milk processing at the bottling plant, it is traced back to the offending farm, and they will be punished (anywhere from a fine to no longer being able to sell milk). If I prescribed the antibiotic, I could be fined, lose my veterinary license, or go to jail. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Posted by Derek on April 09, 2010 at 10:23 AM EDT #

While we didn't treat pinkeye with it, breast milk did help with Grace's diaper rash (but not the antibiotic yeasty ones, for whatever reason). Other friends of mine swear that it helps with ear infections too, and while I did try to aim in her ear, it didn't seem to help, as her tubes attest. Hoping that the eye drops help and soon this is just a distant funny memory.

Posted by Erin on April 10, 2010 at 12:04 AM EDT #

So did the pinkeye transfer to one of those beautiful boys? Hope not, but was just rereading your prev post and got to wondering...
Love to you and yours,

Posted by Susie Hoffman on April 19, 2010 at 03:43 AM EDT #

Wow! Okay - when I just read your latest post (sorry your maternity leave is up!), it dawned on me "hey...I asked a breastmilk/cow question, and forgot to check back on it...wonder if they answered." And you did! THREE ANSWERS to be specific! Awesome!

And Derek - phew! When I was hearing that antibiotic stuff with the cows, I was thinking that they were getting antibiotics ALL THE TIME, just for nothing - like it had some "makes more milk" side effect or something. Your explanation makes me feel better about pouring that awesome skim over my Frosted Flakes! Thanks!

...I wonder why cows don't like to have their faces messed with... I bet if I had a cow, my cow would let me mess with its face. Did you know? I give my cat eye drops twice a day, every day! Cat - cow - practically the same thing, right?

Posted by Ginger on May 03, 2010 at 05:00 PM EDT #

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