your Miraloma Life … online – March 2005

    • Neighborhood Wide Garage Sale
    • 20 Percent of Front Setback to be Green
    • History of Miraloma Park
    • www.miralomapark.org
    • Dear Miraloma Park Neighbor:
    • Lower Mt. Davidson Park Projects
    • Apathy: A Social Disease
    • Miraloma Park Residential Guidelines on Line
    • DESIGN MATTERS
    • Priority for Elderly at Laguna Honda
    • San Francisco’s Many Creeks
    • Miraloma Life Newsletter Carriers Needed
    • Robert Bechtle at SFMOMA
    • Inevitably – A News Poem
    • Coming NERT Activities
    • Know When Antibiotics Work

    Neighborhood Wide Garage Sale

    Saturday, May 14, 9 am – 3 am

    by Sue Kirkham

    Get busy cleaning out your closets and garage in preparation for the neighborhood wide garage sale in Miraloma Park on May 14. A number of Miraloma Park residents have already signed up. Participants will use their own garage to feature their items for sale. Closer to the event a list of participating addresses will be posted at the www.miralomapark.org website, and a hard copy of addresses will be made available at several locations in Miraloma Park and environs .

    In an on-going effort to serve the neighborhood, the Miraloma Park Improvement Club will advertise and promote the neighborhood wide garage sale, expecting to attract good attendance due to the number of participating homes.

    There will be no charge for participating and there will be a party at the Clubhouse at the end of the event. Music, food and good company will be provided.

    Given the expected number of participants, we would expect to have good attendance. Thus, you should be able to move out your treasurers, and fatten your wallet.

    We encourage each of our over 2,000 households in Miraloma Park to participate in offering their treasures to one another and to other San Franciscans and to people who will travel to our community from all over the world for this event.

    To sign up please call or e-mail Sue Kirkham at 415-229-1297 or info@suekirkham.com

    Please provide your name, address and a brief description of the goods for sale.

    Watch the Miraloma Life for updates.

     

    City Enforces Law Requiring 20 Percent of Front Setback to be Green

    by Dan Liberthson

    In recent years, the City of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved legislation that forbids homeowners to concrete in their entire front yard or setback. City Ordinance 219.02 amends Sections 132 and 136 of the Planning Code to require that 20 percent of the required setback area remain unpaved and devoted to plant material. The legislation, originally proposed by Supervisor Sandoval, is intended to prevent front yards from becoming parking lots, and to enhance the character and value of San Francisco neighborhoods by requiring a substantial portion of greenery in front of City homes. All over the City, front yards were being paved over in increasing numbers, and this legislation was an attempt to address the problem. In Miraloma Park, front gardens and greenery are one of the most attractive features of our streets, and any good realtor will tell you that a nice front garden adds to the value of a home, whereas a concrete space detracts from property values. The Miraloma Park Improvement Club applauds Supervisor Sandoval’s initiative, the Board of Supervisors for approving it, and the Department of Building Inspection for enforcing it. We all benefit from this law, and those who try to ignore it risk fines for work done without a permit and face the requirement of remedying their violation by re-exposing 20 percent of the front yard and replanting it with greenery. For the sake of the value of your home and the pleasant atmosphere of your neighborhood, the MPIC asks that all Miraloma Park homeowners comply with this law, and if possible decorate even more than 20 percent of their front sebacks with a garden. You and all your neighbors will be winners!

     

    History of Miraloma Park

    Editor’s Note: This History of Miraloma Park appeared several years ago in Miraloma Life. There has been a great call for repeating it. It is fascinating for long term residents and newcomers alike. There will be 4 installments. We hope you will enjoy it and send comments, additions, reminiscences, etc.

    by Rosalie Kuwatch

    As a midwestern transplant, I am like most non-natives who must satisfy their curiosity about the history of this city with the colorful world-wide reputation, the famous San Francisco. It had not occurred to me to study my own neighborhood, a suburb within a city, Miraloma Park. Its roots in the nineteenth century are not as obvious as those of areas where Victorian houses predominate, areas that say “This is San Francisco.”

    This is a neighborhood that is only a half-century old in spite of its many Spanish colonial style roofs. Those Spanish tile roofs are, however, reflection of a romantic past that goes back to 1835, when California was part of Mexico.

    After Independence from Spain, Mexico broke the restrictive ties of the Church and secularized all the missions. The soldiers then quartered at the Presidio enjoyed the highest social status and were rewarded for their services with land grants of what came to be called the Ex-Mission Dolores.

    “Estancias” were cattle ranches in regions of poor soil where grazing was the most profitable enterprise. Parcels of land for large herds were to be approximately 4400 acres! José Jesus Noé, an ex-soldier, petitioned for a grant for his family and large herd of cattle. The 4443-acre San Miguel Rancho was granted to him in 1845 by Governor Pio Pico. The land stretched from the Pacific Ocean east to Twin Peaks and four miles to the south including the Mission Hills. Noé became the last “alcalde” of San Francisco under Mexico rule.

    The next owner of San Miguel Rancho was a wealthy Frenchman from Peru, Francois Pioche, who arrived in 1847. He was a banker and money lender who speculated in land. He and his partner, J.B. Baylique, lent money on mortgages at three percent per month interest. He had a house on Stockton Street between Sacramento and Clay Streets where he gave lavish parties. At one time he brought forty French chefs from France to San Francisco to improve the cuisine in the many restaurants which catered to the mostly male population.

    While Pioche was adding to his land holdings via defaulted mortgages, Adolph Sutro was digging a tunnel through the Comstock Lode, building a silver empire. When Sutro’s partners squeezed him out of active management, he sold his stock and started buying San Francisco real estate.

    His first purchase in 1881 was 1400 acres of the San Miguel Rancho. This parcel included not only Blue Mountain (now Mt. Davidson) but Twin Peaks which he named Mt. Parnassus. It would later become known as Mt. Sutro.  Most of the land Sutro bought was sandy waste and its uninhabited acres stretched all the way to the ocean. Sutro was considered a fool for buying wasteland. Undaunted, he set up a nursery to test grasses and eventually found those that could survive in the sandy soil and strong winds. In early 1880, he hired school children and unemployed laborers to plant pine and eucalyptus trees on what was then ten percent of San Francisco. Within twenty years Mt. Sutro and Blue Mountain were covered by man-made forests.

    In 1911, Blue Mountain was renamed Mt. Davidson in honor of George Davidson who had measured many geographical features of California for the U.S. Geodetic Coast survey in 1852. Easter sunrise services were held for the first time in 1923 under a wooden cross and have continued every year without interruption. There were four separate wooden crosses erected for the services and later dismantled to form a great bonfire. In 1934, the colossal 103-foot concrete cross was built with funds from many subscribers and school children. There is a copper “time capsule” in the base of the cross in which was placed an 1848 and a 1934 edition of the Bible, stones from the Garden of Gethsemane, water from the River Jordan, San Francisco City directory and telephone directory of 1933, and issues of all the leading newspapers of 1934. On March 24, 1934 at 7:30 p.m. PST, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a gold key in Washington, DC and sent electricity over telegraph wires lighting the cross for the first time. The cross is lit by twelve 1000 watt floodlights and can be seen far out to sea.

    About once a year the U.S. Geological Survey measures distances between Mt. Davidson and other hills around the bay. A small metal disk has been planted on each hill. Using a helicopter equipped with laser instruments that record temperature and humidity, the distances are measured to an accuracy of one-third inch. Study of the changes has been useful in determining movements of the San Andreas and other faults in the Bay Area.

    Over the years the lights on Mt. Davidson have been vandalized and subsequently repaired several times, motor bikes have worn ruts in the park and litter is an ongoing problem in spite of the vigilance of residents and MPIC members.

    The west side of the green-forested mountain was purchased by Baldwin and Howell from Adolph Sutro’s daughters several years after their father died in 1898. The new owners organized the Residential Development Company to manage the land and build trails through the forest along the sides of the mountain.

    After the opening of the Twin Peaks Tunnel in 1917, residential development began. During the 1920’s many of Sutro’s trees were chopped down and burned. The western and southern slopes were built up with thousands of homes in Westwood Park and Westwood Highlands, the districts between St. Francis Wood and what was to become Miraloma Park.

    As development threatened to cover the mountain, Madie D. Brown began a campaign to have the city turn it into a park. With the support of the PTA and the Federation of Women’s Clubs, she convinced the city to buy 25 acres. Baldwin and Howell donated six acres and the city purchased another 20 acres. Mt. Davidson Park was dedicated on December 20, 1929.

    George Davidson became president of the California Academy of Sciences in 1871 and held that office for 16 years. During the time that Mt. Davidson Park was being purchased and dedicated, other areas of the Sutro estate were being developed. There was already an active West of Twin Peaks Council made up of representatives of improvement clubs in every subdivision in the district which acted on all matters of general interest to the new homemakers who were moving away from the growing congestion of the central city.

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors began to be concerned about the rapid expansion into new areas of the city and felt that it should be controlled by a plan. Following the example of New York, where city zoning was first established in 1916, a planning commission was appointed in San Francisco in 1917. Their first assignment was to coordinate the various nuisance ordinances of the city code into a more defined plan for land use control. When the task was accomplished in 1921, there were five types of zones established for residential, commercial and industrial use.

    While the zone plan was being worked out by the city, Baldwin and Howell were incorporating certain covenants and restrictions into the deeds as homes were sold in Westwood Park and Westwood Highlands on the south and west slopes. Restrictions regarding noxious commercial use, signs, livestock, guinea pigs, chickens, fences, factories and the prohibition of other “nuisances” were spelled out in detail.

    Ownership was limited to members of the Caucasian race. Persons of African, Japanese, Chinese and other Asian descent were excluded. Such restrictions were included in al deeds of residential neighborhoods. In the days before city planning, developers and homeowners signed such covenants in order to maintain property values. Before 1950 race restrictions int he sale of certain residential properties were nation-wide. It was a Federal Housing Authority requirement for loan guarantees in order to maintain the value of homes. Prejudices were so strong that one black family could depreciate the value of an entire block. After 1950 the regulation was declared unenforceable, but it was still a matter of public record by remaining in the county records. In 1970, the US Attorney General declared publication of racial restrictions illegal but it did not wipe out old records.

    The new zone plan and racial restriction were in force in 1925 when Meyer Bros. bought the east slope of Mt. Davidson from the Sutro estate. They bought another 1650 home sites from Wells Fargo and Company for a total of 208 acres to meet their goal of a planned community of 2000 homes.

     

    www.miralomapark.org

    The Miraloma Park Improvement Club website discussion page is back on line thanks to webmaster Ron Proctor. You can now post messages of importance or interest to the community or reply to messages or announcements others have posted.

    Has your opinion changed or remained the same about Tower Market becoming Mollie Stone’s? How do you feel about Teresita Traffic? How do you feel about the terrific mess installing the new water pipes on Teresita is causing ? What do you think about people leaving their garbage cans out in front of their house all week? Or storing broken down cars for months? Have you seen dog owners who pick up their dog’s feces, place them in a plastic bag and then throw the bag on your lawn or under your car? Has anyone seen the Miraloma Park coyote lately?

    Let your neighbors know your thoughts by accessing www.miraloma park.org.

    For those of you who attended the holiday party, there are many more pictures on the website than could be printed in the January Miraloma Life. Log on and see yourself.

     

    Dear Miraloma Park Neighbor:

    We invite you to become a member of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC) or to renew your membership for the coming year. Here are just some of the benefits of membership:

      • Miraloma Life Newsletter
      • MiralomaPark.org website.
        Miraloma Park Improvement Clubhouse (can be rented)
      • Preservation of the Architectural Character of Miraloma Park
      • Miraloma Park Residential Guidelines
        A Neighborhood Free of Graffiti (active anti-graffiti committee)
      • A Safer Neighborhood (constant contact and excellent rapport with Ingleside station and Captain Chignell.)
        Community Forums on Political Issues and Candidates
      • Opportunities to Meet Your Neighbors
      • Lectures on Wildlife, History, Trees, Architecture
      • Holiday Party and Other Social Events

       

      Lower Mt. Davidson Park Projects Face Latest Financing Scheme

      by Andrea O’Leary

      For those wondering whatever came of the Sunnyside Playground and Sunnyside Conservatory renovation plans, the answer is “not much!”

      Last year, the Board of Supervisors approved a revenue bond of $21+ Million to cover capital renovations for ten projects previously put on hold because of spending overruns on other park projects. Now the Mayor’s Controllers Office is suggesting those bonds not be sold yet in order for the City to defer interest payments of about $2M; and instead re-appropriate General Obligation bond money (2000 Proposition A initiative to renovate neighborhood parks) from projects not ready to go into construction mode but still sitting on money.

      Then, the logic goes, once those larger, more design, engineering or environmental review intensive projects are ready to proceed, the bonds can be sold. With approval of this move by the Rec. & Park Commission (mid-February) and the Board of Supervisors (early March), and if the projects on lower Mt. Davidson make the upper half of the “priority list,” they could possible receive funding to move forward sooner instead of waiting for more favorable bond selling conditions.

      Criteria for staying at the top of the list will depend on how further along competing projects are. Some have grant deadlines; others have already completed design, community input and construction drawings. Because numerous projects will be ready to go simultaneously and only limited Rec. & Park Planning Division and Dept. of Public Works designing staff to work on them, projects would still have to queue-up for completion.

      If this latest funding scheme is implemented, an early summer 2005 Rec. & Park sponsored community meeting should be scheduled on the kid’s playground apparatus layout; construction drawings to follow and request for contractor bids by early winter, and ground breaking by Spring 2006; a full year later than what was expected to be the last delay.

      In the meantime, the Parks Committee of neighboring Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) has begun fundraising planning to add to either the limited money pot or to select a specific apparatus for the kid’s playground. Tax exempt donations can be sent to: SNA, “Kids Playground Fund,” P.O. Box 27615, S.F. 94127.

      Apathy: A Social Disease

      The MPIC Safety Committee

      Burglaries are relatively uncommon in Miraloma Park, but one burglary is too many if you are the victim. Last fall, a Miraloma Park home was burglarized while the next door neighbor watched the entire process. A man rang the doorbell and when there was no response went to the back of the house. He gained entry by prying off a window screen. Assisted by an accomplice in a pickup, the two efficiently removed items from the house one by one. Why didn’t the neighbor who witnessed the entire incident phone police?

      We all know stories like this one. Someone sees a suspicious occurrence. It might be a person ringing doorbells on an implausible pretext or groups of youth congregating in a park area at night. No one calls police to check out the situation. Why not? Common responses to this question are 1) fear of appearing foolish if the suspicious occurrence turns out to be of no importance, 2) fear that the police won’t respond, so reporting the incident would be pointless, and 3) fear of retaliation.

      Let’s consider each. 1) Over and over again, we have heard police officers emphasize that they would rather respond to a call and find nothing wrong, than that someone be victimized because a suspicious occurrence went unreported. 2) Police respond to all calls for service. Calls are prioritized according to the seriousness of the danger reported, so response times vary according to the priority assigned.

      But they will respond. MPIC advocates actively for ongoing police presence in the neighborhood as well as for targeted enforcement, including passing calls where needed. In addition, police services are allocated according to the frequency of reports, so even after having seen something suspicious—someone walking through the neighborhood trying car doors, say—it’s still a good idea to call the non-emergency number (553-0123) and report the incident. 3) In the April issue of the Miraloma Life Captain Paul Chignell’s will write about how anonymous calls to police are handled and how all efforts are made to protect you from retaliation.

      Please remember that a decision not to call police about a suspicious occurrence could affect someone else’s safety, as well as our own, and that the high quality of life that we enjoy in Miraloma Park is the result of the responsibility that we as neighbors take for each other and for the neighborhood as a whole.

      Miraloma Park Residential Guidelines on Line

      The Miraloma Park Residential Guidelines were adopted in 1999 by the City Planning Commission to promote preservation of neighborhood character by encouraging residential design compatible with neighborhood setting.

      Residential Design Guidelines can facilitate the complex and often frustrating process of permit application and design review and can prevent costly and time-consuming Discretionary Review proceedings. The Guidelines are available at www.miralomapark.org.

       

      DESIGN MATTERS

      Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architect

      This is a monthly column addressing basic residential design and home improvement topics of interest to Miraloma Park residents. If you have a question or topic you’d like considered in Miraloma Life, please send an email to: pazdesignmatters@aol.com.

      Q: High-end? Low-end? Or a means to an end?

      A: Depends…but in general spend the extra money on the high use items, items that are difficult or costly to replace later, and on special features or items that just make you feel good.

      Most people who are involved in a remodel project need to ask themselves this question several times as product and material selections are made. It’s a rare client that just says ‘give me the best’ without having to be concerned about blowing a budget. When you can spend $20 or $2,000 on a faucet you have to decide where you want to spend your money and where your money is best spent.

      One of the best ways to control your construction costs is to specify or select your fixtures, finishes and materials before you have a contractor give you a bid. When the materials and fixtures are not specified your contractor will usually plug an allowance into their bid. An allowance is an estimated dollar amount until the exact item is specified. An allowance requires your contractor to guess at what you want.

      The trouble with an allowance is you may select products that cost more than the allowance in the bid. This makes the overall project costs creep up. However, when you pre-plan and make selections before you begin construction both you and your contractor know what the actual costs are and it helps keep the final project cost closer to the initial bid.

      When should you spend the extra money? Spend it when it makes you happy. If there is something you will regret not having when the work is finished, try and get it. There is probably somewhere else less important or critical where a compromise can be made in order to afford something you really want. Try and get something ‘special’ into your remodel that makes it personal to you.

      Another reason to go ‘high-end’ is simply because you can. If the budget is not a primary concern and you want something unique, of high quality, and want the additional peace of mind that usually comes from going ‘top of the line’, then do so. If you are going for a specific look, or want something that is particularly unique or has a distinct style you often have to spend more money. Sure, there are many ways to get a specific look or style more affordably, but the more affordable a product is the more common it often is.

      Warranties, performance, durability, functionality, and available options are other reasons to go ‘high-end’. Here you have to weigh the added benefits against the cost increases. Compare different brands and models within a brand. The little extras often come at a premium.

      When should you go ‘low-end’? You should not make “low-end” your goal. Preferably think in terms of “low cost” and “good value”. Good design is arguably more important in small budget projects than large budget projects. Color, pattern, and organization become more important. There are hundreds of affordable finish options available. Again pre-planning can save you money here too. If you know what you need you might be able to find remnant bargains or affordable unique fixtures at one of the large salvage stores like Omega Salvage or Urban Ore in Berkeley.

      Another reason you hear people going ‘low-end’ is because they are planning on a quick sale. Before you do this I’d recommend speaking with your real estate agent about what needs to be fixed. Sometimes a cheap or poorly done remodel will actually detract from the homes appeal and market value.

      A means to an end? This is the category where most people fall. They need more space or need to remodel something that doesn’t meet their needs. They don’t want to move and have resources that they’d rather not have to spend, but need to. For this group I’d recommend upgrading items you use everyday and that need to last. For example kitchen cabinets are something that makes your day to day life better. If they don’t last or the hardware stops working properly you will end up spending more fixing the problem than you would have upgrading the quality to begin with. It’s also recommended to update your electrical and plumbing if you open up a wall or floor. Spend the money on the ‘bones’ of the house and add upgraded finishes and fixtures later as funds become available.

      ARCHI-TECH TALK: Allowance: A dollar value for an item that has not been specified.
      USEFUL RESOURCES: www.homeportfolio.com A really good site to window shop before heading to the showrooms.

       

      Priority for Elderly at Laguna Honda

      Mayor Gavin Newsom has directed Dr. Mitch Katz, San Francisco Public Health Director, to return to the original Laguna Honda policy concerning admissions. Priority for admission will once again be given to the elderly and disabled. For the past 11 months over 75 percent of admissions to Laguna Honda was from San Francisco General. This saved the city money since it is cheaper to house patients at Laguna Honda than in a full care hospital like the General. Residents and medical staff complained, however, that a significant number of these patients were mentally ill or had a history of violent behavior and/or drug problems and were dangerous to the elderly population. Most importantly, San Franciscans believe that Laguna Honda exists to take care of the elderly and not to save the city money. A sincere Thank you to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd who helped accomplish this return to priority for the elderly.

      San Francisco’s Many Creeks

      by Kathy Rawlins

      There are only two free-running, above-ground creeks in San Francisco, Islais Creek in Glen Canyon Park and Lobos Creek in the Presidio. However, in the rainy months of the year all of the underground creeks overflow their hidden beds and rise to show us how many active, underground, natural waterways there are.

      Mount Davidson is home to many uncharted underground creeks, which are quite visible as the saturated hillsides bring seepage into garages, bubbling out of the streets, and cascading down stairways. Our drainage system, which handles both runoff from rain and sewage together, quickly fills, clogs, and overflows as the hidden streams dump additional runoff into them.

      The increasing ground saturation gives employment opportunities to plumbers, landscape repair companies, and gardeners. It also brings the household handyman to the neighborhood hardware store for tarps, cement sealers, and other supplies to stem the tide.

      The MPIC is well aware of one year-round stream that for several decades dripped onto the land at the back of the MPIC Clubhouse, at O’Shaughnessy & Del Vale. It was such a constant presence that the Clubhouse began to settle into the softened soil and now has a permanent slant.

      Fortunately, the native stream was contained and harnessed in 1996 by a pipeline and used to water the California Native Plant Garden at the front of the Clubhouse on O’Shaughnessy. So we have a native stream watering our native garden!

      In our neighborhood, we find that houses built with a hill behind them end up with water rolling out of garages, and sometimes sewage overflowing the drains into the gutters. It is some consolation to know that Hayes Creek sometimes seeps into the San Francisco Symphony Hall, keeping pumps there running 24 hours a day to keep the Hall dry.

      So next time you are sitting in traffic on Teresita waiting for your turn to go around all the huge tractors and sewer pipes currently being installed, you might think again of our never-ending struggle to control Nature. Or of Nature’s way of manipulating us into co-existence.

      Miraloma Life Newsletter Carriers Needed

      by Dan Liberthson

      The MPIC is seeking applications from neighborhood residents who are interested in delivering the Miraloma Life. These positions are ideal for schoolchildren 12 to 18 years old and also for physically robust retired people. Each carrier delivers the Miraloma Life to approximately 500 to 600 homes in Miraloma Park once a month (at the end of the month) except during July and August. The job takes an average of 3 to 4 hours and payment is $50. The carrier must be reliable, able to follow instructions, and able to walk substantial distances. All interested parties please leave your contact information on our tape at 281-0892 or apply in writing to our address (MPIC, 350 ’Shaughnessy, SF, 94127). Please address your message or correspondence to Gary Isaacson, Newsletter Coordinator.

       

      Robert Bechtle at SFMOMA

      by JoAnn Eastep

      On February 12, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opened a new exhibition, Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective. This exhibit presents examples of the artist’s lifework and includes drawings, paintings, watercolors and charcoals. Bechtle was born in San Francisco, grew up in Oakland and Alameda and presently lives on Potrero Hill. The show is extremely interesting for Bay Area residents since Bechtle’s work features numerous scenes from the neighborhoods of our area.

      Bechtle is a photo realist. His paintings are based on photographs but are maneuvered in paint to produce whatever aspect of the scene the artist wants to portray. There are 90 works in the show ranging from the early 1960s to the present, allowing us to watch the artist’s work mature and change. Some of the early works show his first wife, automobiles (of which he painted many), houses and family scenes.

      The later works still feature automobiles but the emphasis has changed to the streets and lights and shadows. Portraits of himself and his wife, Whitney Chadwick, are among the most beautiful works in the show. The exhibit will be at SFMOMA until June 5.

      Inevitably – A News Poem

      by Stan Andersen

      No matter how
      CO~2 emissions
      Begin diminishing
      Now for fifty or
      A hundred years

      As ice melts
      Seas will rise,
      Penguins and
      Polar bears
      Will drown.

      We on the shores
      Will move
      Into the uplands
      And watch
      The rising seas.

       

      Coming NERT Activities

      Trained Neighborhood Emergency Response Team members are invited to participate in a “mini-drill” exercise on Saturday morning, February 26 from 9 AM to 12 AM. We’ll meet in Golden Gate Park near the County Fair Building. This exercise is intended mainly to practice organizing an Incident Command for the neighborhood. Bring your ham radio if you have one. These mini-drills are brief and always lots of fun.

      Also, the annual big “City-Wide Drill” will be held on Saturday, April 16. This is the “big one”, when NERT and all the other city emergency preparedness organizations combine for an intensive morning drill. Our NERT team will have a meeting before then to review plans and skills before the drill.

      Meanwhile, keep an eye on www.sfgov.org/sfnert for the latest update. Contact your NERT Coordinators, Gary Isaacson (585-9729) or Phil Laird (469-0876), for information or to join the NERT team.

       

      Know When Antibiotics Work

      Editor’s Note: The following article was reprinted with permission from a publication of the Center for Self Care at the School of Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco.

      FACT: If medicines called antibiotics are not used properly or used when they are not needed, bacteria can mutate and develop resistance to the antibiotics. Then these medicines may no longer help us.

      FACT: This is a big problem, and is a major public health threat within hospitals and communities, wherever antibiotics are used.

      FACT: Antibiotics only work against infections caused by bacteria, not infections caused by viruses.

      FACT: Illnesses that are caused by viruses are: colds, flu (or influenza). An illness caused by bacteria is strep throat.

      FACT: Public health officials are asking us all to know when antibiotics work, and to know when and how to use them.

      In which illness are antibiotics needed ?

      Cold    No
      Flu      No

      Chest cold (in otherwise healthy children & adults) No
      Sore Throats (except strep throat) No
      Bronchitis (in otherwise healthy children & adults) No
      Runny Nose (with green or yellow mucus) No
      Fluid in Middle Ear (otitis media with effusion) No

      What You Can Do to Help Check Antibiotic Resistance?

      • Don’t insist on an antibiotic when your doctor says one is not right for you. Ask how to relieve your symptoms.

      • Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection such as a cold, a cough, or the flu.

      • Take medicine exactly as your health-care provider prescribes. If he or she prescribes an antibiotic, take it all until it is gone, even if you’re feeling better.

      • Don’t take leftover antibiotics, and don’t take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. These antibiotics may not be right for your current symptoms. Taking the wrong medicine could delay getting the right medicine and may allow bacteria to multiply.

      For more information : selfcare@itsa.ucsf.edu

      See also: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/community/