The ABCs of using antibiotics

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

I know I'm tiptoeing on some controversial ground here, BUT HEAR ME OUT before you discard this post as another antibiotic-hating-herb-only-loving post.


WHAT ARE ANTIBIOTICS:

  • Antibiotics should actually be called antibacterials because that's what they are.

  • And "biotics" refer to anything related to a living organism - which are also bacteria which is where it gets a little blurry.

  • So, an antibiotic is a medication used to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.

  • There are broad-spectrum antibiotics, and narrow-spectrum antibiotics and I'm sure a whole lot more! I'm not an expert here so I'm only going to tell you what I definitely know.


WHY DO ANTIBIOTICS GET SUCH A BAD REP?


Excellent question!


  • Of late, antibiotics have been getting a lot of negativity and a lot of people are profusely against antibiotic use.

  • Unfortunately, we have a huge problem of antibiotic over-prescription - basically antibiotics being prescribed for infections OTHER than bacterial ones.

  • This makes no sense.

  • I know of many people who have been prescribed antibiotics for the flu... the flu is caused by a virus (influenza virus) which doesn't have a place to be treated by antibiotics. Perhaps there was a fear of a secondary bacterial infection but it's unnecessary to just take an antibiotic.

  • You have your own army, you know, and its job is literally just to protect you! HELLO IMMUNE SYSTEM.

  • The issue with antibiotics is that, generally, you get given a broad-spectrum antibiotic which ends up killing the good bacteria in your body too! The ones that set up camp in your gut and are happy and keep your body well-functioning.

  • But back to over prescription of antibiotics - by taking antibiotics when we don't need it (ie, not with a bacterial infection), we can end up creating antibiotic resistant bacteria which means that infections once easily treated are now not so easy to treat.

  • Over-use of antibiotics and misuse (including the above but also not finishing a course of antibiotics, or sharing antibiotics) can also lead to antibiotic resistance.

  • Antibiotics aren't "just a safe, low-key drug". They really should only be prescribed when necessary.

Okay... so now how come this is a blog post?


Well, as I sit here and write this, I'm half-way through my 5-day course of antibiotics.


*SHOCK! HORROR! WHAT?*


It's called being responsible. I have a sinus infection and a slight UTI - both of which are caused by bacteria, and both of which happen to me when I don't look after myself well enough. I haven't been sleeping enough, I've let a lot of stress get to me unnecessarily and I've potentially been exercising inappropriately for my body's capabilities.


BUT, I'm not just taking what my amazing GP prescribed - she will only prescribe antibiotics when absolutely necessary - I'm supporting my body by taking olive leaf extract daily, a high dose of probiotics and N-Acetylcysteine (the ingredient in ACC200), as well as eating very nourishing foods, cutting out dairy where I can, and taking it easy!


There are herbal/nutraceutical alternatives to antibiotics but each practitioner/doctor of whatever modality needs to know his/her limitations. If I cannot be responsible when it comes to my own health, how can I advise others on their health?


So, to sum up:

A - always use probiotics at least 2 hours away from antibiotics.

B - bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.

C - colds and flu are viruses and shouldn't treated with antibiotics.

D - decide that you want to be responsible about your health, therefore, antibiotics too.

E - echinacea is an amazing antimicrobial herb which is useful in keeping your immune system happy.

F - five days is the average period of time of an antibiotic course.

G - get your own course of antibiotics if need be, don't share!

H - help your body in building immune support ESPECIALLY when taking antibiotics.

I - invest in your health so that severity and frequency of illness is less.

J - "just take an antibiotic" is not a thing!

K - kick illness out the way by seeking treatment at first signs of symptoms. This may help you prevent a need for antibiotics or heavier drugs.

L - look carefully at the different symptoms you have so you can accurately describe to your doctor what's going on.

M - mucous colour should be checked when you blow your nose.

N - nasal lavage is a great non-pharmacological way to to aid any sinus related illness.

O - only use antibiotics prescribed to you.

P - prevention is better than cure - keep your immune system happy!

Q - question whether you have a bacterial infection before taking antibiotics.

R - remember to finish your course.

S - saving an antibiotic for the "next time you're sick" is a huge no-no.

T - take medication as prescribed by your healthcare practitioner - there is always a reason.

U - understand your illness before just taking what's prescribed (with any modality of medicine!)

V - verbalize any concerns or questions to your doctor or healthcare practitioner.

W - water water water - always drink lots of this especially when you're sick.

X - XDR stands for extra drug resistant... we don't want this to happen!

Y - you are the keeper of your health.

Z - zzz's - sleep is essential to help the body get stronger.


Keep yourselves and your immune system warm this winter! And those in the Northern Hemisphere, lots of water, suncream and shade, please!


Keep smiling!

Yours in health,

Dr Shavit

~ Love Health & Wellness ~

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