Friday, May 27, 2016

Stop With The Antibiotics Already!

The news has been astir discussing the emergence of superbugs. A very real threat, they are the result of our years and years of liberal overuse of antibiotics. We have now learned the hard way that bacteria are, unfortunately, clever and they don’t like being killed off. So they have mutated to survive. And in case you missed it, that is very bad news.

Medical professionals, the CDC, and governments worldwide are urging doctors and hospitals to limit their use of antibiotics with their patients to critical situations only. Yet very little is changing in the way that medicine is being practiced. Furthermore, many patients are still demanding antibiotics for conditions where they are not needed, doctors are conceding, and the problem is getting worse.

Antibiotics are prescribed in many instances where they are of  absolutely no use, and can even cause some harm. Not only is this unnecessary and irresponsible, it is now dangerous. Many times a physician will still prescribe a course of antibiotics for a person who has a virus because “the virus could become something more serious.” They are given prophylactically (in advance of a potential threat) where no threat currently exists.

Antibiotics are not risk free. They strip the body of all bacteria - the good and the bad. Many times the body has a difficult time regenerating its lost gut flora and it can take weeks or years after a single course of antibiotics for the gut and immune system to regain a balance to function optimally. A fifth of all hospital visits are related to antibiotic problems including allergic reactions and other adverse events.

The CDC says that antibiotics should never be given for:
  • Viruses (including the common cold, flu, bronchitis, etc)
  • Many sinus and ear infections (Yes - ear infections. Get your ears adjusted instead!)
  • Sore throat

They may still be useful in cases of:
  • Strep throat (but not always)
  • UTIs (urinary tract infections)

So, if you’re going to try to avoid antibiotics, What can you do to stay healthy?

The first thing to note is that our definition of health should not be “feeling good” or “absence of disease”. Disease happens in our bodies and we are well designed to manage it. Furthermore, one can “feel good” but be secretly and unknowingly growing cancer in their body. They are sick - but they don’t “feel” like it. Instead, our definition of health should look something like this:

My body is well equipped to handle whatever comes at it, and it is operating efficiently.

When you look at it that way, perspective changes a bit. For instance, if you come down with the flu and your temp is 103, your body aches, and you are fatigued, you are not sick… you are perfectly healthy! Your body is effectively fighting a nasty virus! Imagine what that virus would do to you if your body temperature did NOT raise to fight the infection. See? You are actually healthy because your body is properly taking care of itself.

You can also support your immune system.
  • Eat whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Cut out the processed (boxed) foods from your diet.
  • Take probiotics. The gut is 80% of the immune system so treat it right and it will take care of you.
  • Get adjusted. A single chiropractic adjustment increases immune response by 200%. When the body can properly communicate within itself it functions at an optimal level.
  • Cut out sugar. Sugar cuts the effectiveness of the immune system drastically for several hours after consumption.
  • Consider taking immune supporting supplements. At least consider vitamins C and D. Make sure you are buying plant based vitamins that your body can absorb and use.
  • Reduce your stress. See my post about deliberate breathing.

Consider also that these superbugs are largely living in hospitals where antibiotics and antibacterial cleaning methods are being used all the time. Most cases of people contracting these dangerous superbug infections start when a person visits the hospital and they become exposed to antibiotic resistant bacteria. So, stay away from the hospital as much as possible. If you are not sick, do not go there - including to give birth. (Birth is not an illness and it is the only time in your life that you’ll be admitted to the hospital when you are perfectly healthy. You can choose to protect yourself and your baby from superbugs at the hospital by considering birthing at home or at a birth center.)

It’s time to change our perspective a bit. We are risking a lot when we jump to the prescription pad for every little thing that ails us. Limit your use of antibiotics to only when a real threat presents itself, support your immune system, and trust your body’s design for managing sickness.

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