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The Side Effects of Antibiotics and How to Improve Your Immune System to Avoid Taking Them

 

Taking antibiotics for some people does not sound good because they are afraid of its possible side effects that they might have already experienced, or this kind of drugs did not work for them in the past. For this kind of people, antibiotics can still be avoided because these are only for the worst sick people.

 

This is true for one of our team members in My Natural Health who is in his mid-30. He always considers himself young and healthy and always abstains from taking any supplements. Not only supplements, but drugs too. He has excellent medical cover for his family, but would not go to see the doctor, for in his mind, doctors are only for old and terribly sick people, and if he would just keep exercising and eating healthy food, nothing would ever beat him.

 

All of this was true until last month. Last month, he had bacteria in his throat and without a proper treatment, these bacteria reached his lungs, causing pneumonia. He resisted seeing the doctor and truly believed that his body was strong enough to deal with it without any assistance. It took him more than 2 weeks of pain and suffering to reach for help and eventually received antibiotics to his relief.

 

 

He was very concerned about taking antibiotics, so in this post, we'll try to sum up the advantages of taking antibiotics and its side effects.  And what our dedicated employee could have done when he just started feeling this itching sensation in his throat. 

 

Why People Are Afraid of Taking Antibiotic Drugs 

           

If people get sick due to bacteria, doctors prescribe antibiotic drugs, but in reality not all people would like to take this kind of drug because they might be afraid of the possible side effects of antibiotics which might be based on their own experiences or it might be because they think that antibiotics did not work for them really well or what is called antibiotic resistance. 

 

Antibiotics may inflict more harm than benefit if they are given inappropriately without the patient being infected, according to the researchers. Bacteria can evolve to the point where antibiotics are no longer effective against them. This is referred to as bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance. Even the most powerful medications can make some germs more resistant to them. 

 

Despite all the negative implications associated with antibiotics’ ability to cure our illnesses, each person is accountable for appropriately administering this type of medication. A person is still the most important factor in his or her own recovery, and he or she should use wise judgement when taking antibiotics as prescribed. 

 

 

With this in mind, we might ask, what really are antibiotics? Why do doctors prescribe them? What is antibiotic resistance? What are the side effects of antibiotics? For us to avoid taking antibiotics, what should we do to improve our body’s immune system? 

Why Are Antibiotics Prescribed by the Doctors? 

           

Antibiotics, also known as antibacterial, are powerful drugs that are used to treat the diseases caused by bacteria like urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, and strep throat. They cannot treat diseases that are caused by viral infections like cold, flu and most coughs. 

 

Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctors to prevent an infection. Some are prescribed to treat illnesses caused by parasites and some types of fungus, 

 

Antibiotics are also prescribed to stop the bacteria from multiplying and to even destroy them. They are useful when there is an excessive number of harmful bacteria that enter our body. Our immune system alone cannot fight them all. 

 

There are several types of antibiotics that are usually available with a prescription in most countries. Topical antibiotics or antibiotics that have been manufactured into a cream or an ointment and can be applied directly to our skin are available over the counter (OTC). 

 

 

 

What Is Antibiotic Resistance?

           

Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria change their behaviour in response to the usage of antibiotics. It is the bacteria, not humans or animals, that becomes antibiotic resistant. This type of bacteria can infect humans and animals, and illnesses caused by resistant bacteria are more difficult to treat than infections produced by non-resistant bacteria. 

 

The main cause of antibiotic resistance is antibiotic use. When we use antibiotics, this kind of antibiotic-resistant bacteria does not die, instead, they can survive and even multiply. This situation becomes more common when antibiotics are overused. The more antibiotics we take, the greater the chances that the bacteria become resistant to them. 

How To Solve Antibiotic Resistance? 

 The following are some tips to promote proper use of antibiotics and to avoid antibiotic resistance: 

 

1. Take the antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor.

Take your entire prescription exactly as directed. Do it even if you start feeling better. If you stop before the infection is completely wiped out, those bacteria are more likely to become drug resistant. 

2. Do not take antibiotics unless you’re certain you need them. 

Always ask your doctors if antibiotics will really help. For illnesses caused by viruses-common colds, bronchitis, and many ear and sinus infections-they won’t. 

3. Do not use old antibiotics for a new infection. 

4. Do not share antibiotics with your family or friends. 

 

How Do Antibiotics Work Against Infections? 

Antibiotics work by interrupting critical bacterial activities, killing, or preventing bacteria from growing. This aids the body’s natural defense mechanisms in combating the bacterial infection. Antibiotics are effective against a variety of bacteria and function in a variety of ways. 

  • Different broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed by doctors to treat a wide range of infections (e.g., amoxicillin and gentamicin) while narrow spectrum antibiotics affect only a few types of bacteria (e.g., penicillin) 
  • Some antibiotics attack aerobic bacteria that need oxygen, while others attack anaerobic bacteria or bacteria that do not need oxygen. 
  • A bactericidal antibiotic, such as penicillin, destroys bacteria cell walls or its cell contents. On the other hand, bacteriostatic stops bacteria from multiplying. 

 

Doctors select an antibiotic based on the bacterium that is responsible for the infection. Doctors may do a test to determine the type of bacteria that is causing your infection and its sensitivity to specific antibiotics. 

What Are the Side Effects of Antibiotics?

 

Antibiotics, like all drugs, have the potential to produce side effects. Antibiotics can provide superior results when they are required, but if they are not required, you are assuming unnecessary risks. 

 

       Antibiotics can cause common adverse effects in up to 10% of people such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rash, and upset stomach, fungal infections of the mouth, digestive tract, and vaginal area. 

 

Other less common antibiotic side effects include persistent diarrhea caused by an inside infection, which can be dangerous and demands additional evaluation and treatment. Allergies (large, red, raised patches on the skin), fever, and breathing difficulties are indications of allergic reactions to antibiotics.

Others who are taking antibiotics have experienced sensitivity to sunlight when taking tetracycline, blood disorders when taking trimethoprim, deafness when taking erythromycin and the aminoglycosides, formation of kidney stones when taking sulfonamides, abnormal blood clotting when taking some cephalosporins. 

Some people, usually the elderly, can develop intestinal inflammation, which can result in severe, bloody diarrhea. Penicillin, cephalosporins, and erythromycin can all trigger irritated bowels in rare cases. 

 

When antibiotics are administered improperly, they can also affect the health of our microbiome or the community of bacteria that live in our bodies, and this can lead to having problems in our gut health or the health of the microorganisms that live in our intestines. Our immunity may be harmed as a result of changes in our intestinal flora.

Best Ways to Improve Your Immune System 

           

In the start of this post, we talked about one of our dedicated employees who took antibiotics for the relief of his throat which had bacteria and that caused pneumonia but did not want to take any drugs at first.  What could our dedicated employee in My Natural Health have done when he just started feeling this itching sensation in his throat? 

 

Let us talk about some of the best ways to improve our immune system. 

1. Add prebiotics and probiotics after taking antibiotics 

Functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D. recommends eating a healthy prebiotic-and probiotic-rich diet after finishing a course of antibiotics. Taking a probiotic can enhance the health of the microorganisms living in our intestines or our gut health and can help replenish the good bacteria in our microbiome. 


The healthy bacteria in our microbiome can be replenished by improving our gut health, which will result in a stronger immune system. As a result, it's critical to maintain our gut and immune system before, during, and after antibiotic treatment.

Prebiotics help nourish probiotics, and they are found in foods like asparagus, jicama, garlic, and leeks. Probiotics are commonly found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and pickles. 

 

 

My Natural Health offers a variety of probiotics both for children and for adults that are designed to maintain the healthy intestinal flora and they provide nourishment to most types of beneficial bacteria that are very helpful in boosting a strong immune system. Check them out here.

 

2. Choose a healthy immune system 

The best steps you can do to naturally keep your immune system functioning properly are to follow general good-health standards and live a healthy lifestyle. Stop smoking, eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, keep a healthy weight, drink alcohol in moderation, get enough sleep, and take precautions to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently.

 

 

3. Limit processed foods 

 

Dr. Pedre said that processed carbohydrates and sugars can take a negative toll on gut health. Changing processed desserts or chips with healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables may enhance gut health. 

4. Boost your immune system with high antioxidant foods

Dr. Ray Winger, a food science and nutrition specialist, discussed essential nutrients you should focus on to strengthen your immune system. He stated that colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as a number of chemicals such as carotenoids, beta-carotene, lycopene, co-enzyme-Q, and flavonoids, are high in antioxidants and can promote a healthy immune system.


Herbs and spices, according to Dr. Winger, include     antioxidants and provide strong immune system support, and they include foods like garlic and ginger, as well as cinnamon, vanilla, mixed herbs, chili peppers, and many others.

 

My Natural Health has lots of antioxidants products where you can choose from. Visit this link to find more about these antioxidants that will help fight cell damaging and free radicals in our body.

 

5. Minerals 

Mineral-rich foods, such as nuts, meat, fruits and vegetables, shellfish, beans (such as kidney beans), and whole grains, help to maintain our immunity system in good condition.

Oily fish can help to strengthen the immune system. You should consume 2-3 servings of oily fish every week.

Different products of omega oils that are rich in natural nutrients and antioxidants are also available in this link.

 

It is also vital to drastically reduce on cooking as much as possible because cooking destroys a lot of immune-boosting nutrients. Vegetables can be steamed or microwaved. Making a smoothie or a natural fruit juice drink ensures that you obtain all the nutrients from your diet.

 

6. Be strategic about supplements 

 Products that claim to boost our immune system typically fall into a couple of categories: vitamin formulations and probiotics. Vitamins can help ward off disease and other health problems, and when it comes to probiotics, bacteria and organisms living in our gut may play a role in our health. These healthy organisms contribute to our immune functions. 

 For the supplements that will help us boost our immunity that contain potent herbs and help our bodies natural defences when we are under immune attack, you can choose the one that will best for you from this link.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Antibiotics are a great help to fight diseases caused by bacteria, but they should be properly prescribed by the doctors and once the antibiotics were already prescribed, you must faithfully follow doctor’s prescriptions for you to get the maximum benefits of antibiotics. 

 

Taking antibiotics for the wrong reason or too often can lead to antibiotic resistance where antibiotics do not work against bacteria anymore. 

 

There are best ways that we can do to avoid taking antibiotics such as watching the foods that we eat, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking supplements that will boost our immune system. 

 

REFERENCES 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10278

https://www.nps.org.au/consumers/antibiotics-explained#how-do-antibiotics-work?

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/do-antibiotics-weaken-the-immune-system

https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/treatments/medicines/avoiding-antibiotics-boosting-immune-system

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/boosting-immune-response.html

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