How Antibiotics Affect The Immune System
In the 1950s, penicillin was used for every ill and was considered to be the miracle drug that could cure everything. The word antibiotic means against life and antibiotics are amongst the most powerful drugs. When used appropriately, they can save lives, but used improperly, they can actually harm your child and weaken their immune system.
There are two main types of germs– bacteria and viruses. Viruses cause most coughs and sore throats and all colds. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections, but should never be used for viral infections. Your child recovers from these common viral infections by activating their immune system, which naturally takes care of the viruses.
All antibiotics cause side effects, the most common being diarrhea or stomach irritation. This is because antibiotics also kill the “good” bacteria residing in our guts and disrupts the normal bowel flora ratio. Yeast infections, or candida, often result with antibiotics use. Allergies may also develop as the gut becomes leaky and lets large particles and toxins out into the general circulation, stimulating the immune system to become over-reactive.
New strains of bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics and are no longer killed. Some bacteria have mutated so that they feed off of antibiotics! The more antibiotics prescribed, the higher the chance that your child will become infected with resistant bacteria. If your child eats meat, they are getting a regular dose of antibiotics because antibiotics are added to animal feed! Each time we take antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are some of the main causes of the increase in resistant bacteria.
The best thing a parent can do to protect their child from resistant bacteria is to understand that antibiotics should not be used for viral infections. Antibiotics should never be administered until a culture is performed to verify bacteria cause the infection. Examination alone is not sufficient. It is also wise to work with a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable about ways to boost your child_s immune system, naturally. Breastfeeding helps to protect your infants from disease when they are most vulnerable.
When are antibiotics needed and when are they not? Antibiotics are often prescribed for ear infections, also known as Otitis Media (OM). There are several types of OM and most do not need antibiotics. Studies show that whether kids get antibiotics for ear pain or not, they feel better in a few days. Also, the Federal Guidelines state that antibiotics aren_t to be routinely used for otitis media.
Most children with thick or green mucus do not have sinus infections, therefore, antibiotics are not needed. If there is an infection, it is most likely viral.
A cough is a symptom, not a disease. It is the way the body keeps mucus from entering the lungs. That is why it is dangerous to treat coughs and try to suppress them without knowing the cause. Antibiotics are rarely indicated for coughs, even when the diagnosis of bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchi) is made.
Viruses cause most sore throats. Only one main kind, strep throat, MAY require antibiotics. Strep MUST be diagnosed by a laboratory test; it cannot be made solely upon examination.
Viruses cause colds, therefore, antibiotics have no effect and can actually weaken the immune system to prolong the illness. Viral infections may sometimes lead to bacterial infections. But using antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections does not work, and may lead to infection with resistant bacteria.
If I don’t use antibiotics, what can I do?
Regular chiropractic check-ups are one of the best ways to ensure that your child’s immune system is in peak condition. Subluxations, or spinal misalignments, can interfere with the nerves that control the immune system. And when they do get sick, chiropractic adjustments will help their body to heal itself.
Deepak Chopra has called the nervous system, the circulating immune system. And it has been recently discovered that white blood cells will not work until they are activated by the nervous system!!
You can also try to prevent subluxations by occurring, by eliminating as much trauma as possible, helping your child learn how to deal with daily stressors, eliminating toxins from their environment and ensuring they are eating nutritious foods.