Antibiotics save lives. But we have gone germ-killing crazy. Here’s everything you wanted to know about bacteria, antibiotics & natural alternatives
I saw a commercial recently for antibiotic PAINT…. WHAT? Why on Earth do your walls need to kill bacteria?? In the emergency room, maybe. In your living room, no.
Soap is now seen as cheap and useless if it doesn’t have ‘Antibiotic’ in the name. For everyday home use ‘regular’ soap is fine! In fact, 27 studies showed that antibiotic soap DOES NOT work any better than regular soap. Don’t believe me? WebMD even says so.
Yes, some bacteria harm us. But 99.9% of bacteria don’t – in fact, we couldn’t live without them. Nope, not kidding – we would actually die without bacteria. So STOP trying to kill them all!
Antibiotics don’t care if the bacteria are good guys or bad guys – they will kill any bacteria they find.
Hand sanitizer is another symptom of our bacteria-killing mania. It’s in every bathroom, in every purse and hanging on every kid’s backpack. The alcohol in these products dehydrates skin, causing small cracks. These cracks are the PERFECT place for little bacteria to get in and multiply! Use soap and water!
But what about shopping carts, elevator buttons and airplane seats?!!? Well, if everyone washed there hands with soap and water these things wouldn’t be as much of a problem. But that’s a happy land that doesn’t really exist. 5% vinegar spray or essential oil based sprays are gentle, safe (very effective!) and much less likely to cause antibiotic resistance or the health issues that bleach and other toxic disinfectants do!
~ I am a registered nurse with an active license. However, this information is general and I am not a physician. The information contained on this blog is not personal medical advice and should not be considered a diagnosis or treatment protocol. Always discuss symptoms and treatment options with your primary care provider. Read full disclosures here
~ Antibiotics DO NOT kill viruses. Antibiotics kill bacteria cells by damaging their cell walls or stopping the bacteria from replicating.
~ Viruses are WAY smaller than bacteria and are not whole cell. They can’t multiply without getting into the cell of another living organism.
~ Since viruses are NOT cells, antibiotics don’t harm them.
~ Antibiotcs may be Broad Spectrum or Narrow Spectrum. This means they either kill a lot of different kinds of bacteria (broad) or just specific types and strains (narrow). If possible, narrow is the best option. For this option you need your Doc to run a C & S. This means Culture – checking what type of it is- and Sensitivity – checking what will kill it. For things like Strep Throat this is easy (open up and say aaaaah) but it’s impossible to culture your kid’s ear infection. That’s when broader spectrum would be used.
~ Always ask your Doc about which antibiotics may treat what ails you and why they picked what they did. There are over a DOZEN categories of antibiotics routinely used and each category has multiple drugs in it. That’s a lot to choose from.
CDC estimates 30% of antibiotics are given for viruses
When to and when NOT take take prescriptions
DO NOT take oral antibiotics with
The flu – body aches, chills, fever, coughing
Colds – sneezing, coughing, fever, chills
These are viruses which last around 7-12 days. That means you will feel sick for up to 2 WEEKS. Even Tamiflu will only shorten the flu by about a day.
Antibiotics can wait with
Ear infections – these are often viral and there’s no way to check!
Respiratory issues – cough, wheezing and mucus production. Asthma, allergies and viral bronchitis are often the cause.
UTI – unless severe or reoccurring
Green Mucus – I hear this a LOT. “I’m blowing my nose and it’s green and yellow!” Color of mucus can not indicate you have a bacterial infection.
These often start to resolve themselves in 3-5 days. Ask your doctor if you can use supportive and symptomatic treatment first. Give your immune system time to work!! If you are worsening then go for the antibiotics.
Start antibiotics immediately for
Strep Throat – IF the rapid test is positive. Untreated, this can lead to severe complications.
Skin / Wound Infection – worsening red, swollen, painful cuts/bites/injuries.
Hit these if you want to wait on the prescription antibiotics and help your body fight off an illness.
Garlic – It’s full of sulfur and allicin, which attack both bacteria and viruses! Raw is best but sautéed or garlic oil is also helpful. Die-hards will just go ahead and chew a clove of raw garlic when they are feeling sick but I like to just use raw garlic on top of pizzas, pastas and bread. It’s slightly easier to eat that way. Ear infections have long been treated with small amounts of garlic oil dripped in the ear.
Cinnamon – Make sure you get real cinnamon. Cheaper ground cinnamon often has flour or other stabilizers added to keep it from clumping. And cinnamon looses its potency fairly quickly – so use a reliable source & get sticks whenever possible. Cinnamon essential oil is great to use but VERY strong. I dip a toothpick in it so I don’t even get a whole drop and swirl it in tea or chocolate milk (yummy).
Honey – Raw, organic honey is a great topical antibiotic. Use it for as a mask for acne (really, it worked great for me in college) or on small cuts and scrapes in place of antibacterial ointments. It can also be used in tea and drinks – just wait for it to cool down a bit. High heat of tea will kill some of the healthy enzymes.
Oregano oil – This stuff is extremely strong due it the carvacrol and thymol it contains. I don’t recommend taking it internally since it can be just as harsh on your system as prescriptions. Topical application on your feet or spine or diffused is much safer with strong oils.
Supporting your system if you DO need to take antibiotics
This is when probiotics are really helpful. High potency live probiotcs can help to keep your gut microbes healthy and can keep women from getting yeast infections (which are extremely common after antibiotics). I don’t recommend buying probiotics online unless you don’t have a good source close to you. Probiotics should really be kept cold. The ultimate is the liquid supplement Bio-K+. Look in the refrigerated supplement section of your health food store. If you’re on long-term or very strong antibiotics this is a great choice!
Fermented foods are super important while on antibiotic treatment! Check out this post ALL about fermented food and why you want them.
Try Ginger & Lemon Tea.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory/ pain reducer. It also helps to protect your stomach from digestive issues antibiotics can cause.
Boil filtered water and add:
– 1 inch fresh ginger grated or finely chopped
– 1/2 lemon squeezed
– raw honey optionalGet a high potency, naturally derived (not engineered) Vitamin C. I like and use Alive and MegaFood.
Antibiotics have to go through your liver to be broken down and removed from your body. Avoid alcohol, drink lots of water and try milk thistle tea or beet juice to help the liver out!
What else do YOU use when you’re feeling sick? Comment below and let me know!