Health and Wellness

When To Treat With Antibiotics-Make an Informed, Responsible Choice

When to treat with antibiotics is a tough question for many of us to answer. Gone are the days where we feel yucky, go to the doctor, do whatever he or she tells us, and feel better as soon as possible. I absolutely loved the show, Little House on the Prairie, when I was a kid. I saw Doc Baker as a savior for the community. He knew everyone— personal and family medical and life histories, lifestyles, and habits. He could treat the whole person because he had a knowledge and understanding of the whole person. This is no longer the case. Many folks don’t even have a primary care physician, today. They run to a clinic to treat an illness or injury when necessary and go about their busy lives. This is convenient but not in the best interest of our health—unless we are taking an active, informed role in our own health and wellness plans.

holistic solutions, natural treatments, herbs, essential oils

I am a huge fan of natural treatments and home remedies. People lived like that for many years. More and more, we are developing allergies, sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Our conveniences and lifestyle shortcuts are shortening our healthy years and/or lives. Mass amounts of pharmaceuticals, preservatives, processed food and drinks, and unhealthy, fast-paced lifestyles are taking tolls on our well-being. We aren’t sleeping well, don’t get enough of any kind of exercise, and have poor nutritional habits, in general. We need to clean our acts up, Friends. Baby steps, right? Let’s start with what to do when we are sick. The Center for Disease Control teaches us that we should NOT use antibiotics for ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis, sore throats, and some cases of strep throat– just to name a few. How do you know when to treat with antibiotics?

First, you have to have a proper diagnosis in order to know how to treat any kind of ailment. Some people are fortunate enough to have doctors, nurses, or health care experts in their family or circle of friends. I’ve actually uttered the question, “Does this look infected to you?” to a good nurse practitioner friend. Funny—but kind of gross, I know. My point is: you can’t properly treat it if you don’t know what it is. You need the right ammunition for the right bad guy.

know your options, antibiotics vs natural remedies

Find a family care physician, nurse practitioner, naturopathic doctor—anyone you trust to help you define your problem. It’s in your best interest to have a doctor who can get to know your history. It’s impossible to treat the whole patient when you’ve known him or her for the five to fifteen minutes you’ll be in the office together. There is not enough time to completely review and discuss that four-page history you filled out in the waiting room, either. Get a regular practitioner you feel comfortable with and become a part of your own health plan, including learning when to treat with antibiotics.

Ok, so you know what you have—an ear or sinus infection, bronchitis, strep throat, the flu—what next? If you don’t have a doctor who can or will offer ideas, suggestions, and treatment plans not reliant on pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics), then you need to do your research. Yes, you do have time. Your health is more important than the meeting, the call, or the next episode of whatever whiny singing competition show is on next. Sometimes you will need antibiotics or something to aid pain, swelling, or fever. The miracle of medicine is a gift if used appropriately. Unfortunately, we often overuse and overdose when we do use these miracles.

Why? We all know why but don’t want to bring it up—big pharm—money that controls our medical professionals’ choices, options, treatment plans, and ability to keep a practice open. That’s another story for another time. But there is another reason we don’t want to bring up—habit lined with laziness. We expect our doctor to throw us a prescription so we can get on with our days. Not cool, Friends. Don’t insist on something you don’t need and that might not even help you. What it will do is have negative effects on your health in other areas. Check out this scary proof link if you are curious. What makes it scarier—it was written almost four years ago and the problem continues to worsen.

Back to the treatment—the solution for the problem. Research treatment options for your sickness and follow the instructions and guidelines completely and accurately. Guess what will happen? You will get better without all the side effects and exposure to unnecessary medication, toxins, and chemicals that will have effects on your health – short-term, long-term, forever. Guess what my brother successfully treated strep with—apple cider vinegar. I lie not. I got strep for the first time this year. It is a real jerk, let me tell you! Guess what this hypocrite preaching to you did? Ran to the doctor and got antibiotics because it was days before Christmas, and I had people coming and didn’t have time to research blah blah blah. Yes, my strep is gone. But so is my gut health. My digestion is still off, Friends, a month later. I wish I had talked to my brother about the vinegar BEFORE I got sick. The older I get, the worse the effects of antibiotics are for me. Take the natural road as often as you can. Your body will thank you for it later.

The more research you do, the quicker and easier it will become. Trust yourself and return to sources, sites, and pages that you are comfortable with and offer real solutions. Here are a few of my favorites you can start with:

Ask questions, get to know practitioners in your community, online, or through books. You’ll be so proud and feel great when you make a safe choice and avoid a costly one-both financially and for your health. I surely did when I had a sciatic issue.

I had some back pain that was persistently annoying but ignored it. I was working out, so I expected it would eventually go away. But, my work requires a lot of sitting in front of a computer. Long story short—one day I lost feeling in my leg and hit the floor in pain and afraid. The emergency room doctor explained how a muscle was crushing a nerve and a disc was inflamed that probably started it all—words words—take muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, get a scope, maybe surgery, words words words. I was not happy with that. For the first time in my life, I decided I was going to act against medical advice. He was spot on with what it was—what caused it. But I started calling people, researching, and doing stretches with a doctor I found on YouTube. I saw a musculoskeletal therapist and a chiropractor who took care of business for me. Today, I still have to sit at a desk a lot. But I do the right kind of stretches. When I get lazy and feel the pain coming on, I get an adjustment and/or a massage and whip myself into shape. I became a believer. No meds, no creepy side effects, and no surgery. I know this won’t always be the case, but for the times it can be; it’s worth it, Friends. Become a major player in your own health care plan. You owe it to yourself. No one knows you like you do, and you are the one who will live in the body you’ve been given. You should be actively involved in any and all decisions affecting it. If I was confident enough to walk away from a surgery consult, I should be able to conjure up the nerve to pass on antibiotics as a first resort if I get strep again, right? Take care out there, Friends.

When to treat with antibiotics is a tough question for us to answer. In our fast-paced, ever changing world of health care, we must take an active role in our own treatment and care. Do some research and consider options before taking antibiotics for common illnesses.

35 thoughts on “When To Treat With Antibiotics-Make an Informed, Responsible Choice

  1. This is very informative, we aren’t big antibiotic users here, but it’s most likely because we don’t get ill very often. Not sure why we don’t, but I’m not complaning!

  2. I have been sick a lot the past two months. Even with having a great diet and exercising, my body crashed. When I went to the doctor, what did they give me? Antibiotics! Every time! I often wondered if the antibiotics were weakening my immune system causing me to continue getting sick. On the other hand, my son’s pediatrician is very different. They do not rush to give our child antibiotics when he is sick. I guess we can learn a lot from this.

    1. You are absolutely right! That’s sad. Too often, when our doctor’s aren’t really sure (and they can’t be miracle workers), they prescribe antibiotics and hope it kills your ills. You are also right about them weakening your immune system. But you can build your body back up after all those weeks of ill health. Get lots of fermented foods and drinks into your diet every day to get your gut health back. You could try some elderberry syrup, too. It’s fantastic!

  3. Yes! Antibiotics are so overused and have created a huge problem. And many people don’t know how it is used in our food (livestock) which is also having the same negative impacts. It’s always good to research and make an informed decision.

    1. Isn’t it scary how much antibiotics and hormones are in our food! We have changed the way we shop greatly. One day, I hope to have a big greenhouse to have fresh, safe veggies, fruits, and herbs all year round.

  4. I’m also a natural health advocate. I agree that we need to take better care of ourselves. Unfortunately I find myself making bad food choices and not getting enough sleep far more often than I should. I do drink ACV every day and am rarely sick. Ear infections- I have eight kids and when they feel them coming on, or when they’ve had a bad cold, I use a piece of garlic clove in their ear. Lay a bandaid over the ear so the clove stays in. 95% of the time I’ve found this to work in treating the earache and preventing it from becoming a full blown infection! However, just recently my 6 yr old DID have a bad ear infection because I was lax about using garlic. I just got lazy. He ended up on antibiotics (which I’m very thankful for in the right situations, I might add).

    1. That is amazing about the garlic! I’ve heard garlic, onion, and potatoes can do magic on infections. But we don’t always catch them, right? Then, those antibiotics come to the rescue–at the right time, huh?

  5. I am a former Pharmaceutical Sales Rep and I agree that there is an overuse of antibiotics. There is an overuse of many meds really. (Don’t even get me started on vaccines). And docs all specialize and don’t know how to treat the whole person as you mentioned. It’s sad. They get an hour or 2 or nutrition their whole med school days and so they cannot help in that area unless they are a functional med doc. It is best to do natural alternatives, and if you have to take antibiotics make sure you take a strong probiotic at the same time to build your gut back up. Your gut will actually not get destroyed if you take it during the antibiotic treatment. Has to be a strong one or it won’t work. Not sure if you mentioned that in the post.

    1. You called it! Too many of those OTC probiotics don’t do much. I just bought some at my natural food store; they are refrigerated and a lot stronger than what I took before. I was afraid I was an enigma because the others didn’t seem to make any difference. I believed they were of good quality. Not so much. I’ll bet you have some amazing (and not so great) stories about pharmaceutical sales. And I would love to get you started on vaccines! 😉

  6. This is such a great post! My husband is currently in Physical Therapy graduate school and is in a pharmacology and prescription drug course and always has fascinating stories when coming home. Most make me want to lean more on the natural remedies! This is such a great point of view! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Funny how they force feed that drug training no matter what kind of medical, health, or nursing program you are in, huh? And, like Cheryl said above, your husband has had how much training and education on nutrition? So sad. There is so much out there on natural remedies. I’m learning so much in my research and by walking into a great natural food store and asking questions of a couple of brilliant women who are certified experts in their fields. I hope you can find someone in your area to get you started on a safer, more successful health journey!

  7. It’s a blessing and a curse. Often time over prescribed and our bodies just don’t react how they should. Great little article.

  8. There’s an epidemic in this country…it’s called antibiotic overuse. The current state of our healthcare is a direct result of docs giving out antibiotics for every little thing because our parents wanted/demanded something to make our illnesses go away. Food allergies? Probably from antibiotics ruining your gut. Hormonal problems? Probably from antibiotics ruining your gut. Recurrent ear infections? Definitely from antibiotics ruining your gut. Appreciate that you stress the point that people need to be informed. I think many people today are trying to learn more, because they see what prescription drugs are doing to themselves and their children.

    1. Very well said! It’s so scary that not only do so many not understand this; they demand antibiotics believing they are a magic cure for everything. Before you know it, they’ll be nearly worthless.

  9. My youngest refuses to take meds so I have to get creative with alternative ways. I am going to keep the apple cider vinegar in mind. Although in that case, she may prefer the meds!

    1. As hard as it is to get them to do it, hopefully, they will remember the getting better part and take it easier the next time! 🙂

  10. As a kid I feel like I was on antibiotics all the time. Probably because my mom worked at a doctor’s office. I haven’t been on antibiotics in I don’t know how long. Our bodies are stronger than we think. I’m not against medicine but do think we shouldn’t be so quick to administer it every time.

    1. There’s a time and a place, right? And you are so right about our bodies. They are designed to fight off illness–as long as we don’t weaken our ability to do so. I’ll bet you never had trouble getting a quick appointment with your mom working at a doctor’s office. 🙂

  11. Important information. Antibiotics can actually cause harm when not needed as you point out. And yes, let’s make informed health care decisions. And keep building our own awareness of the options.

    1. You can certainly rebuild your gut flora and get your immune system in better shape. You just gave me an idea for a new post! 🙂

What are you thinking, Friends?