How Antibiotics Affect the Immune System
In the 1950¹s, penicillin was used for every ill and was considered to be the “miracle drug” which could “cure” everything. The word “antibiotic” means “against life” and antibiotics are 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 generally 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! This is scary!
The more that 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! If your child drinks tap water or food cooked in tap water, they are getting antibiotics because the municipal water treatment plants can not take these drugs out of the water!
Each time we take antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics are some of the main causes of the increase in resistant bacteria.
Understanding the problem
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 the infection is caused by bacteria. 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. Dr. Racine is quite knowledgeable in this area.
Breastfeeding helps to protect your infants from disease when they are most vulnerable, because of the milk’s natural antibodies that protects a child’s not yet developed immune functions (6-9 months and younger).
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 without the drugs. Also, the Federal Medical Guidelines state that antibiotics are not to be routinely used for otitis media. Unfortunately - this guideline is neglected by too many MD's and pediatricians (and parents).
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 bronchii) is made.
Most sore throats are caused by viruses. Only one main kind, “strep throat”, MAY require antibiotics. Strep bacterium MUST be diagnosed by a laboratory test; it cannot be made solely upon examination.
Colds are caused by viruses, 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 Advanced Chiropractic check-ups are one of the best ways to ensure that your child’s immune system is in peak condition. Subluxations or nervous system interference, can interfere with the nerves that control the immune system. The nervous system controls all bodily functions and things like the immune system, so it is only logical to maintain the nervous system working at a 100% to have a better working immune system. And when they (kids) do get sick, chiropractic adjustments will help their body to heal itself, naturally – and more quickly. Dr. Racine has a 90% success rate with these conditions in children. It is typically safer, easier to fix with Advanced Chiropractic than harmful medications.
Deepak Chopra MD has called the nervous system, the “circulating immune system”. And it has been recently discovered that white blood cells (important cells of the immune system) will not work until they are activated by the nervous system!!
Atlas Orthogonal Upper Cervical chiropractic is one of the safest means of keeping a healthy nervous system. Even with all the best foods in the world, the best environments, etc… The nervous system is the most important factor in a child’s real true health!
Health is not merely the absence of symptoms – and most childhood illnesses are not due to a lack of antibiotics and drugs!