Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Five Favorite Antibiotic Alternatives


I'm not anti-medicine.  At all.  But I do think it's overused and I much prefer to try to heal things with the least amount of intervention possible.  When it comes to antibiotics, I of course DO think they are a great tool to use when they are necessary and I wouldn't hesitate to use them if the situation was severe enough.  That said, I'm very very grateful that none of my children have ever been at that point and the last time I took them was eleven years ago (two oral doses in labor.  Wish I hadn't.).  We have gotten over everything from Strep throat to UTIs to ear infections to a MRSA skin infection (yes, the real MRSA) without using them.  

We now know that the overuse of antibiotics is causing real issues in our health as a society and like with so many other things, we've got the 20/20 hindsight going on.  We didn't realize the effects  (also here) until long after they became the go-to for almost any small infection.  Doctors are now much more hesitant to give antibiotics for simple ear infections and the like because their use is often unneeded and creates more complications than it heals.  The growth of "superbugs" and antibiotic resistant strains of illnesses is a big concern as well as individual immune systems not getting the "workout" they need and being weakened by their overuse.  

All that said, here's what we do instead.  And obviously, this is not me playing doctor or telling you that you shouldn't use them if the case warrants it.  I'm just some lady on the internet sharing what's worked for us that maybe could work for you ;)

1.

Silver is a natural germ killer and we've had great success using it for throat issues and a couple UTIs.  In fact, our washing machine has a silver option where it will add colloidal silver to the water to disinfect things.  Colloidal silver is silver particles suspended in water.  Just a few tiny doses when sick seems to have a great effect though I readily admit this is just our experience and pretty much all you'll find pertaining to its efficacy is personal testimony.  But we like it and it's worked for us so there's that.  We're also careful not to use it regularly since it can build up in your system. 

2.
Many people say that local honey is helpful for their seasonal allergies but it also has antibiotic properties.  We use it on sores and skin blemishes (I'm still using it to wash my face!) but we also use it for throat or respiratory issues.  The best place I've found it is at local farmer's markets (much cheaper and local) but in the winter I've bought it at the store and you can find it at Amazon too.  Here's hoping our beehives will be producing it for us soon!

3.


I am not at all an expert on homeopathy but I have friends and Facebook groups who know things.  So I ask them when we're in need of something particular and then I buy just the one and try it.  I have used cantharsis along with the silver to successfully treat UTIs.  Frankincense, tea tree, geranium, basil, lavender, and eucalyptus are just a tiny few of the many many oils that can be used to treat infections such as MRSA, Staph, ear and and have valid scientific study backing them up .

4.
Breastmilk


Breastmilk works as an antimicrobial/antibacterial agent.  Used at the site of an infection or orally it can produce amazing results and can even fight off antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  I've been blessed to never have had a baby with an ear infection but I know mothers and professionals that swear by a few drops in the ear every few hours.  I used breast milk on the compress to help treat a MRSA infection on my son's abdomen as a toddler.  It can help with some types of eye infections (we've done that one, too).  If I'm able (and I remember) I try to have the littler ones have some when they're sick and fighting something to help boost their immune system.  It's so weird and crunchy but when your little person is suffering and you can treat it without heading to the doctor or putting them on something that may have other negative effects, you do what you gotta do. (And maaaybe evade the answer when they take a sip and quizzically ask whether this is the "normal" milk...)

5.
Time

Sometimes it's just a waiting it out game.  Plain old time and letting a strong immune system do its thing is often enough to kick something that many doctors would give you a prescription for.  I love that our new doctor told us that his kids have never been on antibiotics and that he much prefers to have the body naturally fight things off.  Obviously, it's always a benefit/risk analysis but letting the body work the immune system and develop natural antibodies seems the preferable choice for us.  It's hard and sometimes more uncomfortable but my gut says it's worth it.  There have been many times where I'm just about to go in or call the doctor when things take a turn for the better and the boys or I are able to heal by just giving it time.  


(And an honorable mention is awarded to garlic.  While I don't often use it myself (I just never think of it), it does also work well in fighting infections including some types of Strep.)

And again, this little post is no substitute for medical advice.  Just what we do.  I don't idolize alternative medicines or therapies but I am willing to give them a shot if the need arises.

What say you?  Have I gone off the crunchy deep end?  Or have you had success as well with forgoing antibiotics in lieu of something else?

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10 comments:

  1. You raise some good points. I guess my question is this . . . When does it get serious enough to call the doctor or take the antibiotics? Do you just use your gut and follow your instincts? I always second guess myself when I call the doctor because I don't want to me 'that crazy mom' who blows everything out of proportion. But then I worry that it might be something bigger or more serious that could warrant attention. I just don't know. I guess, where's the line? And is it easy for you to determine? Perhaps that wisdom will come with more parental experience?

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    1. Good question. I suppose I just follow my gut with the underlying tendency to just wait. I do worry still in the off chance that it is something that could get serious quickly and maybe I'm too laid back about it all. But I think I must have a strong intuition and try to just follow that. That along with prayer and realizing that most illnesses are able to be fought off by an otherwise healthy person. I look a lot of stuff up to figure it out and try to know what IS actually serious versus what is just a normal childhood illness. If there were a sudden huge change or the child appeared obviously seriously ill or began to exhibit some new or troubling symptom, I would call.

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  2. you are so weird ;)
    That said, because of my husband and his aversion to any type of doctor's bills, we rarely rarely go to the docs. The boys have never been on antibotics, which I think is kind of key- we ride things out a bit around here... I have friends who's babies have basically lived on antibiotics- I'm like, "that can't be good"

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    1. Weirdos we are :) Yeah, building up that immune system is so important and kind of "testing" it like a muscle. I have a feeling we're going to keep on finding out more and more how all these abx are affecting a whole lot more than we realize.

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  3. Well being married to a pharmacologist kinda trumps my ability to venture into other waters. Although I have tried some essential oils but did not have the good results I was hoping for.

    Thankfully my kids aren't sick very often - this past year they both got put on antibiotics for pneumonia - (we actually probably waited a little too long in that case). But most of our doctor visits are well-child visits.

    I'm going to look into the honey thing more...that sounds interesting.

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    1. Yeah, my husband kinda thinks I'm crazy sometimes, too ;) But I AM very grateful to have Kevin around to ask questions when they come up!

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  4. We try really hard to avoid antibiotics as well. I definitely think antibiotics are way, way overused and contribue to health problems. While, we do use them occasionally if needed, I do try to limit.

    The alternative therpies I use, really depends on the illness.
    Flu/Mastitis - raw garlic. This always works. It's disgusting, but it workds
    UTI - D-Mannose (again this works really well
    Ear Infections - We hardly get those, but I do garlic oil in the ear
    Sinus Infections - Garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar
    Skin Rashes that Might Be Bacterial or Yeast - Essential Oils, Aloe, Comfrey Cream

    I also use other herbs like ginger, cayenne, tumeric fairly frequently as well.

    We also take large quantities of Vitamin C when sick and that definitely helps.

    I've never really used silver, and have never had good luck with homeopathics

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    1. I need to get in on the garlic then. I know pregnant women who use it to successfully treat a strep B culture. I've seen garlic oil and tablets around…I wonder if they're as effective??

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    2. Garlic tablets are definitely NOT as effective as raw garlic. In fact, I've never had success using the garlic tablets to treat illness, just raw garlic. The biggest problem is that it makes you smell, so I really only use it for ailments that would keep us home anyway (liked the flu or mastitis or severe colds). I have no idea about using it to treat Strep B, but I probably wouldn't just because I wouldn't want to walk around smelling like raw garlic for a few weeks. LOL

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    3. I've heard that you should cut the garlic up and let it stand for 7 minutes - it releases the particular enzyme that is the bacterial fighter - it makes it more potent to do this - we add it to our cooking all the time - not the same as RAW garlic but it helps! :)

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