6 Reasons to Ditch Antibiotics |
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6 Reasons to Ditch Antibiotics

Sarena-Rae Santos March 10, 2016

By Sarena-Rae Santos, contributing writer

If you’re reading this, like me, you’ve probably taken your fair share of antibiotics in your life. 

Maybe you had a reaction or read an alarming article online and are looking for a safer option for yourself or your children.

My history with antibiotics is extensive. Between my childhood history of recurring strep throat and ear infections and other medical issues that “required” a permanent antibiotic in my adult years, I have had more than enough to last me a lifetime (and probably some antibiotic resistance). Thankfully, I took my last antibiotic dose in December of 2018 and have never looked back.

Although antibiotics are sometimes necessary to fight infections and diseases caused by bacteria, they are often overprescribed. While killing harmful bacteria, antibiotics also kill good bacterial strains that we need causing long-term health consequences that can often be avoided.

#1: They are Over-Prescribed

As per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), doctors prescribe about 47 million antibiotic courses yearly for infections that don’t need antibiotics (1). The unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics has resulted in about 1 in 3 people suffering from yeast-related symptoms or conditions like yeast and candida overgrowth (2).

#2 They Don’t Really Work

When fighting an infection, we must remember two main types of germs cause most infections – viruses and bacteria. 

Viruses cause the common cold, seasonal flu, runny noses, and most cases of bronchitis, sore throats, and coughs. Antibiotics cannot kill viruses or help you feel better when you have a virus. Contrarily,  bacteria cause strep throat, urinary tract infections, most ear infections, and some sinus infections (3). These are when antibiotics should be used, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to fill a prescription.

Unfortunately, antibiotics are often prescribed for viral illnesses, deeming them useless. The unnecessary usage of antibiotics can have detrimental effects on the body. Not to mention the overuse of antibiotics has also resulted in antibiotics losing their effectiveness

#3 They Cause Antibiotic Resistance

Aside from the long list of side effects, anytime antibiotics are used, they can contribute to the pandemic of antibiotic resistance. This is because antibiotics increase antimicrobial resistance and are driven by a combination of germs exposed to antibiotics, the spread of those germs, and their mechanisms of resistance (4).

Although the CDC claims antimicrobial doesn’t mean our body is antibiotic resistant, the World Health Organization (WHO) admits the misuse (or overprescribing) of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process (5). Unfortunately, in the U.S., more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths (6).

#4 They Damage Gut Health

Even a single antibiotic dose can lead to detrimental shifts in the composition and diversity of the gut flora (7). Additionally, antibiotics can also lead to long-term changes in the gut flora. After completing an antibiotic dose, most bacteria return after 1–4 weeks, but their numbers usually don’t return to the prior levels (8). Another study discovered that a single dose of antibiotics diminished the diversity of Bacteroides, one of the most dominant bacterial strains, and boosted the number of resistant strains. These consequences remained for up to two years (9)!

#5 They Can Cause Serious Side Effects

In 2015, healthcare providers prescribed 269.4 million antibiotic prescriptions—equivalent to 838 prescriptions per 1000 persons. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic was  Azithromycin, and 46.2 million doses were prescribed (10). Like all medications, antibiotics have a long list of side effects, so let’s discuss the side effects of the most commonly prescribed antibiotic, Azithromycin (11):

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain (severe)
  • Abdominal or stomach tenderness
  • Agitation
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Bleeding gums
  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • Bloating
  • Blood in the urine or stools
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Chills
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Convulsions
  • Cough
  • Darkened urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea (watery and severe, which may be bloody)
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • Fainting
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • Fever with or without chills
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Greatly decreased frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • Headache
  • Hives or itching
  • Hostility
  • Increased thirst
  • Indigestion
  • Irregular heartbeat recurrent
  • Irregular or slow heart rate
  • Joint pain
  • Large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • Lethargy
  • Light-colored stools
  • Loose stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle twitching
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain
  • Pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Sore throat
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Stupor
  • Sweating
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, neck, hands, and feet
  • Swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Yellow eyes or skin

That’s not even counting antibiotic allergies, which the CDC claims only occurs in about 1% of the population (12). Unfortunately, reactions are grossly underreported, so we cannot say how many children and adults are truly allergic or experience severe side effects. What we can say is that research has shown there is a possible correlation between (13).

#6 There are Safer, More Effective Natural Alternatives

Addressing infections with natural alternatives is safer. Some other options, such as garlic and oil of oregano, are just as effective (if not more) as prescription antibiotics (14,15). My two favorite natural antibiotics are oil of oregano and fermented garlic honey.

Oil of Oregano has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, amongst many other beneficial properties (16,17,18). Oil of Oregano is made by infusing extra virgin olive oil with dried oregano leaves, creating a robust and ingestible “natural antibiotic” widely used in the natural community. 

Fermented Garlic Honey has immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties and relieves upper respiratory tract infection symptoms (19,20,21,22). Fermented Garlic Honey is made by fermenting garlic cloves in honey and also creates a “natural antibiotic” commonly used in the natural community.

How do you handle bacterial infections naturally?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos is the founder of The Holistic Hipppie blog, dedicated to natural health and plant-based eating. Her journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.
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7 Comments

  1. Great article! My son will be 3 soon and has ever been on any antibiotics. I have not been on any for several years. I was overprescribed them as a child growing up in Canada and ruined my gut health. I will avoid them at all costs for me and my family.

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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