Antibiotics: When to Take Them and How to Avoid Them

Many Vancouver locals may have noticed the recent antibiotics awareness campaign that is being spread across the city. Promoted by multiple health authorities, the campaign aims to reduce antibiotic overuse and decrease the resistance of superbugs, which are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Naturopaths commonly recognize how crucial it is that an infection be accurately diagnosed so that antibiotics are only taken when needed. It is also important to realize that antibiotic exposure does not simply come from medicine. Most of us are routinely exposed to antibiotics through the foods that we eat, as it has now become the norm that non-organic livestock (animals, fish, and seafood) are administered antibiotics preventatively in their feed. Such exposure actually weakens our immune system by destroying both good and bad bacteria, and makes the incidence of superbug resistance far more likely.
Some strategies for reducing your exposure to antibiotics are:
  • Avoid anti-bacterial soaps
  • Choose to eat dairy, eggs, fish, seafood and meat products that are antibiotic free (if this information is not available from a food producer, the easiest option is to choose organic or wild).  Free-range, organic and grass-fed meats are the best choice
  • Never ‘self-medicate’ with antibiotics
  • If you believe that you have an infection and may require antibiotics, consult with a naturopath to accurately diagnose your needs and to find out if there is a natural treatment alternative available (in most cases, there are). If antibiotics are necessary, many of the doctors at Sage Clinic have prescribing rights and will be able to give you a prescription
  • Whenever you must take antibiotics, supplement with a high-quality, strong dose of probiotics to help your gut replenish its healthful bacteria so that your immune system is less compromised
  • If you feel that your current physician is overprescribing you antibiotics, don’t hesitate to seek out a second opinion
  • Aim to keep your body’s natural defence system (your immunity) strong so that you are able to better ward off infections before they occur
For more information on proper antibiotic use and the danger of overexposure, check out the community education campaign below: http://www.dobugsneeddrugs.org/

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