A phrase we hear frequently alongside superbugs. Does this worry you? Do you take regular antibiotics and wonder if they will stop being effective? Well don’t worry as there are many things you can do for yourself to help fight infection before you might need antibiotics. But you must be prepared implement these changes rather than go to the GP at the first sign of a sore throat and expect a prescription for antibiotics -shockingly this is what 70% of those who go to the GP with a sore throat get. For most sore throats, antibiotics do nothing other than cause damage.
Most antibiotic use is completely unnecessary, costs the NHS money which could be spent elsewhere and weakens your immune system against further infection. Do you know why? Antibiotics kill off the good gut flora/bacteria (as well as the bad that can be contributing/causing the infection) that lives very happily in our intestines. We need this gut flora to help digest food and to keep the digestive tract working properly. Most importantly it is responsible for a lot of immune system functioning and our brain health. There is a huge link between poor digestion/a sub functioning gastrointestinal tract and depression. Every time you take antibiotics and don’t replace the good gut flora you make it harder for your body to digest food and fight off infection the next time. You create a nice environment for infection to develop and breed. You are also teaching the virus/bacteria/infection about antibiotics so it can develop and mutate so the antibiotics are not effective. You have to admit, annoying though they are, these bacteria and viruses are so very clever!
Tips to boost your immune system
My Naturopathic tool box has a large variety of therapies and remedies that can support your immune system by strengthening it. This means that you can be more in control of your health and don’t have to wait 2 weeks to see the doctor. Within that 2 week wait, you could in fact have overcome the lurgey and end up with an even stronger immune system that will remember the bacteria/virus, and have made its own antibodies to fight it off. This means that if it strikes again, you will be able to fight it off within a day or two. The body is simply amazing if you give it a helping hand with some nice (organic if possible) antibacterial/antiviral foods, some probiotic foods and a couple of essential oils.
A nice way to support your immune system daily which making it more robust is to skin brush before you shower. You can get one from Boots, health food shops etc and get one with natural bristles. Start at the feet and work your way up the body brushing up towards the heart.
If you have had a course of antibiotics and can afford it, buy 4 weeks of Symprove probiotics. They survive the stomach acid which means they get to the intestine intact where they can then have an impact. If you have taken a lot of antibiotics I would highly recommend the 6 week programme. You can buy it from Amazon or direct from their website.
Full fat (organic) plain yoghurt is one. If you are lucky enough to get an Abel & Cole order get Brown Cow or see if there is a local farmers market/farm shop that sells it. If not, get Yeo Valley etc.
Miso, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi are also pre and probiotics which create the right environment for the good gut bacteria to grow and nourish it. When buying them get organic and raw to get the full benefit.
They are brilliant and so effective and versatile. Good ones to use for coughs/colds are eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree. They are very antibacterial so good at killing off the unwanted bacteria. You can put some drops on a tissue or in an oil burner to inhale during the day or at night. You can also put them in the bath or a foot bath (a washing up bowl is perfect) if you don’t have a bath. Or in a bowl of very hot water and put a towel over your head for a steam inhalation.
Nature provides an array of helpful antibacterial/antiviral foods to keep us healthy. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, red onions – the perfect excuse to make a curry. Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium also boost the immune system – green leafy vegetables are an excellent source.
So maybe the next time you start sneezing or have a scratch at the back of your throat, instead of going to the GP to get antibiotics, you could have a curry packed full of onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric and full-fat yoghurt followed by a bath with eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint oils and an early night. Sleep is the most important part of getting better and staying well.