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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Antibiotics do not suppress the immune system

If somebody asks me one more time, "Aren't antibiotics bad for the immune system?", I'm going to blow a gasket.
As a veterinarian trained in the West, I've been trained to use antibiotics for bacterial infections, not homeopathic remedies, nothing freshly grown and picked from the earth.
I believe I am diligent about the prescription of antibiotics... a pill-pusher I am not, unless of course pills need to be pushed.
If a dog, cat, or human being, has a bacterial infection (pneumonia, for example), the infection itself stimulates the body's immune system (because the bacteria are antigens - unrecognized by the body's immune system), while the stress of the entire infection on the body can eventually weaken the immune system. Immunity does not always deal with an infection by itself, especially with serious infections. Antibiotics, when properly prescribed, will kill bacteria, render them unable to multiply, or make them more susceptible to the body's natural immune defenses. Antibiotics are nothing but synergistic allies with the body's immune system. This doesn't mean that physicians should have carte-blanche when faced with treating infections in patients. Pros and cons need to be heavily weighed so that 1) the patient has the greatest chance of recovering and 2) the greatest care is given so that drug resistance does not occur (too late for many types of infections, unfortunately).
If an overwhelming bacterial infection kills the organism, well then, there's no immune system left now, is there?

Pneumonia-causing bacteria.

When used judiciously, these will deal with those above.

10 comments:

GoLightly said...

When used judiciously.
That's so true...

Opinion on super-bugs?
The antibiotic-resistant microbes?

We created them, through our own over-use, and especially under-use.
I can't tell you how many people I met that felt using old, (as in not-used up with the first 'scrip, because they felt better), antibiotics was just fine, by their own prescription..

I'd love to hear your opinion.

Antibiotics can also harm our healthy flora, right?

A topic close to my heart.

TorontoVet said...

You're bang on with all of your points.
Antibiotics, as a side effect, can certainly harm our healthy flora, as in the case of clindamycin use in humans, resulting in extremely dangerous Clostridium difficile infections - the hospital bug.

Thanks for the comment.

OldMorgans said...

There is a definite place for antibiotics. Absolutely. Sadly, they are often misused. And then there are the germ-phobic folks. I saw one at the grocery store the other day. The store now has anti-microbial wipes at the door so you can wipe down your shopping cart. This lady comes in & wipes the handle, the sides and anywhere her hands might touch. Then she wipes her purse which she had set into the cart while wiping. Ironically, her kid is rolling on the floor the whole time w/a sucker in her mouth.
I think we are creating a generation of people with no chance to gain natural immunity and coping mechanisms w/the over use of antibiotic soap & wipes & cleansers & all that stuff. And creating "bugs" that are stronger & resistant.
On the other hand, judging by the subject heading of this post, we have people who think that antibiotics suppress the immune system. I had not heard that one before.

oldmorgans.blogspot.com

martha said...

Years ago i checked (yes, i did and admit it) checked my father-in-law's medicine cabinet and there was a 3/4 bottle of 17
(SEVENTEEN) year old antibiotic. When I asked him about it he told me he takes ONE whenever he has a "tickle" in his throat. I threw them out as well as a bottle of years-and-years old T3's.
He said "baah" [!]

I work as a health care professional and worked through SARS in an active treatment hospital. Not fun. Totally NOT FUN.
Don't want to do that again.

I have given "last resort" antibiotics many times, and just pray they work.

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Anonymous said...

Keeping our lifestyle in a healthy way can make our immune system stronger. We must realize that our immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. It's our main defense against germs and micro-organisms which cause infections that can lead to dreaded disease.

Learn more about your immune system and how it protects your body from infections by watching this video. Click http://www.symposier.com/video/3364/INFECTION-FIGHTERS

Antibiotics said...

We should also don't forget about bad antibiotics, which can cause some side effects

Anonymous said...

Alot of your immune system comes from the gut, anti-biotics kill that off too, which has to be replenished, if its doesn't your immune system is weaker. This has been indicated many a time. I've read time and time again that a large portion of your immune system comes from the good bacteria residing in your gut. Many vitamins e.g. Biotin are produced by good bacteria in the gut, this is seriously compromised when using anti-biotics. So whilst their use is still necessary post-anti biotics you should look to rebuild the gut.

Anonymous said...

Alot of your immune ability (note not system) comes from the gut, anti-biotics kill that off too, which has to be replenished, if it doesn't your immune ability is weaker. This has been indicated many a time. I've read time and time again that a large portion of your immune ability comes from the good bacteria residing in your gut. Many vitamins e.g. Biotin are produced by good bacteria in the gut, this is seriously compromised when using anti-biotics. So whilst their use is still necessary, post-anti biotics you should look to rebuild the gut.