You all pretty much know how I feel about certain antibiotics¬†now, but antibiotics can still be life-saving drugs despite their growing inefficiency (superbugs ūüôĀ ). Sometimes, they’re excessive and sometimes they’re necessary. Here are some guidelines to follow that I’ve developed after nearly dying from an antibiotic:

  1. Look up the antibiotic before taking it

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Read all the warning labels. Know what family of drugs it is a part of (this seriously goes for every drug). Remind yourself that every drug has possibly disabling side effects and you need to know which carry black box warnings and which side effects are possible.

Just because a side effect is labeled as rare does not mean it won’t happen to you.

Despite all the side effects, taking this drug might be worth it. It may save your life. Weigh the pros and cons, but don’t be stupid. The drug that nearly killed me is in the¬†fluoroquinolone¬†family and the protocol for taking it is:

  • Only people under the age of 60
  • No one with a chronic illness
  • Do not take if you are an athlete/are very active
  • Do not do any exercise while on the drug or 6 months after (some argue this is its true half-life considering how long side effects last. Others claim that this is merely the amount of time it takes for your body to heal)
  • Only take it in an emergency (if you are not in the hospital or if you haven’t tried every other antibiotic that exists to treat that particular infection, do not take this drug)
  • Take magnesium supplements after the course if you are taking it
  • Take probiotics with it if you are taking it
  • Understand the side effects are not actually rare and they include: neurotoxicity, mitochondrial DNA damage, peripheral and complete neuropathy, tendon injury/ripping, retinal detachment and blindness, extreme fatigue, horrifying nightmares, panic attacks, random anxiety, photosensitivity, inability to walk, and more

2. Take Probiotics
Doctors in the USA are just starting to tell their patients that they need to take probiotics with their antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all bacteria in the body, including good bacteria, which is essential for the body to function properly. Antibiotics will still kill that good bacteria, but reintroducing the good bacteria is the best you can do while fighting infection.

3. Is the antibiotic necessary?
Many bacterial infections fight themselves before it gets to dangerous levels. Your body creates antibodies to fight antigens. Certain infections do not require antibiotics (finger infection, UTI, etc) if you catch it early, eat healthy, rest, and use natural antibacterial foods. However, if an infection worsens and does not seem to get better within a week (or less) and you have a fever, sweats, etc. DO NOT HESITATE to go to the ER and get antibiotics. You know what is right for your body. You do not need to overmedicate yourself, but if it is a medical emergency, treat it like a medical emergency. If a finger infection worsens, it can cause damage throughout your hand and possibly enter the bloodstream. As for a UTI, it can enter your bladder. This is rare and if your body is strong, it can/should fight infection on its own, but any infection has the ability to kill you. A good doctor will know when is a good time to introduce an antibiotic (they usually say about 2 weeks of infection), but you can also judge for yourself if you think you need medical help earlier.
People with chronic illnesses that affect immunity such as Diabetes or Cancer should not attempt to go without antibiotics.

4. Herbal antibiotic remedies
Again, use at your own risk! Common natural antibiotics/probiotics include:

Note that there are many more of these and you must take them in high quantities to have a solid effect. Consult a functional doctor, chiropractor, or naturopathic doctor for dosages.

5. Know that prescriptions are suggestions

Not your mom, just a health professional

Doctors usually have your best interests in mind and they try to prevent the inevitable, using what they consider the safest methods possible for healing (taking early action, over-utilizing drugs, etc). Many times, their suggestions/prescriptions are the best course of action. Other times, like with birth control (they are paid extra for each prescription they sell), it is in their best interest, not yours. Do your research. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the side effects seriously.

So many people ignore the packet of information a pharmacist will give them about a drug or they’ll purchase expensive prescribed ibuprofen or supplements that they may already have at home. Do your research and know that you can refuse prescriptions or request safer alternatives.

Yes, antibiotics can be lifesaving, but they also have the ability to destroy your life. From someone who is young, active, healthy and was disabled/chronically ill from an antibiotic, please use these with caution.

Antibiotics¬†are not the “cure-all” drug, they should not be used excessively, they are not “safe,” and you should also be responsible for the drugs you are taking in addition to your doctor’s responsibility. Your doctor is not your parent and your health is something that both of you can work through together as a team.

Know what drugs you are taking at all times (keep their names on a note in your phone of something) and watch out for potential side effects (even more fatigue than usual is a side effect). Take care of yourselves and good luck!
P.S. If a doctor prescribes you a fluoroquinolone as a first resort (completely against protocol), please do not demonize her/him. Many doctors are not properly informed of side effects, current black box warnings, recent research related to the drug, etc. They need to constantly research to stay up to date on every drug and every new procedure and every EVERYTHING! That’s a lot to juggle when they also need to fight with insurance companies, deal with hospitals/nurses/PAs/etc etc etc. Your doctor is hella busy all the time. Keep that in mind and if they try to argue that a fluoroquinolone is safe, feel free to do a quick google search and print out the first 5 links you see from reputable sources to give to your doctor.¬†What helped me heal? Find out here.

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Photo credit:

  • http://napidoktor.hu
  • Restless Legs Blog

Disclaimer: I know I may have a lot of backlash with this. I am not telling you not to take antibiotics. I am telling you to be educated about what you put in your body. I used to look up every drug I was prescribed besides antibiotics because I assumed they were safe. Had I read the black box warnings, I would not have taken the fluoroquinolones and I would have demanded another antibiotic. I was prescribed this antibiotic as a first resort treatment for a day 1 UTI which is completely against protocol. Doctors overprescribe this every day. I nearly lost my life. I just want to educate others about what I went through and how to prevent that from happening to others. Understand that I still have PTSD from a near-death experience and hateful comments will be deleted.
What helped me heal? Find out here.