November 22, 2013 by Dr. Sana Keller
A recent CDC report carried a strong warning for us all: we need to ‘kick up our game’ when it comes to keeping our immune system strong to avoid becoming one of a growing number of people in the US who become infected with antibiotic-resistant infections. This 2013 study reports that at least 2 million people in the US develop an infection that is resistant to treatment with antibiotics—AND at least 23,000 people die each year as a result of such infections. Many of these deaths occur in the hospital and nursing home settings, yet many occur as well in the general community setting. This number is considered a low estimate, since deaths where antibiotic-resistance was present, are typically not labeled as such for the cause of death.
This is NOT to say that all antibiotic prescriptions should be avoided, rather a realization or changed mindset that antibiotics should not always be the ‘Go-To’ answer for every cough, cold, ear infection, etc. This allows antibiotics to be used appropriately and maintain effectiveness against harmful microorganisms. Such a realization requires personal responsibility on our part to do what we can to maintain a strong immune system and to explore other possible options when an antibiotic is recommended.
Healthy Lifestyle Options for a Strong Immune System:
- Many herbs and some foods have powerful antimicrobial effects. Refer to my recent blog entitled “Surprising Options for Antibiotics” https://healthunlimitedbiz.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/surprising-options-for-antibiotics/
- Avoid eating meat raised with antibiotic use. Close to 80% of all antibiotics in the US are given to animals to prevent sickness and promote faster growth while in confined living quarters. Most supermarket meat falls into this category.
- Get adequate, quality sleep on a regular basis. Shorting yourself on sleep shows up with a weakened immune system EVEN IF you think you are ‘doing OK’!
- Maintain a regular exercise routine—at least 5 days/week—at least 30 minutes/day—aerobic/strength training. Research has found that exercise strengthens your immune system by providing a boost to the cells in your body that are assigned to attack bacteria. These cells appear to work more slowly in people who don’t exercise than in those that do.
- Make non-starchy vegetables a mainstay of your diet, with some fruit, healthy oils, nuts, legumes, organic beef/chicken, and whole grains—avoiding sugar and minimizing processed foods.
- Deep breathing can greatly reduce stress levels. Since stress is known to weaken our immune system, regular deep breathing helps keep our immune system strong. https://healthunlimitedbiz.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/keep-calm-and-breathe-deeply/
Please contact me with your questions—Here’s to an antibiotic-free year! http://www.healthunlimited.biz
Photo credits: kidshealth.org, midlevelu.com, ecowatch.com