Should You Take That Antibiotic? Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Message from Milly

Greetings to all,

With school back in session and fall approaching, many health-conscious people will grapple with a dillema: "Do I (or my child) take the antibiotic, or not?"

Just a few years ago, very few people questioned the use of antibiotics for nearly any type of ailment.

Fortunately, that is starting to change, mainly due to the unfortunate and dangerous antibiotic-resistance crisis we now face.

Plus, we now know antibiotics are not effective against viruses or non-bacterial pathogens and can be harmful to the gut microbiome, liver, genes, and more.

That's not to say they're never appropriate and can definitely be life-saving.

I personally witnessed the miracle of antibiotics for babies, children, and adults in my many years as an ER nurse.

However, research clearly shows antibiotics are still grossly over-prescribed, especially for things like childhood ear infections and upper respiratory tract infections (more on this to come).

Which means it's time to get educated and empowered about your options.

In this newsletter, we'll look at three key pieces to help you talk to your doctor, respectfully and intelligently, about whether antibiotics are truly needed, including:

  • In what circumstances an antibiotic may be appropriate
  • The types of conditions that usually resolve without antibiotic intervention
  • Questions to ask your doctor if they prescribe antibiotics
  • Natural remedies that may help you avoid a prescription
  • And how to protect your gut if you do need an antibiotic

Navigating the antibiotic dilemma can be scary and overwhelming, especially for parents.

I hope this information empowers you to make informed decisions for yourself and your family.

Blessings to all,


Circumstances in Which Antibiotics May (or may not) be Appropriate

Antibiotics aren't dolled out as frequently as they once were, but research shows they are still over-prescribed.

According to the CDC, 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary![1]

This creates a difficult scenario for anyone who's told they need antibiotics, especially health-conscious individuals who understand the downsides.

So, when is an antibiotic most likely to be unnecessary?

It's hard to say, given the individual factors involved, so always discuss your concerns with your doctor.

However, research shows most unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are given for viral respiratory illnesses, including:[2]

  • The common cold
  • Sore throats
  • Sinus and ear infections

Some other bacterial infections, such as mild bladder infections, which are typically caused by E.Coli,[3] may also resolve without antibiotic treatment---especially if they are addressed with natural remedies.

In these cases, a watch-and-wait approach may be appropriate depending on the case.

However, antibiotics are still essential for dealing with certain illnesses, including:

  • Any life-threatening bacterial illness
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Ear infections in newborns or infants
  • Ear infections that do not resolve or begin improving after several days to a week (ask your doctor for recommendations)
  • Moderate or severe bladder infections
  • Kidney infections
  • Some vaginal infections
  • Pneumonia or in some cases, if a viral pathogen has the potential to create pneumonia
  • Certain STDS
  • Sepsis
  • Strep throat
  • And other moderate to severe bacterial infections

The great thing about being conservative with antibiotics is they may be more likely to work when you really need them.

This is why it is essential to have a good relationship with your doctor and to communicate your concerns and expectations regarding appropriate antibiotic use.

This makes a big difference, as many doctors and providers report feeling pressured to "prescribe something", [4]which makes them more likely to prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics more often.

We'll cover more about this in the next section.





5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor if they Prescribe Antibiotics

We live in an unnatural world, therefore, sooner or later we will all face the dilemma of whether or not to take an antibiotic.

Although many of us avoid the medical establishment as much as possible, this is where having a good relationship with a family doctor or provider pays off.

For example, my experience working in hospitals has taught me that providers who work in urgent care or ER settings often prescribe more antibiotics due to a lack of relationship and opportunity for follow-up opportunities with their patients.

In other words, if your doctor knows you and knows he or she will get to see you again in a few days, they'll be less likely to over-prescribe and more likely to watch and wait, when possible.

Plus, a good relationship with your doctor or healthcare provider opens the door for an open discussion about options.

Here are some questions you can ask if you are given an antibiotic prescription for yourself or your child:

Question 1: "I really do not want to take antibiotics if it's not essential, could we watch and wait for 2-3 days if I schedule a follow-up visit?"

Question 2: "Are there any tests we can run to confirm this is bacterial-related?"

Hopefully, your doctor already recommended these, but if not, a simple flu, strep, or urine tests can quickly confirm whether many symptoms are bacterial or viral.

Ear infections, unfortunately, cannot be swabbed to test for viral or bacterial cause. The only way to check is to puncture the eardrum, so probably skip that!

Question 3: This one relates to ear infections in children: "I understand medical guidelines, including those in the United States and Europe, now recommend a watchful waiting approach for several days since most ear infections resolve on their own. Is there any reason we can't do that with my child?"

Here's an excellent article on the watchful waiting approach to ear infections and natural remedies.

Question 4: "Are there any alternatives for my condition?" If you're working with an integrative doctor, they may offer other options (and we'll discuss some in the next section).

Question 5: "What are the risks if I do not take the antibiotic and try something else for a few days instead?"

If your doctor strongly recommends the antibiotic even after you've asked all these questions, you likely need it and should take it.

If he or she is dismissive or treats you like you're crazy or dumb for asking, find a new provider fast!

As always, the information in this newsletter is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace the advice or care of your medical provider.
All the links to products are provided for educational purposes and are not affiliate links.

Natural Alternatives that May Help you Avoid Antibiotics + How to Protect your Gut if you Need an Antibiotic

Before antibiotics, people relied on home remedies and traditional medicine, including herbs, homeopathics, healing rituals, topical applications of various sorts, hydrotherapy, heat therapy, acupuncture, movement, and nutritional concoctions for all kinds of ailments and infections.

Did these methods work every time? No, which is why antibiotics are truly a miracle drug.

However, many of these traditional remedies did work very well, especially if they were dosed and timed right.

In general, I recommend the following remedies be taken early on (the first 48 hours) and frequently during the onset of symptoms to reduce the chance you'll need antibiotics:

  • Energetix Viru-Chord with Inflamma-Tone plus Lymph-Tone I, II, or III or Drainage Tone.
  • Remember, some viruses can create bacterial problems down the road, hence why the Viru-Chord recommendation.
  • For bacterial concerns,
  • Energetix Core Berberine Blend, several droppersful a day for adults.
  • Bacteria-Chord, 5-15 drops 3-4 times daily for kids with Lymph-Tone I, II, or III or Drainage Tone. Add Inflamma-Tone for ear pain or fever.
  • For respiratory issues, Energetix Core Elderberry and Core Myrrh Blend are absolutely essential and work well together or as stand-alones. No home should be without them!  
  • Alka-C Buffered Vitamin C Powder and Core Echinacea are also wonderful for immune support.
  • If you're elderly or immune-compromised, I also recommend taking XenoForce throughout the winter.

I'm happy to help with individual recommendations at your next appointment or via email as I'm able for existing clients.

But when in doubt, you can't go wrong with Core Echinacea, InflammaTone, and Xenoforce

My general rule of thumb is to try natural remedies for the first 48 hours before considering an antibiotic.

Then, if there is no improvement, consider your options with a doctor you trust.

Here's what I recommend if you do need an antibiotic (which you absolutely should take when warranted):

  • Energetix Flora Chewable for kids: Depending on their age, double up on the recommended dosage and take them at least a few hours after taking the antibiotic. 
  • Energetix Flora Synergy is wonderful because you can flood the system with 4 to 6 caps two times a day, or Flora 12+ take 1 to 2 caps two times a day. I usually recommend staying on that dosage at least a week after the antibiotic is finished, then go back to their normal dosage. 
  • Also be sure to eat plenty of probiotic and prebiotic food like pickles, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc. during and after antibiotics.

Now is a great time to stock up on immune-supportive supplements.

To order, email Holly at: [email protected].