22 May 5 Steps to Restore Friendly Bacteria after Antibiotics
The more often your child takes a course of antibiotics the more often they are likely to get sick, even one prescription can weakened the immune system. Gut health and immunity are intimately interlinked. One of the main reasons for this connection is the friendly bacteria living deep within the gut. The bacteria and the immune system work together to fight infections and stop the merry-go-round of recurring infections. Antibiotics kill all bacteria – good and bad, and re-seeding your child’s gut with friendly bacteria will help to restore the numbers of microbes to strengthen their immune system. Read our previous articles – 6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Antibiotics.
1. Take Probiotics alongside Antibiotics
It’s a good idea to start taking probiotics as soon as your child begins their prescription of antibiotics. For maximum effectiveness, take probiotics and antibiotics a good three to four hours apart. For example, take antibiotics in the morning and probiotics at night.
If your child is susceptible to diarrhoea when taking antibiotics, start them on probiotics immediately. When choosing which type of probiotic is best in this situation. Look for the Bifidobacterium strains, as these will help to ease the likelihood of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
2. Increase Dietary Fibre
Dietary fibre (vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole-grains) provides an excellent food source to nourish the friendly bacteria and help restore their numbers. If your child doesn’t feel like eating veggies. Try to encourage them with our delicious homemade gut-healing chicken noodle soup or make a smoothie using mostly vegetables and just a little fruit as a sweetener. In the warmer months, their favourite smoothie recipe can be frozen to make popsicles and these are especially tempting if your chid has a sore throat.
3. Avoid Sugar
Sugar plays a negative impact on gut health, especially after antibiotics because sugar feeds the bad bacteria which will crowd out the friendly bacteria. Sugar can also suppress immune function so while your child is unwell, it’s especially important to keep sugary foods to a minimum. If you are giving your child yoghurt because of it’s live cultures that support immune function, avoid fruity types as these are high in sugar and will feed the bad bacteria and deplete the immune system.
4. Fermented Food & Drinks
Fermented food and drinks are naturally rich in live cultures of friendly bacteria and when consumed support the immune system. Examples include good quality Greek-style yoghurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and fermented vegetables.
5. Adequate Sleep
Sleep and the immune system are closely tied and getting adequate rest may help to strengthen natural immunity. In fact, not enough sleep or poor sleep is linked to a higher susceptibility to getting sick. Depending on your child’s age-group, they should be enjoying 8 to 14 hours of sleep at night, possibly more if they are unwell. If your chid is having trouble in the sleep department, try limiting screen time 1 to 2 hours before bed and ensure bedtime occurs at the same each night.
FIONA STOCK | THE CHILDREN’S NATUROPATH
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Fiona Stock is a Naturopath Melbourne depends on. Fiona focusses on natural therapies for children’s health.
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