I honestly don't remember the last time I visited a family physician or ingested an antibiotic because most of my common colds, stomach bugs, etc I've been able to work through on my own with time, rest, good food, and some holistic medicines. However, my son recently tested positive for strep throat and I woke up this morning with a sore throat and feeling lethargic. If I do have strep, it will be the first time since I was 13 years old, so I began to wonder if I am able to take the same approach as I do with cold's and flu's with the strep throat or is this something I must get tested for and consume antibiotics. Then I began to wonder what other common sickness require medical care and prescription drugs and which ones can the body appropriate handle itself. So out of the list below (I'm sure this list can be added to) what are your thoughts on self healing versus medical:
Upper respiratory infection
Eating right and exercising will only make you less susceptible and better able to fight off infections, both bacterial and viral. A Paleo lifestyle will not cure them.
Up until the invention of antibiotics, infections killed a LOT of people. The Bubonic plague which devastated Europe and Asia could have been cured with a simple round of antibiotics.
One thing which the Paleolithic did not have going for it was its medicinal and surgical practices. The reason why certain herbs were used for certain things was because a handful of people noticed that they made certain illnesses better. Not all of the time, though. Besides, they usually left that stuff up to a medicine man/woman, not the average cavedude. If I've got an infected boil on my leg, I'm not going to rely on herbal poultices and teas to heal it. I'm going to the f'ing doctor to have it lanced and get antibiotics to treat it.
Don't mess around with strep throat. Modern medicine is really quite useful sometimes - get tested, make sure they do a real throat culture, get medicine if you need it, and do a course of probiotics or other helpful techniques to restore health after the medicine course if needed.
I nearly lost my hearing from being misdiagnosed as not having strep throat. That was the scariest two weeks of my life - my hearing went from normal to nearly completely muted. I went back to the doctor, and they asked why I didn't come in earlier. When I reminded them that I had, and that they decided a test wasn't necessary, they quickly threw some nasal steroids at me, which eventually returned my hearing.
Then there's pink eye. Bacterial, viral, or fungal - that's also the order of painfulness of the various conjunctivitis. I had viral conjunctivitis once. It was insanely horrible. I can't imagine what fungal feels like. If you get the common one (bacterial), at least go to the doctor for everyone else's sake -- you don't want to be spreading that around.
Now, on the other hand, the few times I've gotten colds or the flu in the last decade or so, I've just grinned and bore it.
Speaking in generalities, viral stuff usually runs its course, bacterial stuff can be persistent. Get antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection. Gauge the risk of long-term damage. A cold, low long-term risk. Pink-eye - possible blindness, seek medical attention.
It bears saying again and again: paleo is not anti-modern medicine.
I'm wary at throwing too much antibiotics at strep throat since I did that in high school and ended up with an antibiotic resistant strep throat infection, the treatment for which landed me in the ER with complications. With most common infections I keep an eye on symptoms and as soon as they appear to be getting WORSE, I get myself to a doctor.
The exception being mastitis. I'm a big proponent of immediate antibiotic treatment for mastitis since moms are usually weakened for a few months after childbirth, low on sleep and sometimes having weird immune, hormone or emotional issues. No need to complicate that with a potentially deadly infection.
Depends... If you follow PHD (Paul Jaminet), he believes that nearly all chronic diseases stem from long term infection. If that is the case then you might not want to just let it go. On the other hand you have the folks that think antibiotics are the anti christ and would never hear of taking them. Personally, If I were to get sick I would let the sickness run its course for a week or so, being sure to get TONS of rest. If it has not resolved itself in that time I would then seek out modern medicine. Sure a week on antibiotics could permanently ruin your microbiota, but at the same time, an ignored infection could turn in to a chronic disease. Weigh your pros and cons.
Also, I would add, doctors are extremely educated.. use them as a resource and if nothing else a sounding board. When I do see my doctor I throw tons of questions at her and she always offers moderate insight. Keep in mind that simply contributing to this forum puts you on the "fringe," and fringe thinking can be infectious... pun intended.
Some bacteria problems can be healed through diet alone. For example numerous women will tell you that just drinking cranberry juice helps their uti's. I personally tend to give whatever I'm coming down with a week with my natural remedies and then if it's no better see a doctor. You should be able to Google antibiotic diets. Up your levels of vitamin c to help your immune system, and vitamin d. In addition to upping your probiotic to keep your gut clean. If you do take the antibiotics make sure you take extra probiotics as the antibiotics are going to strip your gut to nothingness.