It’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week!
Antibiotics and Antivirals can be amazing and lifesaving. But we as a country use them too often, and sometimes for things we could treat with something else. Working in Pharmacy two days a week I have seen a lot of antibiotic prescriptions. Some are important and life saving, some are precautionary, some to treat an infection that may or may not heal itself but patient prefers antibiotics for one reason or another, and some for recurrent infections that need an alternative to treat the underlying cause. There are many other reasons too, and we all do the best we can with the knowledge that we have.
But there ARE alternatives, and homeopathy is one way to support the body to heal itself. I will discuss today several different types of skin infections and homeopathic remedies that can be used to help. If in doubt get professional help. I am well known to my GP to go in, get a diagnosis, usually get a prescription for antibiotics and ask for the warning signs- at what point in their experience do I need to start antibiotics. Because the last few times it has been coming up to the weekend and we are a long way from the hospital after hours clinic, but also so I know at what point I need more help. None of my family have needed to take antibiotics in years, instead using homeopathic remedies, and appropriate supplements.
Supplements that you should consider for infections include
High dose vitamin C – whether liposomal C which has a higher absorption, or sodium ascorbate, you need to take this regularly. For sodium ascorbate or vitamin C tablets or powder, taking small amounts regularly every 1-2 hours, reducing if you reach bowel tolerance.
Echinacea – this is an immune modulator and will support the immune system functioning. Regular dosing at least four times a day during acute infections is important.
Olive Leaf – this has a direct antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal effect and can be used prophylacticly or four times daily as a treatment.
Garlic – best raw, this is also antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal. Chop a clove and swallow raw four times daily.
Common infections and remedies that may be indicated:
Wounds – sometimes antibiotics are suggested prophylactically. The best prevention of infection is making sure the wound is clean. Application of something like Hypercal for deeper wounds, or MEBO, Calendula or Kawakawa for shallow wounds will help too. Colloidal silver is also a natural anti microbial. You can also consider the following remedies:
Hypericum – when there is a deep wound, and/or nerve involvement Hypericum is worth taking.
Calendula – you can take this in potency as well as applying topically to help shallow wounds heal. For deeper wounds use Hypercal and orally also take Hypericum.
Ledum – for puncture wounds, especially if there is any concern around tetanus, or if the area is cold to touch.
Gun Powder – I like to add this to my regime for preventing infection or if infection is already present to promote healing.
Pyrogen – for infected wounds, this remedy is made from decomposed beef and is good for septic conditions.
Another infection seen on the skin is a Boil. This is a kernel of infection under the skin that comes up in a hard painful lump. A group of boils in one place may be called a Carbuncle.
One of the aims of treatment with a boil is to bring the infection to the surface, so warm compresses and drawing pastes like Magnesium Sulfate paste are usually recommended. In some cases a doctor will operate to lance the boil and provide drainage.
Around 2 1/2 years ago my daughter had a boil on the side of her head. Because she developed a fever, with the risk of systemic sepsis and the proximity to her brain we did get the doctor to lance the boil. However we then declined antibiotics and treated her homeopathically, as well as with High dose vitamin C. The doctor was amazed at the speed of the healing. If the boil is lanced then it needs to be treated like an open wound.
Remedies to consider for boils:
Belladonna – early stages, when the area is hot, red and swollen, and usually there is no pus or “head” to the boil. There may be intense stabbing pains.
Hepar Sulph – once the boil has come up this will help promote drainage. There can be thick yellow pus and sticking pains.
Silica – helps to bring the boil up and promote drainage. They can feel hard and nodular. This remedy especially will help people who are prone to skin infections
Arnica – for recurrent boils, the area will be extremely tender, and the person will not want you to touch it at all.
Sometimes called school sores, these skin infections can be recurrent. They can be tricky to treat, even with antibiotics and often keep coming back.
Try not to cover the wound, as the infection can spread where it is covered.
Topical treatment options include colloidal silver, garlic oil, or an iodine based treatment like Betadine.
Homeopathically remedies to look at include
Mezereum – deep redness, moist with a discharge that is acrid and aggravates the skin. Skin crusts and thickens with scratching. Itching worse for warmth and may be better for cold, but in general they are chilly and worse for cold. There may have been a change like moving house, school or a holiday and they have “lost their bearings”, and they may be anxious.
Antimonium Crudum – thick hard skin, often with cracks. Can have a honey coloured crust (like Graphites). May be irritable and not want to be touched or even looked at, often this is a protective mechanism that they are emotionally sensitive and have been hurt, so withdraw so they do not get hurt again. Warm and worse for warmth.
Mercurius Solubilis – skin that looks infected and tends to spread. They have poor resistance to infections and may have regular ear infections or sore throats. Precocious children who have strong emotions and can be irritable.
Graphites – moist scabby eruptions on the scalp, face, sometimes bends of joints or between fingers. There can be a glue-like honey coloured discharge that dries to a golden crust. The lesions tend to be quite itchy.
Hepar Sulph – moist eruptions that are itchy, skin is very sensitive and get infected quickly but take a long time to heal. They are over sensitive, irritable and anxious, and feel chilly and worse for cold.
The remedies for the above skin conditions are not an exhaustive list, there are many other remedies for skin infections, and either myself or another Homeopath can help you navigate and find the right remedy for you. When you are treating an acute infection you need to take the remedy at least three times daily, sometimes more often to start with. If you have had no response or it is getting worse after 24 hours then change the remedy and/or ask for help. If your symptoms improve then keep going until you have recovered, reducing frequency as things improve. If it stops working or if symptoms change it may be time to change to a different remedy.
As always, if you are concerned see a Doctor, and get professional support to whether you are treating with conventional medicines, supplements or homeopathy. I do acute consults at short notice, as often these conditions cannot wait, or you can contact www.homeopathy247.com which has Homeopaths available from all around the world and someone there every hour of the day and night.