School-age child

How to strengthen immunity after antibiotic therapy?

How to strengthen immunity after antibiotic therapy?

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Although most diseases and infections affecting the pediatric population are caused by viruses, a large proportion such as otitis, streptococcal angina, and pneumonia are associated with a bacterial infection that cannot do without an antibiotic. It is generally believed that antibiotics, in addition to their positive effect on disease pathogens, also have an adverse effect on the body's immunity, causing it to weaken. Let's take a closer look at this issue and think about how to deal with the negative effects of antibiotic therapy.

Do antibiotics weaken immunity?

For years, it has been widely accepted that antibiotics do not affect immunity. Today we know that it is just the opposite. Antibiotics remove not only 'bad bacteria' but also 'good' ones. Their effect on the intestinal components of the immune system is already proven and noticeable. Same as linking the work of the immune system with the composition of the intestinal flora.

Intestinal flora of a child after antibiotic treatment - what changes are there and how to prevent them?

One of the main side effects of antibiotics is sterilization of the digestive tract.

Bacteria that live in the human digestive tract include over 500 different species, some of which are native (permanent), while some belong to the so-called temporary (taken e.g. with meals). Their role in the digestive system is different - from participation in carbohydrate fermentation, absorption of electrolytes, to the synthesis of vitamins, e.g. vitamin K. In addition, an extremely important function of the intestinal microbiota (microbes that inhabit the human body) ist modulation of the immune system, including on the activation of CD4 + and CD8 + immune cells, induction of proinflammatory cytokine expression, stimulation of the production of specific IgA antibodies by B lymphocytes and an increase in the number of intestinal T lymphocytes.

Antibiotic treatment, unfortunately, in addition to combating pathogens, it also causes a change in the composition of the intestinal microbiota, which may affect the impairment of the immune system's function in the gastrointestinal tract. For example, one of the most popular antibiotics, amoxicillin, reduces the number of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in the large intestine, and almost completely eliminates Lactobacillus strains found in the small intestine. That is why it is so important during antibiotic therapy use the appropriate probiotic "cover".

When using antibiotics, the doctor should prescribe probiotic, however, it is worth asking about what would be the best and how to take it. There are various preparations on the market, but it should be remembered that only a few of them are registered as medicinal products. Most are simply dietary supplements or food for special medical purposes - in this case, it is worth remembering that such preparations are not controlled, and the composition and dose may vary significantly between individual tablets in the package.

In order to prevent post-antibiotic diarrhea, strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG are best suited, however, it should be remembered that in order for them to be effective, the toddler must take at least 5 billion bacterial colonies within a day (the number of doses depends on the chosen preparation).

How to guide a child through the post-antibiotic period?

The organism of the child after illness, in the course of which antibiotic therapy was required, it is weakened, so you should ensure that it can recover as best as possible. Therefore, it is worth taking care of the most important aspects of convalescence and satisfy the most basic life needs in the first place.

First, remember aboutadequate hydration both during the illness and recovery period.Children get fever quite often, so you should take care of their adequate hydration, which you can read more about here.

Usually tired teenagers during the illness period they eat very reluctantly, which begins to improve slightly during the recovery period. However, you should not allow children to eat everything they want - it's best not to give them sweets or salty snacks that give energy for a very short time. Instead, you can serve home-made chicken soup with a little meat - delicious, nutritious and warming up will definitely help put many sick people on their feet. You must also remember to gradually increase the amount and weight of dishes so as not to overload the children's digestive tract.

When preparing meals for a child in the post-antibiotic period, you should not forget about proper vitamin supplementation. Among them, it is necessary to take care of providing vitamin D to minors, which plays an important role in the body's immune processes. In addition to the aforementioned vitamin D, it is worth ensuring that the convalescent's diet includes products rich in other vitamins that play a role in regenerative and repair processes.

There is nothing better for body regeneration than adequate amount of sleep. Tired of illness, the toddler should sleep well, because it is mainly during sleep that the processes of body renewal occur. It is worth taking care of proper sleep hygiene: ventilate the room before putting the child to sleep. It is important to fall asleep at the right time and turn off the light after falling asleep.

A weakened body is worth it toogradually get used to the effort. In the post-antibiotic period, it is worth going for not too long walks in the fresh air, so that the existing muscles can move again. Such action will definitely give your toddler strength, thanks to which it will be easier for him to survive the first post-illness weeks in kindergarten or school.

To best survive the period of illness and convalescence, it is worth remembering about taking probiotic preparations and special care, thanks to which the patient will be able to gain strength to fight the disease and recover faster.

LiteratureLynch S.V., Pedersen O .: The Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease. N. Engl. J. Med., 2016; 375: 2369-2379Ubeda C., Pamer E.G .: Antibiotics, microbiota, and immune defense. Trends Immunol., 2012; 33: 459-466Gilliland S.E., Speck M.L .: Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. J. Food Prot., 1977; 40: 760-762Willing B.P., Russell S.L., Finlay B.B .: Shifting the balance: antibiotic effects on host-microbiota mutualism. Nat. Rev. Microbiol., 2011; 9: 233-243Malys M.K., Campbell L., Malys N .: Symbiotic and antibiotic interactions between gut commensal microbiota and host immune system. Medicina (Kaunas), 2015; 51: 69-75


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