Scientists recently confirmed what many of us have guessed all along: that green or yellow phlegm indicates a bacterial infection.
A team of researchers in Spain pulled together their data from a large pool of 4,000 people with chronic bronchitis. (1) They reported that:
- Green or yellow sputum usually reflects a bacterial infection.
- Clear, white, or rust colored phlegm is most likely not a bacterial infection.
While using sputum color is not as definitive as lab analysis, researchers say that this large study can help doctors determine whether or not antibiotics would be beneficial.
Only bacterial infections respond to antibiotic therapy. Viral infections, on the other hand, do not respond to antibiotic therapy.
- Typically, in the case of a viral infection, antihistamines and other over-the-counter drugs are given to stop the inflammatory process.
- Because a virus, like the common cold, is not likely to produce yellow or green phlegm, doctors can use this as a diagnostic tool.
If you have a bacterial infection, antibiotic therapy may not be the best choice. Taking antibiotics will kill both good and bad bacteria and leave your body even more vulnerable to infection.
What if you have a bacterial infection and know the dangers of antibiotic therapy?
It’s true: antibiotic therapy can wipe out the good bacteria, as well as the bad.Several courses of antibiotics can severely damage the healthy microbial community in the gastrointestinal tract - which can make the body more prone to infection, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, or fungal overgrowth elsewhere in the body. This is why many women will complain of a urinary tract infection or yeast infection after a course of antibiotics.
- When the community in the gut loses large populations of good microbes, this affects the immune system.
- This is because good bacteria play an important role in a healthy immune response.
- Beneficial bacteria communicate with the lymph tissue that is found beneath the intestines. This lymph tissue is full of white blood cells, which directly combat infection.
- Unfortunately, when these populations of good bacteria die off, this makes you more susceptible to infection.
As it turns out, when you take several courses of antibiotics, you are actually hurting your body more than you are helping it. Luckily, there are other ways to combat an infection before turning to harsh antibiotic therapy.
What to Remember When Dealing with an Infection:
- Act quick! At the first sign of an infection, begin treatment right away. The longer an infection lingers, the more difficult it is to resolve.
- Modify your diet. During an infection, it is absolutely necessary to cut all sugar from the diet. Sugars and even slow-digesting carbs will all feed pathogenic bacteria.
Remember grandma’s chicken soup? Add in a few slices of ginger and a handful of dried shitake mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms boost the immune response and enhance flavor. If you are looking for nourishment, eat small bowls of this homemade chicken broth and forget about the soup crackers or bread.
- Get twice as much good bacteria into your diet. This is because good bacteria are a part of a healthy immune response. When you drink extra fermented coconut water kefir, this builds up your good army in order to fight off the invaders.
It is always a good idea to have an extra bottle of InnergyBiotic or another fermented beverage on hand. These fermented beverages quickly deliver a large quantity of active microbes to the gastrointestinal tract.
- Get plenty of rest. Stress and stressors, even a daily cup of coffee or black tea to kick start your morning, will all hamper a healthy immune response.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
If you have signs of a bacterial infection, like green or yellow phlegm, antibiotic therapy may be recommended by your doctor. However, antibiotic therapy poses a danger because it kills both good and bad bacteria. This can make your body even more susceptible to infection and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Here are several steps to take to treat a bacterial infection the right way:
- Act quickly. Begin treatment at the first sign of infection.
- Change your diet. Eliminate sugar that could feed pathogenic bacteria.
- Get two times as much good bacteria in your diet. This will build up a healthy immune response.
- Get enough rest to boost your immune system.
- Miravitlles, M., et al. Sputum colour and bacteria in chronic bronchitis exacerbations: a pooled analysis. Eur Respir J 2011. erj00421-2011; published ahead of print 2011.
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