Sore Throat? Antibiotics Useless and Dangerous in Most Cases


Got a sore throat? You are not alone this time of year. However, before you rush off to the doctor for an antibiotic prescription – read this first! Antibiotics are useless in over 90% of sore throat cases. They also cause some very dangerous secondary effects.

From mid-October, leading up to Halloween, through Valentine’s Day in February, most people are consuming much more sugar than usual. Sugar is a primary immune system disrupter. With sugar consumption up and immune response suppressed, it is prime time for germs to take hold and cause sickness.

Sore Throat Season

In my practice, October and November is the time of year that I begin emphasizing to patients the importance of maintaining their immune system. The holiday season – from Halloween to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day – tends to be a long stretch of health defeating habits! Most people tend to eat more sugar, slack off with their nutrition, get less sunshine and less exercise as well. All of this spells disaster for your immune system’s ability to keep you well. It is no wonder that the holiday season coincides with the ‘flu season’!

It is your immune system that fights off bacteria, viruses and even cancer. That is exactly what it is designed to do. Without interference, your immune system functions amazingly well to prevent you from getting sick. However, it requires a healthy internal environment to do so. Limited sugar, an optimized nerve system, Vitamin D3 (preferably from the sunshine), an antioxidant rich diet and regular exercise all keep your immune system strong.

Antibiotics for Your Sore Throat?

Something else that significantly weakens your immune system is antibiotic drugs. They kill off all the good bacteria in your gut that make up a large portion of your immune system. Even when they work as intended, they come with some additional detrimental effects as well.

If you go to the medical doctor with a sore throat, you are very likely to leave with a prescription for antibiotics. However, recent research(1) from Harvard University published in JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that antibiotics are drastically over-prescribed for sore throats and acute bronchitis (chest cold). While this is the most common treatment for a sore throat, research shows that they should only be prescribed in about 10% of sore throat cases and nearly zero for acute bronchitis!

Antibiotics kill bacteria. However, most cases of sore throat and acute bronchitis are caused by viruses. Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection. However, strep is only responsible for about 10% of the cases of sore throat. Even if your sore throat is caused by strep bacteria, it does not mean that you have to have antibiotic treatment.

The Problem of Over Prescribed Antibiotics

The inappropriate use of antibiotics adds to the creation of drug-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” which are very difficult to treat and are a public health threat.(1)

Antibiotics for a viral infection magnifies their toxic effect in your body.

Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, (associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, associate physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston) said:

“Taking antibiotics unnecessarily exposes people to adverse drug reactions, allergies, yeast infections and nausea, with no benefit.”(1)

Additionally, antibiotics carry many other adverse reactions such as:

  • They kill the healthy bacteria in your gut. You have billions of healthy bacteria in your gut that are essential to your health. They support healthy digestion, produce several vitamins, as well, as neurotransmitters (brain chemicals like GABA and serotonin necessary for good brain health).

  • The usual drug side effects: rash, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, headache, drug fever, hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions.

  • Long Term Use leads to Bacterial Resistance – making future infections more difficult to treat.

  • Cause Yeast Infection

  • Kidney toxicity

  • Liver toxicity

  • Ototoxicity – hearing loss and deafness (click here and here to read more about my son’s deafness due to antibiotic toxicity).

  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) that can be permanent

Unfortunately, antibiotic drug prescriptions seem to be handed out like candy. While antibiotic stewardship programs have helped reduce the misuse of the the medications in hospitals in recent years, many people still have no idea that antibiotics carry such harsh secondary (side) effects.

What Can You Do?

First – Build a strong immune system this holiday season. See your chiropractor regularly. Chiropractic healthcare optimizes your nerve system which works to dramatically strengthen your immune system. Read How to Build a Flu Proof Immune System for more great tips. Learn to avoid toxicity and naturally detoxify as well. Toxicity is another huge immune system disrupter.

Second – If you have a sore throat, remember that there is a 90% chance that antibiotics will be completely useless. There is a greater chance that antibiotic drugs will cause you harm. Even if you have a strep infection, antibiotics may not be necessary.

Third – Whether it is viral or bacterial, seek natural healing remedies to soothe and heal your sore throat.

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References for this Article:

(1) Infectious Diseases Society of America (2013, October 4). Antibiotics drastically overprescribed for sore throats, bronchitis. ScienceDaily.


Dr. Brent Hunter
My mission is to help you Achieve Wellness! I am a Chiropractic physician with a focus on delivering the principles of a wellness lifestyle to people of all ages. In my practice, this is accomplished through providing specific chiropractic care and whole-person wellness education.

Additionally, I am a husband and father of a Deaf son. I am passionate about the Word of God, building strong families, Chiropractic Health Care, Optimal Nutrition and Exercise, Deaf Culture and American Sign Language.