Use them and lose them: finding alternatives to antibiotics to preserve their usefulness

Use them and lose them: finding alternatives to antibiotics to preserve their usefulness

Since we are deficient in our ability to fight off infections due to CLL's impact on our immune system, we are more likely to need antibiotics to help us recover from bacterial infections. We may also need to have prophylactic antibiotics prior to surgery, dental work or during treatment and if we've had a splenectomy, we need to stay on them for life. Hence antibiotic resistance is a much more serious concern to us than is the case for the general public. Unfortunately bacteria are selected for resistance every time we use an antibiotic, so by finding alternatives to antibiotics, we can preserve their usefulness for when it really counts. Christine Carson, Research Associate at the University of Western Australia &, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research provide a short overview of non-antibiotic bacteria killers we may be able to use - with our medical team's approval, in place of antibiotics:

Ideally, we should do what we can to avoid bacterial infections in the first place, but that's far easier said than done...


Photo: Centre of a Livingstone daisy


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6 Replies

  • Dear Neil,

    I have oil of oregano in my arsenal at home. It is a proud product of Australia. Eliminating triclosan from all personal care products is a good idea. Good old hand washing before food prep and after the "loo" can not be over estimated in keeping us safe. Not using antibiotics when you don't need them so they will work when you do need them. Excellent article and a good reminder for all of us.


  • This is very positive in the light of all the scary stories about AB resistance.

  • One of my CLL acquaintances who has high-risk disease has used oil of oregano for years. She is consistently able to avoid antibiotics.

    A pharmacist once told me honey and lemon have antibiotic-like properties.

  • Hi marcyh 😄

    Need some caution on raw or unpasterized is generally not recommended to be ingested by immunocompromised patients, certainly not those who are neutropenic... or in active treatment.

  • Thanks. That's a long list. I didn't know...

  • Antibiotic resistance discovered in the guts of ancient mummies:

    The gut bacteria inside 1000-year-old mummies from the Inca Empire are resistant to most of today’s antibiotics, even though we only discovered these drugs within the last 100 years:

    Seems to me that this shows that a small proportion of bacteria maintain genes in their DNA, providing them with the capability to resist antibiotics. These bacteria selectively survive (natural selection of existing capability, not evolution of a new capability) when antibiotics are present in the environment and can become the dominant variety. Perhaps restricting the current excessive use of antibiotics and cycling through different varieties of antibiotics over time can buy us more time with the antibiotics we already have.


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