What are The Common Antibiotics Side Effects?

By Dr. Tony Ebel DC, CACCP, CCWP

The common antibiotics side effects discussed in this article are certainly not new. When I started in practice 15 years ago and chose to focus on drug-free pediatric healthcare solutions, one of my primary motivations was how clear the research was back then that we are grossly overusing antibiotics in children. 

I first began educating my patients through consults and in-office workshops on the dangers of antibiotics, especially in kids under the age of 2 or 3, and back then, parents were unfortunately surprised to learn how clear the research has been on this topic for so long. Additionally, they were frequently frustrated and upset with their pediatricians for not providing them with that information when continually prescribing antibiotics to their children for simple things such as ear infections, sinus infections, and other regular respiratory illnesses. 

Then over the years, major publications like this Time magazine article helped to get the word out on a larger scale. Today we have to ask the question – has much changed with the antibiotic prescribing habits of the average pediatrician and family practice doctor?  

When we first shared this data and information with Colton’s mom, after he battled RSV, sinus infections, chronic cough, and asthma for his first 3 years… she was blown away that her doctor had never once mentioned each round of antibiotics was likely to weaken his already suppressed immune system further, and that most of his sinus and respiratory infections were likely viral anyway. 

That is one of the most obvious reasons why millions of antibiotics are prescribed to kids today unnecessarily – they are viral infections, not bacterial ones. 

While it’s taken decades for standard medical organizations to update and change their guidelines around antibiotics for pediatric respiratory infections, it seems it will take decades more for practicing doctors to change their habits. We see proof of that in this study on bronchitis and bronchiolitis; there are many more like it around ear infections, sinus infections, and more.   

While that is a frustrating current reality, parents, you don’t have to wait. You can always educate and empower yourself by reading articles just like this one (and the links within it), and also can always switch your family’s care to a doctor who is up-to-date with the current research and practice guidelines around antibiotics. 

If your child’s doctor does not look to and recommend drug-free solutions and actions first, it may be time to look for a new doctor with a new approach. 

What are Common Short-Term Antibiotics Side Effects?

These are quite commonly known and are more likely to be communicated to you by a standard pediatrician or family doctor. Most are mild to moderate, but as you’ll see near the bottom of the list, they can also become quite severe and dangerous for kids. 

  • Allergic reaction
    • a raised, itchy skin rash (urticaria or hives)
    • coughing
    • wheezing
    • tightness of the throat, which can cause breathing difficulties
    • feeling lightheaded or faint
    • wheezing
    • a fast heartbeat
    • clammy skin
    • confusion and anxiety
    • collapsing or losing consciousness
  • Severe Aches/Pains
    • tendon, muscle, or joint pain – usually in the knee, elbow, or shoulder
    • tingling, numbness, or pins and needles
    • Sometimes this can be permanent
  • Heart Problems
    • swollen ankles, feet, and legs (oedema)
    • new heart palpitations (heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable)
    • sudden shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    • hives
    • skin pain
    • fever
    • cough
    • swelling of your face or tongue
    • pain in your mouth and throat
  • Bleeding
  • Tendonitis
  • Seizures

Are Antibiotics Effective?

The good news here is that places like the Cleveland Clinic and other medical organizations are starting to become much more forthcoming with all this information, and also, many pediatricians and family doctors have updated their prescribing habits, holding back from antibiotics for things like colds, ear infections, flu, bronchitis, and so forth. 

They’ve even published an incredible article and list here, which also includes this fantastic quote that tells the truth in the most point-blank and clear way: 

The bottom line is that taking antibiotics for most acute upper respiratory tract infections does little or no good, and the downsides are real. 

What Are The Long-Term Antibiotics side effects?

What are The Common Antibiotics Side Effects? | PX Docs

This is where we feel strongly the conversation needs to shift to, and more parents deserve to be made aware of this long and serious list of long-term antibiotics side effects. 

Additionally, parents need to know that the two factors that come into play here are the child’s age and how many previous rounds of antibiotics they’ve had. It’s super simple math in that the younger a child is (especially under age 2 or 3). If they’ve had many rounds of antibiotics before, their risk of long-term side effects increases significantly. 

Multiple issues make up long-term problems, and we’ll focus on the primary ones here in this article: 

  1. Antibiotic resistance
  2. Disruption of the gut microbiome
  3. Imbalance of neurotransmitters

This ​​MedicineNet Article does a great job of explaining the simple and important point, that if antibiotics are continually taken for smaller issues early in life, they won’t be as helpful later on for helping with serious, life-threatening issues. 

Additionally, we know that the gut microbiome is essential to our overall immune system. Therefore disruption of it by the overuse of antibiotics is a big deal. Research like this has explored the link between this issue and things like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity later in life. Those three diseases are the leading causes of morbidity, skyrocketing healthcare costs, and early death.

What if so much of the poor health adults are experiencing in today’s modern world began to set up shop and take root back in our early childhood years? That is what the most modern and accurate research and scientific understanding is beginning to show us clearly. 

And there is a neurological link as well. The overuse of antibiotics is a huge component of our Perfect Storm concept and educational workshop since we know that overuse and disrupted gut function can also alter the absorption and production of key neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are essential for mental, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive health.  

How to Care For Kids Without Antibiotics

Nearly every single parent we meet and talk with today wants the answer to this question – what can I do besides antibiotics and drugs? And the best news is this – a lot! 

While most articles, blogs, and Facebook Groups will direct you to natural options like probiotics, supplements, vitamins, herbs, and essential oils (all of which are awesome and helpful), the one thing millions of parents are seeking out and having incredible experiences with more so today than ever before is Pediatric Chiropractic. 

Now the key to understanding here is that not all chiropractors are trained and experienced in pediatrics, as most specialize in back pain, neck pain, spinal conditions, and sports injuries and do a fantastic job of helping adults improve without drugs for those conditions and health challenges. 

You can read more about the exact role of a Pediatric Chiropractor and our 5 Step Clinical Process at that link on our website, but when it comes to helping with respiratory infections and immune challenges, things are honestly super simple to understand. 

Pediatric Chiropractors can help a child’s nervous system and overall physiological function improve and better hold off and clear out respiratory and immune challenges in 3 main ways: 

  1. Increased ‘plumbing’ and drainage of the ears, sinuses, lymphatic system, throat, lungs, and gut 
  2. Lessening the sympathetic fight-or-flight response of the body, which leaves it in a pro-inflammatory and immune-suppressed state   

By improving the ‘plumbing’ and ‘wiring’ of the body… a child and patient is often able to clear out congestion, inflammation, and infection faster and more efficiently… all without the use of dangerous and overused antibiotics and other medications. 

For those parents that want to learn even more and better understand the science behind Pediatric Chiropractic, the first component is further described here in this article on subluxation, and the neurological imbalance piece is called dysautonomia.   

Those are the first things Colton’s mom noticed when he started to get adjusted and receive regular Pediatric Chiropractic care. Now when he would start to get congested and have his breathing restricted, things didn’t stay stuck and get worse… they actually cleared out and calmed down much faster and much easier with each and every adjustment. 

Soon not only was he getting over colds and illnesses much faster and without antibiotics and inhalers, but he wasn’t getting them at all! Now Colton (and his brother Knox, who struggled with chronic constipation before getting adjusted) is back to living life full out the way God designed him, and he loves to… playing every sport under the sun, from baseball to basketball to football! 

Find Your Local Pediatric Chiropractor Today

Our PX Docs network is a worldwide group of trained and ready Pediatric Chiropractic experts who can provide those drug-free, natural options you have long been looking for! 

Simply visit our directory here, plug in your city or zip code… and book your consultation and examination right away! 

Cox LM, Blaser MJ. “Disrupting the Microbiome: The Persistent Effects of Antibiotic Administration on the Microbiota.” Annual Review of Microbiology. 2017;71:121-138.

Chng HR, Tan BH, Lee BW, et al. “Early-life Antibiotic Exposure and the Development of Asthma: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2016;137(5):1371-1380.e4.

Antibióticos en la primera infancia y el riesgo de obesidad. “Revista Española de Cardiología.” 2011;64(11):1015-1024.

Verstappen G, Trzcinski K, De Angelis M, et al. “Impact of Antibiotic Exposure in the First 2 Months of Life on the Development of Asthma and Allergies: A Birth Cohort Study.” Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. 2013;24(1):40-47.

Fanaro S, Jelinek J, Stahl B. “Gut Microflora and Probiotics in Infants.” Acta Paediatrica. 2002;91(10):964-968.

Antibiotics.” Cleveland Clinic. 2016

Sheil, C. Jr. MD, FACP, FACR. “What Are the Side Effects of Taking Antibiotics Long-Term.” MedicineNet. 2018

About the Author
Dr. Tony Ebel is the lead writer and educational guide for PX Docs. He is a Certified Pediatric + Wellness Chiropractor with 15 years of clinical experience. In addition, Dr. Tony has been teaching and training other Pediatric + Family Chiropractors for the past 10+ years, primarily teaching the clinical protocols he created for pediatric neurodevelopmental challenges such as Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Epilepsy, Anxiety, and more. This clinical program is now taught in collaboration with the Life University Postgraduate Department and has over 500 graduates. Dr. Tony’s passion is educating, empowering, and informing parents about the nervous system's role in natural, drug-free healing for all pediatric conditions and cases.


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