When the whole world is worried about immense threat of Covid19 Pandemic we have to think about other common threats. The growing trend toward over-medication is having dire consequences. Before health care was readily available to all, people had to deal with their sicknesses. Sometimes this resulted in failing health, physical harm, or even death.
Modern medicine has helped to eliminate suffering in many cases, however there is a price being paid for the dependence some people have developed on medical care. That price is what is known as antibiotic resistant bacteria, or as they’re more commonly known, “superbugs.”
Superbugs form when people use antibiotics incorrectly. Let’s see how it might happen.
Bacterial infections are the result of bacteria entering a person’s system and not being eliminated by the immune system. The bacteria then grows unchecked until it becomes a problem and begins either affecting the body’s functions or it begins to be attacked by the immune system such that the person is miserable.
The person then might go to the doctor and be prescribed some antibiotics to eliminate the infection. After several days of taking antibiotics, the person feels much better. They still have a few doses of antibiotics left, but they stop taking it. It is now likely that a superbug has been created.
Another way that superbugs can develop is when an antibiotic prescription is given for a viral illness instead of strictly bacterial illness. Antibiotics actually do nothing for a viral problem. When an antibiotic is introduced to a viral infection not only is it ineffectual, but any bacteria surrounding the virus or in the body will become exposed to the antibiotic as well, allowing them to grow a resistance to that particular antibiotic.
As bacteria become resistant to certain drugs, it is necessary to treat an illness with stronger and stronger medications. The downside to this is that when treating resistant bacteria, it is possible that the bacteria will develop further resistance.
First line treatments may be too weak to destroy the bacteria and with each successive treatment the bacteria, already resistant, may become stronger. Treating resistant bacteria can be painful, lengthy, and wracked with side effects. Additionally, longer treatment leads to longer contagious times, which will spread resistant bacteria further.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to avoid furthering the development of superbugs. First, you need to realize that many sicknesses just need to run their course. Medication is not necessary in most cases. When medication is prescribed for an infection, the prescribed dosage needs to be taken in full. You must always finish antibiotic prescriptions, regardless of a lack of symptoms. If by some accident there are some remaining pills, don’t use them or let anyone else use them.
Finally, consider your illness wisely before getting medicine to be sure that it is a bacterial infection, not viral. The price we are all paying for the misuse of antibiotics is high, but if we’re all aware and think about our decisions regarding illness and treatment, we can bring it down to a reasonable level, one bug at a time.