Are Antibiotics Causing More Harm Than Good?

Antibiotics have been among of the most commonly used medications in the modern era, since the invention of penicillin and have helped save millions of lives from dangerous infectious diseases, which have plagued Europe for centuries before it. But extreme use of antibiotics in the last century has caused the creation of the “superbugs” which have developed a resistance to the medications over time. This was anticipated by the doctors some time ago and it seems a day may be coming when even very common conditions like pneumonia may become much harder to heal. The threat of infections may also cause routine operations to once again become dangerous and a reduction in the use of antibiotics overall may be necessary if the world is to remain healthy and safe of infectious diseases.

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Reports tell us that 700,000 people may be dying each year due to these newly developed superbugs and the numbers are on the rise, with projections saying that 10 million people a year may die of these infections by the year 2050. The problem is being looked into by the National Institutes of Health, but not much money is being spent on it, while the potential disaster is very real an imminent.

Why Is Antibiotic Resistance Happening?

Meat Production

Antibiotics 2While many people don’t know this, about 70% of all antibiotics are used not for people, but for livestock. They are fed antibiotics to make them fat easier and get the ready for sale, but the remenants of these antibiotics are ingested by us when we eat the meat and it affects our systems as well as the bacteria who are always trying to evolve to defeat these antibiotics.

Too Many Antibiotics Prescribed

Antibiotics 3Modern day doctors have truly started prescribing antibiotics for pretty much anything. As the name itself implies, antibiotics should be used to combat bacteria, not viruses, yet many doctors prescribe them for viral diseases as well. If this happens you should really think about whether your doctor is just trying to get you out of his office and consider not taking the antibiotic. What is more, if you do take antibiotics, make sure you complete the treatment the whole way, as you don’t want some of the bacteria to survive and grow even more resistant to antibiotics.

Use of Triclosan Products

Triclosan based soaps and deodorants have been suggested for use by many medical professionals for some time now, suggesting that they fight the bacteria in a better way, but new reports claim that Triclosan may actually be promoting development of new extremely resistant bacteria in our drains and sewers, which in turn come back to haunt us. If you have been using Triclosan based products, it may be time to reexamine this choice.

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The Harmful Effects Of Antibiotics:

Natural Bacterial Balance Harmed

Antibiotics 5As we have all heard, there are millions of bacteria living in our organisms, some good others bad. A natural balance exists between bacteria, but when we take antibiotics this balance is disrupted and this can lead to development of C. Difficile bacteria which can seriously harm you or even kill you if not caught in time. About 14,000 people die each year of this antibiotic caused illness which infects about a quarter of a million people yearly.

Superbug Development

Antibiotics 6As we have mentioned, overuse of antibiotics tends to lead to superbugs development. These super resistant strains of bacteria are often almost indestructible and much harder to fight than normal bacteria. One very common superbug is called MRSA and while it used to be only found in hospitals, lately reports have seen it spread in other locations such as playgrounds, schools and community gathering sites. These new and improved bacteria have been infecting nearly 2 million Americans yearly, killing about 1% of the infected.

New Macrolide Dangers On The Rise

Antibiotics 7In recent years, a new type of antibiotics known as Macrolides have been used more and more in fighting pneumonia, sexually transmitted infections and bronchitis. While they have been fairly successful in this, they have also been linked to a growing risk of developing heart diseases. According to some reports, one in every 8,500 patients who are prescribed Macrolides may end up with a very serious heart condition due to it while one in 30,000 may actually die, according to a research conducted at the Tel Aviv University in Israel. Additionally, doctors are now warning that even more new bacteria such as the Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae,(CRE) and Shigella have been killing a very high number of infected patients and are just as difficult to cure.

Conclusion

Both the EU and the WHO have seen this as a serious issue, both making statements that suggest the world may be entering an ear where antibiotics will have outrun their usefulness. American President Barak Obama has also proposed a budget of over $1 billion for this year that would be used to fight these newly rising infectious diseases.

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The antibiotic resistance among bacteria is becoming more and more present and real issue, causing more and more bacteria to become nearly incurable. If we are to stop this phenomenon from spreading, education and action is required to reduce the amount of antibiotics we use daily and increase the awareness especially among the meat manufacturers. The word is now out on superbugs and countries across the world are beginning to take action, so it remains if perhaps we can still stop this crisis and make healing bacterial diseases safe again.

 

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