overuse of Antibiotics
By:Daniel T and Nicole C
Antibiotics are commonly used in livestock and to combat viral infections and non-deadly bacterial infections.
Antibiotics have no effect on viral infections, such as the common cold, but it is estimated that around 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessarily prescribed. Antibiotics are commonly used in livestock rearing to promote the growth and health of livestock animals. By killing the flora that normally inhabit the animals' intestines, antibiotics allow animals to utilize their food more effectively.
Pros of Antibiotics
- Can treat many infections: antibiotics can treat a wide variety of infections such as strep throat, tonsillitis, and sinusitis.
- Easy to take you usually take them orally or a injection.
- Very Cost-effective
Cons of Antibiotics
- Allergic reactions, you may be extremely allergic to some types of antibiotics so it may be more difficult to find a suitable medication for your illness.
- Drug-resistant bacteria: if you do not take the full dose of an antibiotic, it only kills some of the bacteria in your system and can make the rest antibiotic-resistant, which means antibiotics may not work as well for you in the future.
- Potential side effects: while many antibiotics have few side effects, some can trigger nasty problems such as digestion issues, discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, and sensitivity to light.
Antibiotics for Livestock
The use of antibiotics in livestock causes large amounts of antibiotics to be present in meat and other products. Millions are exposed to these antibiotics such as tetracycline, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and anorexia in humans. The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics not only destroys what humans consider to be "bad" bacteria, but also kills the "good" bacteria that live in the human digestion system and aid in the digestion of food. The diminishing of the human microbiome, as the many species of good bacteria inhabiting the human body are collectively called, has decreased human's ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients. In an age where hunger and poverty still affect so many people, the maintenance of the human microbiome and our ability to process food is more important than ever before.
Is it worth it?
When deciding whether to take antibiotics for an illness, it is important to remember that there are both pros and cons of antibiotics, and you should keep both in mind. Before deciding whether antibiotic use is a good idea for your specific illness, you should visit your doctor, as he or she can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Your doctor can also discuss the potential pros and cons of antibiotics with you
Antibiotics for Humans
Antibiotics have harmful side effects on the human body, as one in every five emergency vehicle visits are for adverse drug events involving antibiotics, but their overuse has helped many strains of bacteria greatly. However, the strains of bacteria that have become stronger due to evolution and antibiotic resistance are not the strains of bacteria that aid in digestion. Rather, these strains of bacteria are those that cause pandemics around the globe. When an antibiotic kills off much of the bacteria in a patient's body, the few bacteria that survive develop resistance to the antibiotic and are allowed to survive in order to pass on these resistant genes. The number of people who catch antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria has now increased to around 2 million people every year in the U.S. alone. Of these 2 million people, more than 23,000 die
Now, bacterial strains have gone beyond merely being resistant to a single type of antibiotic. New multidrug resistant bacteria, commonly called superbugs, have been becoming more and more common. Deadly strains such as MRSA, VRSA, ESBL (extended spectrum beta-lactamase), VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) and MRAB were described by a World Health Organization report released April 2014 to be a "serious threat [that] is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance—when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections—is now a major threat to public health."