The Problem With Antibiotics

James Schafer

Background Information

Bacteria are single-celled organisms found all over the inside and outside of our bodies. Many bacteria are not harmful. In fact, some are actually helpful, including the majority of bacteria that live in our intestines (guts). However, disease-causing bacteria can cause illnesses such as strep throat. Viruses, on the other hand, are microbes that are even smaller than bacteria that cannot survive outside the body's cells. They cause illness by invading healthy cells and using the cell to reproduce.

Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, are drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria in both humans and animals. Antibiotics fight these infections either by killing the bacteria or making it difficult for the bacteria to grow and multiply. They do this by either directly attacking the bacteria's cell wall or infiltration the bacteria. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses.

Why Should I Care?

Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Antibiotic resistance can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become dangerous infections, prolonging suffering for children and adults. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread to family members, children, and co-workers, and may threaten your community. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to kill and more expensive to treat. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death. Because of their ability to replicate extremely fast, they become harder to cure. The new generation can mutate and shove away the antibiotic that is supposed to neutralize it. Babies are particularly vulnerable to these bacteria because their immune systems are not fully developed.

What Can I Do To Stop This?

You can help stop this problem by trying to find symptom relief that does not use antibiotics. Home remedies should always be your first choice in order to not add extra antibiotics into your system. Second, buy meat that is antibiotic free. Many companies are trying to move away from antibiotic meat. Third, never save antibiotics from a previous illness or pressure your healthcare professional into giving you antibiotics. Finally, Ask your healthcare professional about vaccines for illness that may require antibiotics.