All too often, antibiotics are taken when there are other therapies that should be used first. Antibiotics should not necessarily be the first line of defense. They should be the choice of last resort. Antibiotics should be taken when what you are suffering from, can’t be treated any other way.There are very few diseases that need immediate antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotics are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs the world has ever known. Ever since Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the mold in his Petri dish in 1928, the world has been finding new and better antibiotics to try to conquer the diseases that have plagued mankind forever. Thanks to antibiotics, bacteria that in days past would have killed people are now being treated with great success. Antibiotics has almost freed the United States of dreaded diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, bacterial pneumonia and leprosy.
The statistics are staggering, before the discovery of penicillin, pneumonia killed 60 to 80 percent of the people who came down with the lung infection. Penicillin lowered the rate to 1 to 5 percent. Thousands of people died from consumption (tuberculosis) before the discovery of antibiotics. Today, the number is minimal except in developing countries.
Almost every person has been treated with antibiotics at one time or another in their lives. The most common disease treated with antibiotics is ear infection. 70% of ear infections would clear on their own, however the other 30% would not and there is no way a doctor can tell if it is the 30% type or the 70% type. In small children who get high fevers, doctors will act cautiously and treat the ear infection with antibiotics. In older children with milder symptoms, they may opt for the wait and see strategy.
Viruses are not affected by antibiotics.They require a different treatment than bacterial infections. Most colds, flus, sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses and will not be helped by antibiotics.They need to run their course which may take up to several weeks.
The problem with over prescribing antibiotics is that the bacteria become resistant. When antibiotics are used, some of the germs survive. They multiply and either mutate or link up with resistant genes from other bacteria and now they can resist that particular antibiotic.This explains why scientists are constantly developing new antibiotics. It also helps explain how bacterias such as MRSA have come into being.The bacteria are developing faster than the researchers can find new cures. According to the Mayo Clinic the misue of antibiotics puts you and everyone in the community at risk.
The war has been won against many of the diseases that killed your ancestors for so many years.There are almost no deaths from infant diarrhea, postpartum infection, cuts and wounds and strep throat. The cases of rheumatic fever are down very significantly as is tonsillitis. Lyme disease responds very well to antibiotic therapy especially when it is caught early.
Antibiotics are very useful drugs, they just have to be used with discretion. Doctors need to refuse to prescribe antibiotics for colds and flu even when patients insist. If we don’t limit the use, more and more super bacteria will develop and they pose a much bigger danger to mankind in general than the good provided by using antibiotics.