When You Really Need an Antibiotic

The American Centers for Disease Control, CDC, has a great column called “Get Smart”. My favourite one at the moment is this one on “When Antibiotics Work“.

With increasing resistances being a global problem, it is important that you as a patient know when antibiotics are indicated and when not. Antimicrobial resistances are a serious problem; for example since 2012, the World Health Organisation has reported an increase in resistance against HIV drugs.

When pathogens are resistant against medications, it means that the standard treatments fail. This in turn increases the risk of these pathogens to spread to others. Pathogens include different microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the US alone, every year 2 million Americans are infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. It is estimated that in Europe every year 25.000 people die from antibiotic-resistant organisms. Worldwide, it’s 700.000 people every year. Even back in 1945, Sir Alexander Fleming, the discovery of Penicillin warned: “It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them, and the same thing has occasionally happened in the body…” Scientists are already talking of an “post-antibiotic-era”.

So, start small and learn what makes you sick and find out whether antibiotics are the answer.

And please throw out that tube of first aid antibiotic ointment you have in your first aid kit, it’s not needed and does more harm than good.

Posted on November 29, 2015 by Luitgard Holzleg

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