Overuse of antibiotics is making bacteria more sinister than ever. What can you do about it?
A Powerful Game Changer…
It’s hard to imagine that a hundred years ago, there were no antibiotics. Antibiotics are a group of medications that kill bacteria that can cause serious illness and even death. In a world before antibiotics, people of all ages, especially babies, children, and the elderly died from what today we consider run-of-the-mill infections, either inside the body or on the skin. Baruch Hashem, since the discovery of antibiotics, many people have been saved from considerable harm and death due to infections ravaging their bodies.
...And A Growing Danger
Taking antibiotics in excess, taking them incorrectly, or taking them for viral infections that don’t respond to antibiotics, is causing a disturbing reality: the upsurge of harmful bacteria that are stronger and more powerful than ever before. These are antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As scary as it sounds, it’s true. Overuse of antibiotics is making bacteria more sinister than ever. What can you do about it?
- Follow instructions carefully. Never stop taking antibiotics that your doctor prescribed, even if you feel better. Take them for the full course your doctor recommended.
- Never share your antibiotics with others. If they have a viral infection, antibiotics won’t cure the problem, and you will just be contributing to creating more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Even if they do have a bacterial infection, different infections need different antibiotics. You need a lab to figure out which is the right match.
- Ditto for taking antibiotics from someone else without a doctor’s approval. Even if you think you have the exact same thing as your friend, get it checked out by a doctor.
How do they work?
Antibiotics attack bacteria in two ways.
The first way is by preventing the bacteria from reproducing, thereby halting the infection in its tracks. The body’s natural immune system can pick up from there and take care of the rest.
The other way antibiotics work is by destroying the structure of the bacterial cells and actually killing the bacteria. Dead cells can’t cause additional damage.
Stay healthy and well!
DID YOU KNOW?
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause about 2 million infections every year in the USA, leading to 23,000 deaths annually.
Most people get sick from a virus more often than they do from bacteria. So while strep throat, for example, needs to be treated with antibiotics, most sore throats are viral and do not require antibiotics.
Some strong kinds of antibiotics can only be administered intravenously, which means right into the bloodstream, using an IV. This kind of treatment usually takes place in a hospital for a duration of several days or longer.
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 850)
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