When they were first discovered, antibiotics were hailed as one of the first true medical miracles. With just a relatively small dose, a bacterial infection could be cured outright; not just managed or treated, but eliminated. As such, the enthusiasm led to a massive volume of prescriptions.
While many of these prescriptions were made for legitimate bacterial diseases, many were made for the unrelated and incurable viral infections. A bacterial illness that would have resolved itself within four to five days was resolved in two with antibiotics.
While this may sound like a good thing, the startling amount of antibiotic use led to some unintended and sinister consequences. Now, it seems, taking antibiotics for anything but a serious or life threatening condition may be counterproductive both on an individual and societal level.
Antibiotics are substances that either kill or slow down the growth of bacteria. There are various forms and methods of delivery, but the most common are broad-spectrum agents that are delivered in pill form. For serious bacterial infections, IV methods are available. Additionally, there are topical creams and ointments that can be used for cuts, scrapes, or infected spots on the surface.
They generally have little to no outright side effects, but may present some drug-drug interactions. For example, there has been some evidence that suggests that antibiotics can interfere with oral contraceptives. While this has not been conclusively proven, it is recommended that extra contraceptive measures be used if the female is taking antibiotics.
Additionally, the effectiveness of antibiotics can be strongly diminished by alcohol use. While drinking alcohol on most antibiotics will not cause adverse health effects, some can cause very serious issues if combined with alcohol.
Ideally, alcohol should be avoided altogether when on a course of antibiotics. If you do end up drinking, make sure to check the specific type you are taking to ensure that it will not cause serious problems.
Antibiotics: Worries and Concerns
These days, doctors seem to prescribe antibiotics with almost reckless abandon. This is due to a number of reasons. Doctors have little time and want to make you feel like you are leaving with something. Antibiotics are the simplest option, and it can help shorten a number of bacterial diseases. Unfortunately, this causes a wide variety of problems.
On an individual level, taking too many antibiotics will lead to resistance or immunity to them. This means that if you continuously take the drugs for small or negligible diseases, you can actually be immune to them when you finally truly need them.
On a societal level, the massive overuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistant bacteria. This means that the bugs and diseases have mutated to become resistant to modern medicine. Essentially, these diseases are now stronger and possibly totally immune to modern medicine. The fear is that eventually this immunity can suddenly generate a “superbug” that is both deadly and incurable.
So what should you do? Only take antibiotics when you very truly need them, and only when you know that your illness is bacteria-based. You would be amazed at how much of the world’s supply of antibiotics is used to treat viral infections (something that they have no capacity to treat). Taking antibiotics less will help both you and the world in the long run.
Did you know, Antibiotics are often linked to Candida and other diseases?