Overuse of antibiotics is one of the many battles medicine is facing today. While they do an excellent job in one respect, the overuse of antibiotics can have a devastating effect on the human body and the human race.
Preventing the spread of infections has been one of their key factors, however, antibiotics being used to treat bacterial infections hasn’t conclusively proven to assist in this particular area. The main issue with overuse is the this encourages the development of resistant bacterial strains. Bacteria are extremely adept and change their DNA with time, and if this results in a more resistant strain being created, the antibiotics will become less effective. Once this process starts, the resistant bacteria multiply, increasing the resilience of the overall bacterial community and making it harder for patients to get well.
Infections becoming harder to treat has only come about due to the misuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics are helpful but only when they are used in the correct way.
For example. some forms of ear infections are bacterial, and the immune system is equipped to often fight them off without the use of antibiotics. This means the use of antibiotics in cases where they are not needed makes them useless.
Other examples would be viruses, such as colds, flu and sinus infections being treated with antibiotics. Again, antibiotics are not always suitable and no good will come from using them.
Left-over antibiotics, availability on the internet, the wish to get better quickly and the possible chance of other symptoms developing contribute to the misuse of antibiotics.
Infections can take a while to clear up and we sometimes expect to feel better a lot quicker than we should do. Always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns and would strongly advise against self-medicating. Antibiotics are there for a reason but are increasingly misused by the public. This will cause global health problems if antibiotics continue to be used unnecessarily.
Finally, if you are prescribed a course of antibiotics, it is crucially important that you complete the full course. Whilst this may seem at odds with the discussion above about resistance, if you stop the course too early, the antibiotics may not yet have had a chance to kill off all of the bacterial strains. This usually means that the strongest, most resilient bacteria are left behind, which are then able to multiply and grow further, thereby causing recurrent or more severe infections.