Antibiotics helpful or harmful, the truth has been revealed!
Lucknow: We all gulp down antibiotics mindlessly whenever we fall sick. This can surely cure our illness for sometime but it can harm us in long run. Over usage of anything can be bad but over use of antibiotics can be fatal for you.
Taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only won’t work after sometime but it can also have some adverse side effects over the time. Antibiotics actually helps us create bacteria that are harder to kill, resulting in a situation called bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance.
A Kochi hospital has lately managed to cut down the usage of restricted antibiotics in India, saving them for the last option for seriously ailing patient. The hospital is doing better so far with no adverse effect on the number of deaths, reducing mortality rate by 24 percent.
For all of us it is a normal remedy and we never question a doctor when he prescribes us antibiotics for common flu, cold, sore throat, or virus infections. As it has became the panacea for all the virus and bacterial infected diseases, let us understand how it works:
How does Antibiotics Work
Antibiotics were reportedly first used in the 1940s and turned out to be one of the great advances in medicinal field. However, over usage of them has resulted in the development of resistant bacteria, that stops responding to antibiotics that may have worked in the past. The risk of side-effects is also there resulting in stomach upset, diarrhea or even an allergic reaction.
Mostly Bacteria are good for us such as Lactobacillus, it lives in the intestine and help us digest food. But some bacteria are harmful and can cause illness by entering our body, multiplying, and interfering with normal bodily processes. While treating a bacterial infection we often end up killing our good bacteria’s that keep us healthy.
Antibiotics actually kill bacteria and stops their growth and reproduction.
Viruses, on the other hand, are not alive and cannot exist on their own. They are particles containing genetic material wrapped in a protein coat. Viruses grow and reproduce on a host living cells.
Though our body’s immune system can fight off some viruses before they cause any illness, but others infections like common cold should simply run their course. It is to be mentioned that Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.
Why its over usage is Harmful:
As we have learned Antibiotics do not work against colds and other viral illnesses and can have dangerous side effects over time. Over usage of this can help create bacteria that are harder to kill.
Frequent use of antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance or antibiotic resistance. To treat these resistant bacteria we require higher dose of medicine or stronger antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance has became a widespread problem in today’s world.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)it has became “one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.”
In a study it is found out that bacteria that were once highly responsive to antibiotics have now became more and more resistant, such as pneumococcal infections (which cause pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis), skin infections, and tuberculosis.
Taking Antibiotics Safely
- One should let the mild ailments run their course.
- And should take antibiotics only for bacterial infections.
- Always consult a doctor and ask questions regarding the symptoms and type of medicine he is prescribing.
- Always follow the instructions given by your doctor.
- If he prescribes Antibiotics ask him if there is any alternative medicine or way to treat the ailment.
- Always wait for some time to let the medicine work for you as it can not cure a disease instantly.
- Doctors at Hinduja hospital, Mumbai, advice patients to take antibiotics for only one day before the surgery against the previous practice of taking them for a few days.
By cutting down on antibiotics the Hinduja Hospital’s antibiotic stewardship program helped it saved RS 2.3 crore per year.