Overuse of Antibiotics

It seems as though patients expect antibiotics to be a magic pill and able to get rid of anything that ails them. They will request antibiotics for the slightest sniffle or sneeze. However, antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and several kinds of parasites. Antibiotics do not work against viruses such as the common cold, flu, and bronchitis.

Antibiotic resistance is a problem we should all be concerned with. It occurs when antibiotics no longer work against the intended bacteria. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that has become exceedingly resistant to some antibiotics, and seems to be the result of decades of unnecessary antibiotic use or misuse. Resistant infections are more difficult to treat. The illness can last longer or hospital stays are extended, and some resistant infections can even lead to death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed.” These new strains of bacteria can then rapidly spread to family members, neighbors, classmate, and co-workers. Since the new strains of bacteria are harder to cure and more costly to treat, the CDC has listed antibiotic resistance among its top concerns.