Antibiotics are strong medicines
that can cure many bacterial
illnesses and infections. The standard definition states that an
antibiotic is a substance produced by microorganisms that kill or inhibit
first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in 1929 by Sir Alexander
Fleming who observed the inhibition of staphylococci on a plate
contaminated by a Penicillin mold.
the mid 1940's antibiotics were available for treatment against
many bacterial infections including strep throat, pneumonia, skin
infections, wound infections, scarlet fever, toxic shock syndrome and
other bacterial infections.
the early 1950's the discovery and introduction of streptomycin,
tetracycline and other antibiotics led to effective treatment of a vast
array of formerly life-threatening infections, illnesses and diseases.
to U.S. News Online, even back in the 40's, scientists knew that the
more an antibiotic is used, the quicker it becomes useless. While most
bacteria exposed to the drug are killed, the fittest survive and pass
survival traits to their offspring. With continued use of the antibiotic,
the resistant bugs proliferate. Bacteria that have become resistant to one
antibiotic also seem to find it easier to build resistance to
are only effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. They have
absolutely zero impact on viral infections.
How Antibiotics Work
work by either killing bacteria or by inhibiting growth.
don't have any impact on viruses
such as colds, flu, bronchitis, or
other viral infections. Only your doctor can determine if you have a viral
or bacterial infection.
time we take antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant
ones may be left to grow and multiply. Repeated use and improper use
of antibiotics are some of the main causes of the increase in resistant
to antibiotic resistance include:
and overuse of antibiotics in humans, animals, and agriculture
for antibiotics when antibiotics are not called for
to finish an antibiotic prescription
of antibiotics in some countries without a prescription
1954, two millions pounds of antibiotics were produced in the United
States. Today, that figure exceeds 50 million pounds.
can become resistant to antibiotics when they have been exposed to the
antibiotic but have developed ways to fight and survive them. Then
they simply multiply and begin to cause symptoms. Resistant bacteria can
be transmitted to others and they too will become ill with antibiotic
hospitals, 190 million doses are administered each day. Among
non-hospitalized patients, more than 133 million courses of antibiotics
are prescribed by doctors each year. It is estimated that 50% of these
latter prescriptions are unnecessary since they are being prescribed
for colds, coughs and other viral infections.
unnecessary use, the misuse and the abuse of antibiotics as led to the
development of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains.
evidence is everywhere," says U.S. News Online, "Bostonians
carry resistant E. coli in their guts; a Vermont high-school wrestling
team is infected with resistant Staphyloccoccus aureus; multidrug-resistant
salmonella infects farmers and their cows; an outbreak of resistant
tuberculosis sweeps through a California high school." Recent
studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control, found that 25% of the
people sampled had pneumococcal infections & endash; pneumonia,
meningitis, ear infections & endash; resistant to penicillin, which
was once nearly infallible in killing the germs. Among children
under age 6, more than 40 percent had infections resistant to
to Dr. Jack Dillenberg, Director of the Arizona Department of Health
Services, "This super bacteria explosion is a public health crisis
of the first order. If left unchecked, we face potentially devastating
consequences including widespread sickness and death from once-curable
diseases." Smart use of antibiotics is the key to decreasing, or even
reversing, the spread of resistance.