Too many GPs (General Practitioners) prescribe antibiotics without really thinking about the consequences. The tiniest cold or infection spurs them to give their patients wide-spectrum antibiotics that kill not only the targeted infection, but also most of the natural flora of microorganisms that we all harbour in our intestines.
This shouldn't be so much of a problem -- after all, having 'the runs' for a couple of days isn't such a big deal despite the discomfort -- if this strategy didn't also select resistant forms of various infectious micro-organisms. In a microbial population, one or two individuals may have a mutation in their genome that confers a resistance to the antibiotic and allows them to survive. Subsequently, they will efficiently reproduce, passing this resistance onto the next generations that will then be able to carry on contaminating further hosts. This is more and more common these days, and the abuse of antibiotics has also favoured the rise of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, as patients with a weakened immune system are commonly given large doses of antibiotics.
So think about it next time you have a cold. Is it worth visiting your GP to be merely prescribed those drugs, or should you simply go to bed and 'sweat off' the infection the natural way?
Note: this is an article I had originally posted somewhere else. I only thought that it would also interest the little community of ASE Forums
My doctor won't prescribe drugs or antibiotics if it is viral or just a common cold. And I think that is good. Though sometimes if I do nothing, my common cold becomes more serious and eventually I do end up on antibiotics.
Your doctor is very wise. The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics should be dropped in favour of more targetted compounds that would destroy the real source of infection and avoid 'collateral damage' to other innocuous microbial species.
It's not always the doctor's fault. There are some irate parents who will refuse to leave, raise a fuss and complain forever unless Little Jimmy gets something for his earache, runs, fever, etc.
The last time my son had a stomach flu, the doctor didn't need to see him. The nurse gave use a detailed plan for reintroducing liquids and solids, and instructions for how bad to let it get before bringing him in. Guess what? He got better days before the neighbor kid whose mom rushed him to the doctor and relied on antibiotics
I have given my son antibiotics twice in ten years, once for a bad cold and once for an eye infection. The doctor prescribed them readily both times after I told him that they smelled bacterial (a talent developed from working in an immunology lab in a former life), and the conditions cleared up within hours. I am convinced this is because they were bacterial, obviously, but also because antibiotics still work on him. He has been fed them for every virus he's contracted since birth.
I generally refuse to take broad spectrum antibiotics, unless I absolutely need them. I'd prefer to try other methods first. If we aren't careful, the effectiveness of the antibiotics will drop even more.
My mother-in-law had a terrible reaction to antibiotics a few years back. She was taking them for a a persistent bladder infection and they wiped out her immune system to the point that she was literally deathly ill from everyday life. It was terrifying! (apparently unusual as well, but I am not so sure...)
I am lucky in the sense that my sons peditrician will not give out antibotics just to give them out. I have seen children where some antibotics will not work anymore for them because they have developed a resistence to the antibotic.
My pediatrician is the same, he's very careful about prescribing antibiotics. In fact, they won't even tell us to give our kids things to bring down a temperature unless it's higher than 101. I like that they want to let the body deal with illness on its own, but will act if that's truly necessary.
I have a neighbor who doctor-shopped until she found someone who would give her kids antibiotics for every ear infection, despite every doctor telling her they were viral infections. I have never seen kids get as many infections as hers. One of them had substantial hearing loss because of the repeat infections. She didn't seem to understand that the antibiotics. weren't. helping. They had to keep getting them
Some people just don't do well with the idea that they can't fix everything immediately. I think this is the case with a lot of the antibiotic shoppers-they want result NOW and can't understand why they won't be.
Believe me, I know that it is very hard to see your kids miserable, but some things you just have to get through. I blame the state of science education on people not understanding how antibiotic over-usage will influence microorganism population profiles.