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Antibiotics

By Radracer8 Nov 09, 2013 1186 Words
Antibiotics are types of medicines which destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. Bacteria are microscopic organisms which can cause abhorrent illnesses such as syphilis, tuberculosis, salmonella, and some forms of meningitis. Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, our body’s immune system has special white blood cells which can usually destroy them. Also for the majority of people with these bacterial infections even when symptoms do start to occur, these white blood cells are usually able to fight them off. But many people do not take this risk; instead they get prescribed by doctors with antibiotics. Although this may get rid of infection for sure, is it really the right thing to do? Studies found that 70 per-cent of people infected with a bacterial disease who delayed getting treatment with antibiotics fully recovered. (2013. Overuse of antibiotics – doctors, not patients, to blame?) Interestingly the founder of penicillin Sir Alexander Fleming warned the world that less than judicious use of these drugs would lead to devastating problems. He also cautioned that unless completely necessary antibiotics shouldn’t be given out. Thus shows that in fact antibiotics are much more dangerous than most people would have ever thought.

The main reason why antibiotics are such a danger, and are said by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls it "one of the world's most pressing public health problems."(Danger of antibiotics 2013)This Is mainly because of the common misuse of antibiotics, all over the world. Are you aware of how antibiotics really work? A large number of people that take antibiotics are not and are not aware of the effects of them if not used appropriately. This relates to the article from Stuff.co.nz which says “ We need to use anti biotic, but we need to use them carefully” One huge mistake which people taking antibiotics are very commonly unaware of is taking the antibiotics for a few days but not letting it run its full course and therefore not killing all of the bacteria. Thus this leaves a 'few' surviving bacteria, this is called antibiotic resistance. These remaining bacteria have adapted to survive under the conditions of antibiotics and once multiplied create a mass number of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) informed that an estimated 25,000 people die each year in the European Union from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. (What Are Antibiotics? How Do Antibiotics Work?. 2013). THis clearly describes that its not the antibiotics that can be extremely dangerous, but in fact its the use of them and that people are not educated properly about how to use them.

This antibiotic resistance isn't only occurring because of the over use by humans. But a fact that not very many people are aware of is that over half of the antibiotic used in the US are used in farms to feed; poultry, hogs and cattle. Thus according to the environmental defence fund these antibiotics aren't even used to treat ill animals. They are used to 'fatten up' these animals faster(according to Rebecca Goldburg, senior scientist with the Environmental Defence Fund 2013)Rebecca also says "This indiscriminate and non-essential use of antibiotics in agriculture dangerously increases the possibility that these antibiotics and other closely related ones will be ineffective when needed to treat people,". (OVER-USE OF ANTIBIOTICS THREATENS HUMANS. 2013) Also large amounts of antibiotics are put into Salmon farm pens which bring a large number of other risks into play. Since pens are placed in natural sea waters, antibiotics and the resulting resistant bacteria have contact with other marine life and end up spreading into surrounding streams, lakes and rivers. This will greatly increase the chances of humans coming into contact with these antibiotics and even possibly coming in into contact with the lethal antibiotic resistant bacteria. Not to mention eating these animals which have been giving is yet another way which humans come into contact with antibiotics with which is another reason why antibiotics could cause an apocalyptic end.

However with increasing knowledge and technology, who's to say that us humans cannot invent a new form of antibiotics or with knowledge can learn how to use them properly. Mary Chan of Singapore’s Nan-yang Technology University says she has a breakthrough which could be the new form of antibiotics but without the chance of the major threat of antibiotic resistance. With the antimicrobial solution designed to attract and kill bacteria, it will destroy 99 per-cent of the harmful bacteria inside the body. The technology could replace antibiotics as the main defence against bacteria. Although as stated by the ‘Stuff’ article “As long as doctors and patients in New Zealand continued using the drugs carefully then most treatments here should continue to be effective,” Williamson said. This may be true but there is so much evidence as already stated to show the disastrous nature antibiotics really have. Although there are potential threats with the use of antibiotics the effects of ill patients not taking them also have calamitous effects. Tuberculosis is the second largest killer in the world, and is one type of bacteria which antibiotics can save people from. A fact to show that indeed antibiotics are working is according to the world health organisation in 2011. 8.7 million People fell ill with Tuberculosis and 1.4 million died from TB. However, the amazing thing about this is that in fact over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (developing countries).(WHO/Tuberculosis 2013) These low income countries can usually not afford to pay for the relatively expensive antibiotics. This means that 1,330000 people die because they do not have enough money to buy these drugs even if their lives depend on it. The Stuff article also reinforces this, where it says “It's a different scenario in some developing countries, however, where resistance to antibiotics could become so strong in 20 years, some infections will become untreatable". So according to this, antibiotics are going to need to be continued to be used, but in order for them to be a help over a hindrance doctors and patients will need to be alerted of the precautions and problems which antibiotics can cause.

So it is clear that awareness with the use of antibiotics is essential, and something that lacks from almost every user all over the world. In order to know when to use these possibly lethal drugs knowledge is key and could be the difference between antibiotics causing an ‘apocalyptic end’ or for them to continue saving lives and being effective. But in the end it comes down to us. What we do to stop or prevent this imminent future. I believe that with technology growing so quickly it is no way near beyond the realm of possibility that scientist will create a new and improved antibiotic. At which will most likely prove to be a huge advancement on what we currently have. But what I don’t know is how long it will take until people really start to take drastic actions. Because if we continue to use antibiotics the way we are, the very potential danger could occur in the very near future.

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