Will Antibiotic Overuse Change Illnesses in the Future?
These days, doctors hand out antibiotics quite often, which leads to antibiotic overuse and therefore, antibiotic resistance. However, how common can bacterial infections really be?
Some of the most common reasons for giving out antibiotics are sinus infections, strep throat, and bronchitis. However, there are several viral illnesses that are similar to these and are very common.
So, how can doctors know when an illness is truly life-threatening and needs antibiotics?
When is it bacterial?
Bacterial infections are contracted from bacteria in foods, spread between people, or develop from viruses. While they are not as common as viruses, they do happen.
A fever is usually the biggest sign that there is a bacterial infection in your body. But, this can happen with bad viruses as well.
It can be hard to tell the difference on your own without testing and a doctor’s eye. You should seek medical help if you are not getting better after several days.
It is important to know your body, medical history, and symptoms so that you are diagnosed properly.
Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics are not necessary 50% of the time that doctors prescribe them.
This is a large amount of misuse considering that it could hurt the patient as well as the overall population.
This concern is becoming more important to the medical field because the use of antibiotics leads to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections. As a result, if one person uses antibiotics to treat an illness, they risk spreading a resistant infection to the rest of the population.
Furthermore, this can translate to resistant bacteria in foods, leading to extreme food poisoning cases.
Why this trend of antibiotic overuse?
Based on studies done in the UK, doctors prescribe antibiotics to be cautious. It is also based on the patient-doctor relationship.
A patient’s medical history and the severity of the illness makes it a difficult for doctors to make a non-biased decision. It is a choice that can be hard to discourage, limit, or regulate.
Additionally, as Mayo Clinic suggests, antibiotics are seen as a “fix it pill” for recent generations. If a patient is really sick, they might even want to ask their doctor for antibiotics because they think it will make them feel better. However, this is only true of bacterial infections, which are rarer than viral ones.
Antibiotics will not help or cure a common cold, sore throat, or other illnesses that are just as painful and unpleasant as some bacterial infections.
The only way to determine if something is bacterial rather than viral is to see a doctor. They might swab or test the area of discomfort for bacteria. This way, a microscope determines whether or not it is, in fact, a bacterial infection.
Receiving antibiotics for viral conditions seems worth it at the time, but this will hurt you and your immune system in the long run.
It is interesting that these drugs extend the life expectancy of humans, and yet, they are changing illness in the future.
The medical field is cutting down on antibiotic prescriptions. However, this cannot be done without help from the medical community.
The general population needs to hear information about antibiotic overuse on a daily basis. Otherwise, this idea that antibiotics are a safe and easy way to feel better quickly will not go away.
There isn’t a ton of research about the long-term effects of using antibiotics other than it will lead to antibiotic resistance for the patient and entire population.
Overall, doctors recommend to take them only if absolutely necessary. If you are taking several rounds of antibiotics in a year, you should probably consult your doctor about a larger problem.