We talk about the horrors of abusing prescription narcotics or mood stabilizers in this country, labeling them as “quick fixes” or “crutches”. However, we have overlooked a very overused and often abused different type of medication – antibiotics.
According to the online resource called Healthy Living, for the first time that we are aware of, the Centers For Disease Control issued an urgent warning about certain bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics. Our most powerful antibiotics developed today, which were intended to kill these infections, can no longer destroy these super bugs.
Why is this happening? Bacterial infections meet an antibiotic that is designed to kill them. However, over time, the infection becomes more and more powerful and will eventually overcome the powers of the antibiotic. These effects could be prevented by slowing down the use of antibiotics and in reality, the average bacterial infection can be dealt with without the use of antibiotics in many, many cases.
A Place for Antibiotics
Sadly people are not taking this epidemic seriously. The CDC has put a number to the antibiotic resistance problem, claiming that every year about 2 million people are made sick by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Of those, 23,000 die. According to the CDC, these number of death could be prevented.
Obviously there is a place for antibiotics, and the new stance on lowering the misuse of these drugs is certainly not designed to minimize the importance of these drugs. Modern medicine relies heavily on these drugs to save lives everyday. Without these medications, some treatments would not be possible.
The 30-year life expectancy jump in America was very much due to the ability to have a treatment that would fight off such diseases as syphilis, typhoid, and tuberculosis. These diseases were known for killing millions of people.
The discovery of these medications about 100 years ago also improved patient recovery in the world of surgery: As antibiotics thankfully aided in decreasing the amount of post-operative infections patients were contracting. Standard operations that used to be considered very risky, such as appendix removals, became safer and without much risk of infection.
However, as life expectancy increased, Alexander Fleming, who is known for discovering penicillin, sent out a firm warning.
“There is the danger,” he said in his 1945 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”
He was accurate as thousands of Americans are now dying every year from infections that used to be curable or treatable.
Antibiotic Super Bugs
The crisis is not only seen in the United States; it can also be seen in other countries. For example, a very well known British health official has labeled the rise of antibiotic-resistant super bugs “so grave a threat that the world is now facing an apocalyptic scenario” in which people die of routine infections.
This particular crisis is also being reviewed by the FDA with hopes of certain protocols being put in place to reduce the number of unnecessary prescriptions for these medications being handed out.
Dame Sally Davies, the U.K.’s chief medical officer with a role equivalent to the U.S. surgeon general, warned Parliament that contagious antibiotic-resistant disease is an imminent ongoing crisis and needs to be addressed on the government’s official register of possible national emergencies, right next to terrorist attacks and natural disasters, according to the Guardian.
This is a result of overzealous people wanting a cure now and overworked, overbooked medical professionals just trying to get by every day. Dealing with demnading patients and packed office hours have played a part in the “fix it with a pill” mindset going on everywhere.