Are antibiotics dangerous in 2020?

Are antibiotics dangerous in 2020?

Despite its relatively recent appearance, antibiotics quickly gained popularity and became practically a “cure for everything” among the people. This is due to the fact that the discovery of antibiotics was a powerful breakthrough in the field of medicine. However, another part of the population believes that antibiotics are a real poison that even a severe bacterial infection that threatens life will not force them to take.

We will give answers to several popular questions about antibacterial drugs. Perhaps this will help to look at the problem more objectively, without becoming careless and not turning into alarmists.

What happened before the antibiotics?

It must be understood that before the discovery of antibiotics, everything was bad. Even more. The ideas known to every three-year-old child today thanks to an advertisement for antibacterial soap were not at all common then. The thing is that no one knew about the existence of bacteria. For the first time they were able to make out in an optical microscope only in 1676. But even after that, no one could prove that they were the causative agents of disease for a long time until 1850. Then Louis Pasteur, who invented pasteurization, coped with this task.

In the wake of interest in the influence of bacteria on the occurrence of diseases, mortality from open wounds and childbirth has been dramatically reduced. Doctors began to disinfect hands and tools (previously it was not considered mandatory), Koch received the Nobel Prize for the study of tuberculosis, and Fleming synthesized penicillin in 1928 and proved its effectiveness.

Interestingly, before work on the description of the antibacterial properties of drugs already existed.

These examples proved the effectiveness of the use of microbes in a war with each other and provoked the appearance of a huge number of antibiotics: today the number of compounds known to us reaches 7000! However, over the past 40 years, no breakthroughs in the search for new antibiotics have been observed. It is important to understand that bacteria have a monstrous handicap in this war: they are incredibly more ancient organisms and they had a monstrous amount of time to develop sophisticated mechanisms of influence on other living beings.

Do antibiotics, like any “chemistry”, do not kill the body?

The news is for fans of plantain, dripping tea in the eye: antibiotics exist about as much as bacteria and fungi exist. That is a very, very, very long time. The fact is that they were not invented, they were opened. That is, literally found. In the process of co-evolution, bacteria and fungi developed new types of weapons for effective counteraction. We just accidentally discovered them, figured out what specifically helps, and were able to isolate and purify the desired substance.

People do not invent antibiotics, scientists do not “look for” them, then to produce. Just armed with modern methods, we know that not a whole piece of moldy bread helps, but a certain substance secreted by mold.

How do ANTIBIOTICS work?

There are two large groups of antibiotics – bactericidal and bacteriostatic. The former kill bacteria, the latter prevent them from multiplying. Bactericidal agents attack the cell walls of bacteria, destroying them entirely.

Bacteriostatic ones use more subtle approaches. For example, by restricting cell nutrition to certain substances necessary for the production of second DNA, thereby preventing cells from dividing, or disrupting the functioning of RNAs that translate information from the original DNA to replicated. Then the information will be transmitted incorrectly and division will not happen either.

If you often had to be treated for infections or at least watch medical series, you know that there are still antibiotics of the “wide” and “narrow” spectrum. From the name it is clear that the former suppress many types of bacteria, while the latter are aimed at combating a particular group.

The problem is that there are so many pathogens that it can be very difficult to identify a specific type of bacteria. For example, with bacterial acute respiratory infections, the time to determine the exact type of bacteria coincides with the time during which the immune system usually copes with the disease.

What do they treat?

As the name suggests, antibiotics fight bacterial infections. Naturally, not all antibiotics help against all diseases, it is often difficult to find an adequate solution, but medicine did not stand still throughout the twentieth century, today’s drugs are much more effective and safer than their predecessors. When it became clear that bacteria could evolve in a matter of years and stop responding to antibiotic treatment, doctors began to study the effect of drugs in more detail, trying to deliver more targeted strikes.

In addition to bacterial infections, there are also viral ones. Here antibiotics, alas, are useless. The fact is that viruses are a completely different realm of living beings acting on fundamentally different mechanisms.

In a simplified form, we can say that viruses invade cells and make them “work for themselves,” and then destroy them and look for the next victim. Theoretically, acting on a cell, you can stop the virus that infected it. But how to teach a medicine to attack only infected cells? The task, to put it mildly, is not an easy one. Antibiotics in this case will do more harm than good.

However, according to some reports, 46% of our compatriots are sure that treating viral infections with antibiotics is normal and effective. In general, it is important to understand that the human body is quite able to cope with most bacterial infections. We have a complex and extremely developed fight system, part of which, for example, is heat – the temperature of your body is raised not by the disease, but by the immunity itself, it is as if trying to “smoke” the enemy.

Should I take them?

Do not forget that antibiotics in a relatively short period of their use could save hundreds of millions of lives. There are diseases and cases when antibiotic treatment is the only reasonable way out. But it was the effectiveness of such drugs that played a cruel joke with humanity: they began to be prescribed to everyone. Indeed, if there is such an effective medicine, why not give it to people at the first suspicion of an infection? What if it helps?

In order to understand what this led to, you need to understand that the causative agents of the disease also do not stand still. Like any other living organism, they tend to live and multiply. Starting treatment with antibiotics, we create standard conditions for natural selection: heritability of characters, a closed population and the risk of extinction. Due to individual variability, the susceptibility to antibiotics for each bacterium may vary. In this case, naturally, the bacteria with low “resistance” will be the first to die, and those with a more serious susceptibility will be able to survive and share.

The next generation will be more effective in resisting antibiotics, because it will inherit increased resistance from the “parent”.

Now imagine that a person at this time also periodically forgets to take pills. This means that it reduces the concentration of the antibiotic in the body, allowing even more bacteria to survive. Then he completely stops drinking the medicine, because he “didn’t help” or, on the contrary, “became better”. At the exit, we get a person infected with a bacterial infection that can be transmitted by airborne droplets, which also resists antibiotics. And this is just one patient in a short time!

Doctors call antibiotics “the irreplaceable resource of mankind,” because they will stop working relatively soon. They managed to establish the production of penicillin by 1943, and in 1947 they discovered a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is immune to penicillin. That is, the millennia of the development of medicine have allowed us to have a reliable medicine for four years, during which time the bacteria have adapted. This is an advancing race in which we have no chance. We cannot defeat bacteria, we can only restrain them.

How to drink antibiotics?

Responsibly. In fact, sad experience shows that doctors sometimes prescribe antibiotics where they are not needed at all. Some do it to be safe. Patients often “demand” the appointment of antibiotics, because in a number of areas of government they prohibit their over-the-counter sales – precisely because of the general “self-treatment”. In general, do not take doctors as enemies, their task is to cure you. Responsibly to appointments and specify why these drugs are shown to you, but not others.

If antibiotics are prescribed after tests, taking an anamnesis and clarifying side effects, you need to take them strictly according to the instructions: without violating the dosages and duration of the course. To stop taking pills or to drink them in the wrong dosage is dangerous because you will either harm yourself or contribute to the emergence of bacterial infections that will no longer be treated with antibiotics. Also, while taking a course of antibiotics, it is advised to limit physical training: for any illnesses, the main drugs are the regimen and nutrition, our immunity is set to fight diseases, help him, and do not interfere.

Continuing to train, you force your body to spend energy on the restoration of muscle tissue, which ultimately slows down the healing process.

Speaking of nutrition: some antibiotics can badly affect the intestinal microflora, so carefully monitor how they should be taken – before meals or after. Also watch for drug compatibility. The doctor must be informed about which medicines you are taking or have recently taken.

For example, the effect of many antibiotics reduces the effect of birth control, which can lead to an unwanted pregnancy even during the illness, which you do not want at all. And finally, you should not drink alcohol and forget about individual intolerance and allergies!

Who doesn’t have to take antibiotics?

First of all, those to whom the doctor did not prescribe them. Often I hear from acquaintances that they buy antibiotics in a pharmacy and take them without a specialist’s appointment, because with similar symptoms the last time this tool helped them. Do not do it this way!

Secondly, pregnant, lactating and children should be careful about antibiotics. In fact, this list is not surprising: children and pregnant women need to be careful about everything. The reason is commonplace. The concentration of the same drug after taking the pill in an adult weighing 80 kg and in a baby weighing 8 kg will differ 10 times. Children are more susceptible than adults to all substances. Therefore, self-medication with a child is strictly contraindicated.

Total Antibiotics – good or bad?

Despite the irresponsible attitude of people towards the use of antibiotics, pharmacologists are still able to find and create drugs that effectively fight bacterial infections. Antibiotics are a serious weapon against bacteria and you need to use them wisely, carefully following the instructions and consulting a qualified doctor.

As in many other areas, extremes harm – taking antibiotics for any reason and a complete rejection and denial of such drugs. In general, think with your head and be healthy!

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