Too Much Antibiotics May Harm Good Bacteria

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Antibiotics are very common—we take them each time we suffer from cough, infection, wounds and the like. Some people even make use of antibiotics without the prescription of a physician. This makes antibiotics popular over-the-counter medications. However, there have been claims that too much use of antibiotics can pose a threat to one’s immune system. This is actually the reason why most physicians recommend the use of antibiotics for no more than seven days.

In one study published in the Nature Journal, it was found out that as much as antibiotics are of benefit in preventing bacterial growth and multiplication; it can also change the entire bacterial make up inside our body. Inside our body, more specifically the intestines, we have a lot of bacteria. And contrary to popular belief, most bacteria are actually “good bacteria” and only a small percentage of all bacteria are responsible for the development of diseases. We have two forms of bacteria in our body—the resident flora and the transient flora. Resident flora are the bacteria that are permanent in our body while the transient flora are those which come and go.

Dr. Martin Blaser, chairman of the Department of Medicine in the New York University Langone Medical Center emphasized that there is a great potential danger of using antibiotics because of the changes that may occur inside our bacterial make up. As such, he urges the physicians to be more cautious in prescribing antibiotics because of the theory that abuse and overuse of antibiotics can lead to the development of diseases like type 1 Diabetes, allergic reactions, inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions due the destruction of the body’s protective fortresses.

Antibiotics resistance occurs when the body responds through reducing the effects of antibiotic drugs in treating bacterial infections. It happens as if the bacteria get “fond” of these drugs making them ineffective in the long run. Dr. Blaser acknowledged that although antibiotics have been very crucial over the last seven decades, many physicians still prescribe antibiotics without any consideration of its long term effects.

One of the growing trends today is through the use of Probiotics. These probiotic drugs are known to boost the ability of the good bacteria inside our body in warding off opportunistic microorganisms.

In relation to this findings, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends the following cautions:

  1. Take Antibiotics As Prescribed. This study does not mean that we can neglect the orders of our physicians. Still, they know what is best for us. However, an important thing to remember is to take antibiotics in the manner it was prescribed. If you are ordered to take antibiotics thrice a day for seven days, make sure you comply with it. Otherwise, resistance may happen.
  2. Never Save Antibiotics For Future Use. Many people practice this as they think that one antibiotic can be used for all other bacterial infections. While there are broad spectrum antibiotics, making use of the wrong form of drug can delay treatment and worsen the situation.
  3. Never Take Other Person’s Antibiotics. Doctors can prescribe what’s good for you. Do not take drugs intended or prescribed for other people and do not encourage others to take the drugs prescribed for you.

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