Welcome to the official Newsletter of Advanced Medical Care.
We've all heard the horror stories of infections that are untreatable because of antibiotic resistance. What the Harvard Newsletter calls:
“'Superbugs' and the very real threat
of untreatable infections."
We've all heard of people becoming infected with a bacteria resistant to all antibiotics. That gonorrhea has progressively developed resistance to most antibiotics and public health authorities fear it may soon be resistant to all antibiotics. The list includes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB), and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) gut bacteria.
And the list just gets longer and longer.
According to the CDC, Each Year in the U.S.
Nearly 3 Million Americans Contract
Antibiotic Resistant Infections,
Leading to Over 35 Thousand Deaths.
Thirty five thousand deaths is not insignificant. Add to that the 12,800 deaths due to C. difficile infections caused by antibiotic resistance and one wonders why this issue doesn't get more attention in the mainstream media?
Why Do Bacteria Become Resistant to Antibiotics?
#1 Reason for Antibiotic Resistance: Doctors incorrectly prescribe antibiotics for viral infections. According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 50% of all antibiotic prescriptions issued by doctors are for colds and flus and other conditions that just don't respond to antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. This allows all of the bacteria in the body to become resistant to that antibiotic. Later when those bacteria mutate and begin causing serious infections they will retain the resistance already developed.
Why Do Doctors Issue Bad Antibiotic Prescriptions?
I can think of a couple of reasons. Either doctors don't have enough backbone to say no to a patient who incorrectly thinks they need an antibiotic, or they lack the clinical skill to differentiate between bacterial and viral infections. I suspect it is a combination of these 2 problems, compounded by an attitude of just not caring, IE ignorance and apathy.
#2 Reason for Antibiotic Resistance: Patients don't know, or refuse to believe that misused antibiotics are harmful to themselves and to others. Last week at the big annual Infectious Diseases meeting in Boston an interesting study was presented involving in depth interviews with 86 adults. They were all asked about taking antibiotics without a prescription, IE left over pills from a friend or family member. They all stated they had used unprescribed antibiotics. When asked to describe the symptoms they took the unprescribed antibiotics for, almost all of them described symptoms that should not be treated with antibiotics.
The people interviewed all described feeling that antibiotics were like "gold" and believed antibiotics had miraculous healing properties, way out of proportion to the truth. None of them could articulate any dangers associated with antibiotics, and their misuse. They reported that they would never throw away unused antibiotics, but always saved them for their own future use, or to share with a friend or family member in need.
With The Medical Community
Handing Out Bad Prescriptions
& Patients Refusing to Follow the Rules,
Will This Situation Improve?
You Can Be Part Of The Solution.
Quit demanding antibiotics.
Don't accept antibiotics unless a culture has been done that proves your infection is bacterial and that antibiotics will be beneficial.
If you accept an antibiotic just because your doctor offers it, you have about a 50/50 chance of receiving an antibiotic that is not needed, and you will become part of the problem.
Take care and BE HEALTHY!
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