Are Antibiotics Safe?

Antibiotics are special medicines that have been discovered recently, but have already saved lives of many people. Today the doctors all over the world cannot agree if antibiotics are good or bad for the health of a person.

Image Credit: nokwalai / Shutterstock

Before antibiotics

Before the antibiotics were discovered the ideas that are today familiar to every three-year-old child due to the advertisement of antibacterial soap, were not common. The thing is that nobody knew about the existence of bacteria. Only in 1676, bacteria could be seen with the help of an optical microscope. But even after this no one could prove that they are the agents of diseases. Louis Pasteur coped with this task in 1850.

Because of this investigation, it became possible to reduce the number of deaths caused by open wounds and childbirth. Doctors began to disinfect their hands and tools (previously it was not obligatory), Koch received the Nobel Prize for the study of tuberculosis, and Fleming in 1928 synthesized penicillin and proved its effectiveness.

Nowadays

Today the number of antibiotics that are known to us reaches 7000. It is easy to buy antibiotics in any pharmacy, and we use them to treat any disease. Unfortunately it is not right. Sometimes the disease can be caused by virus, but not bacteria. In this situation antibiotics can cause more harm to our body than a positive effect. Antibiotics overload your liver, and as a result it has to purify the blood that contains the medicine. Antibiotics disrupt the intestinal microflora which can lead to dysbiosis.

Doctors can prescribe antibiotics only after identifying that an infection is caused by bacteria.

How do antibiotics work?

There are two large groups of antibiotics – bactericidal and bacteriostatic. The first kill the bacteria, the latter do not allow them to multiply. Bactericidal drugs attack the cell walls of bacteria, destroying them. Bacteriostatic antibiotics use more subtle approaches, for example, limiting the nutrition of cells with the help of certain substances.

Also there are antibiotics of wide and narrow spectrum. From the title it is clear that the first suppress many types of bacteria, and the latter are aimed at fighting a particular group of bacteria. The main problem is that the range of different bacteria is so wide and sometimes it is difficult to identify what type of bacteria we are dealing with and what antibiotics should be chosen to treat the illness.

What do scientists say?

Scientists as well as common people cannot agree whether antibiotics are safe or can cause harm. Some scientists believe that it is dangerous to stop taking antibiotics if you have not completed the course prescribed by your doctor. They prove it by saying that if you feel better it does not mean that there is no infection in your body and if you stop using antibiotics bacteria would continue to multiply and, what is more important, become resistant to antibiotics.

But the scientists from Brighton and Sussex do not agree with this statement. On the contrary, they believe that it is important to stop taking antibiotics when you feel better. They claim that only the usage of antibiotics helps bacteria to evolve and, thus, they become antibiotics resistant.

No doubt, antibiotics are one of the greatest findings of humanity. They have saved lives of millions of people. They can treat the diseases that could cause death in the past. But unfortunately bacteria evolve every day and they have an ability to adapt to new conditions. Exactly because of that we should listen to our doctor and use only those medicines that they prescribe and as long as it is said. Otherwise you can harm your organism trying to heal yourself.

References:

Antibiotic resistance – Science Daily
The antibiotic course has had its day – The bmj
What are antibiotics? – WebMD
Brief history of antibiotic development as medicines – ReAct
Antibiotics – Patient
What is an antibiotic? – Learn Genetics
Antibiotic resistance – World Health Organization

Google AdWords

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.