ANTIBIOTICS: THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD
"We must remind ourselves that antibiotics are a shared resource, and every individual should consider how each prescription or use of antibiotics impacts the overall effectiveness of the antibiotic arsenal. How we use and protect these precious drugs must fundamentally change." Arjun Srinivasan, MD, associate director for healthcare-associated infection prevention programs for the CDC speaking to a group of reporters earlier this week as part of the Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.
Not surprisingly, the South (Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana) had the highest rates of antibiotic use, while the lowest were seen in states that we often associate with health-conscious people (Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington). They stated that in America, there are just over 800 out-patient prescriptions for antibiotics written per 1,000 people (children and the elderly have a rate that is essentially 1,000 for 1,000). The gist of the statement was to warn the population that antibiotic resistance is growing at a faster rate than new antibiotics are being developed.
I think that everyone would have to admit that Antibiotics were one of the true "miracle" breakthroughs of 20th century medicine. However, their overuse and abuse has led to untold health problems here in America. I would guess that the bigger portion of that is due to the fact that although far too many doctors write prescriptions for antibiotics like there is no tomorrow, few are doing anything substantial to educate themselves or their patients about the risks and long-term problems associated with antibiotic use. I would go out on a limb (a place I seem to spend a great deal of time) and say that antibiotics are not only one of our greatest miracles, they are also one of the greatest destroyers of health and greatest causes of chronic health conditions. This is because, among other things, antibiotics kill the good bacteria that make up 80% of your Immune System (HERE).
To read Part II of this post, which goes into much more detail concerning the problems associated with antibiotic usage, go HERE.