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Learn How Antibiotics Can Harm You

Updated on October 26, 2014

Death by Antibiotic Resistance


Most of us suffer under the yoke of conditioning and have to work throughout our lives against various elements of that conditioning. The aim of this ever going battle is to find our individuality. A lot of this conditioning is simply a result of collectivism i.e. I must think and believe in something because everyone else does. This is where urban myths are created and misconceptions conceived.

While generic myths, superstitions, and misinterpreted notions can be carried through life with only minor inconveniences, the same cannot be said if they relate to health and medical sciences. One misconception that most people in the world are strongly bound to has to do with antibiotics. The common belief is simply that, if you are sick, you take antibiotics to deal with the problem.

Most people believe in the sanctity and effectiveness of antibiotics almost blindly. Very few ever question this concept. Have you ever wondered how useful antibiotics really are?

Typically, people who bother to delve into antibiotics are believers in holistic health. Their first step is to learn how they work.

How Antibiotics Work

Antibiotics are a counter for bacterial problems because they directly attack bacteria. Different types and varieties of antibiotics work differently but what they all do is target a specific bacteria or group of bacteria by interrupting any one of their vital processes. There are primarily two types of antibiotics. The first is broad spectrum antibiotics that target a whole category or class of bacteria while the second is narrow spectrum antibiotics that target only a few types of bacteria.

What Is The Real Problem With Antibiotics?

When antibiotics were first developed and tested, they were hailed as a miracle. Many people even saw them as panacea. Needless to say, there are still people who believe in that and this includes many doctors. Consider the fact that doctors have a tendency to prescribe antibiotics to 68 percent of the total acute respiratory tract patients that come to them. This number is fine up until you realise that 80 percent of these prescriptions were unnecessary.

The same problem exists with paediatricians. If you take your baby to the doctor with the expectation that he will be given antibiotics then there is a 62 percent chance that this will happen. This means that because of your expectations and subliminal pressure, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

On the other hand, if you do not have such expectations then there will only be a 78 percent chance that your baby will be prescribed antibiotics. While you may be tempted to question these numbers, you should know that they are not sourced from an unknown source but are actually from one of the most trusted organisations in the world CDC.

What do these numbers show though? They show how antibiotics are misused or pointlessly prescribed. Why should this bother you? Read on.

FDA Understands the Threat of Antibiotic Overuse

Even the Food & Drug Administration of the United States of America knows that doctors have a tendency to prescribe antibiotics for virtually anything and everything. Antibiotics, by their nature, are aimed at bacterial infections but doctors tend to prescribe them to people suffering from the common cold and flu. You're most probably wondering what's wrong with prescribing antibiotics for the common flu and flu. It's simple really. Those are ailments that are caused by viruses and not bacteria! Consider the following video that was released by the FDA in public interest.

The video is designed to help the common man understand the fundamentals of antibiotics. It begins with describing how antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly and goes on to list some crucial Do's and Don'ts pertaining to antibiotics. You can view the rest in the video.

Get Smart About Antibiotics

What Happens When Antibiotics Are Used Wrongly?

A study held on emergency department visits showed that every year there are about 140,000 people who go to the ER because of a side effect of antibiotics misuse or overuse. This is the most obvious way that antibiotics can harm your body and send you to the doctor instead of making you healthy.

Unfortunately, side effects such as allergies are not the only way through which antibiotics can harm you. Some antibiotics are inherently dangerous to specific parts of the human body. For instance, the most popular group of antibiotics (known as oral fluoroquinolones) containing Cipro, Avelox, and Levaquin are known to increase an individual’s likelihood of suffering from retinal detachment five times, according to a study conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association.

It is even possible that these same types of antibiotics will cause an individual to develop peripheral neuropathy which causes numbness and pain in appendages like your hands and feet. This problem was proven by Karin Hedenmalm and Olav Spigset of the Norrland University Hospital in Sweden.

The Development of Antibiotic Resistance


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The Phenomena of Antibiotic Resistance

Even if you set the aforementioned experiments, studies, and researches aside, you still have the problem of antibiotic resistance. If antibiotics are used too much or used incorrectly, they can lead to a problem known as antibiotic resistance which CDC describes as one of the most troublesome public health problems in the world. In fact, as per CDC, there are about 23,000 deaths in the US alone every year which can attributed directly to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance simply means that certain bacteria in your body have become resistant to the antibiotics that you have been using. While the actual process through which antibiotics develop resistance to antibiotics may be extremely elaborate, it can be described in simple terms.

Essentially, what happens is that antibiotics promotes the natural process of evolution. The weak bacteria are killed off by the antibiotics which leaves the stronger or relatively antibiotic resistant bacteria. While antibiotics kill the offending bacteria, they also end up destroying the friendly bacteria inside the body. This means that the particularly antibiotic resistant bacteria have space to grow into. These are, in effect, super bacteria that can end up being unstoppable especially since they, sometimes, pass on their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.

As children are known for using the most antibiotics, they are most susceptible to these problems. When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, the problems they cause become tougher to resolve. This can lead to further complications and even more dangerous health problems.

Its Better to Trust Nature

The human body has been described by many great men and women as a wonder of nature. It is capable of taking care of itself if given the right resources such as nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need to depend on temporary solutions. If you only eat healthy and live a holistic lifestyle, you will not even need to deal with the inherent pitfalls of modern medicine!

If you want to learn more about antibiotics, how they work, what their side effects are, and whether they've been prescribed to you correctly, refer to CDC's Get Smart About Antibiotics initiative by clicking on the link below.


In essence, we've learned the following things from the above article.

1. Antibiotics are designed to combat bacteria and not all microorganisms.

2. They can have a number of side effects especially if the patients' immune systems are already shot.

3. Overuse of antibiotics can result in antibiotic resistance wherein antibiotics stop having an effect bacteria.

4. Natural living without over-independence on technology is the most long lasting strategy.


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