ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Dangers of Antibiotics

Updated on June 13, 2011

The Dangers of Antibiotics

Many of us at one time or another have taken antibiotics for an infection. The antibiotic is supposed to serve as a weapon of defense against a bacterial infection trying to attack.

Antibiotics have been heralded in the past for their abilities to cure illnesses that would otherwise cause serious health problems and even death. In the past two decades especially though, antibiotics have been over-prescribed and overused to the point where bacteria are now fighting back with a vengeance.

Antibiotic Resistant Strains Emerging

There are now infections that are running rampant with a resistance to nearly every antibiotic available.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) are two such staph infections, and the cases seen in emergency rooms across the country are growing in numbers.

Over-prescribing and Misuse of Antibiotics

The sad fact is, many doctors admit to prescribing antibiotics to patients because the patients themselves insist on it. We have become a society that "takes a pill" for everything, and if something is wrong we believe there should be medicine to cure it quickly.

The old days of "sweating it out" are considered archaic... now it's an antibiotic for every sniffle and cough. Most doctors agree that minor infections will clear on their own, but will often prescribe an antibiotic to a patient insisting on medicine... and the pharmaceutical companies certainly don't mind!

The doctors get kickbacks for writing the scripts, the patient's mind is put at ease, and the insurance money flows. However, along with that comes the reality that antibiotics are misused.

Many times people will stop taking the antibiotic once the symptoms disappear when they are supposed to take it all until it is gone. Otherwise the infection remains and grows stronger, which in turn leads to the treatment-resistant staph infections we are now getting overrun with. This, along with people taking antibiotics for illnesses not serious enough to require treatment has brought us to the point where they are significantly less effective when they are actually needed.

Are Antibiotics Over-used?

Do you feel that antibiotics are over-used?

See results

Antibiotics Simplified

Antibiotics Simplified
Antibiotics Simplified

Introductory chapters explain the rationale behind the treatment of infectious diseases, describe a system for selecting antimicrobial agents and briefly review basic microbiology. Later chapters present relevant characteristics of drug classes, emphasizing clinical "pearls" for individual agents, and also include content on antifungals.


Are Antibiotics a Problem?

Do you feel that we have a problem with antibiotics?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      maybe this hub will keep someone (or more) from going to the doc for a cold. when i get a cold (scratchy throat, stuffy nose, no or low - below 101F oral- fever) i take zinc lozenges right away and generic dayquil and nyquil for the duration. i hardly know i have a cold and go on about my business with nary a doc visit.

      resistance is a real problem as is the high cost of unnecesary medical care.

    • kentuckyslone profile image

      kentuckyslone 6 years ago

      Thanks cathylynn99 it is good to hear from one who has experience in the area. I am sure that not all doctors and practitioners get kickbacks and perks.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      i practiced medicine for 9 yrs. if there's a way for docs to get kickbacks for prescribing, no one told me about it. i will admit, though, that i prescribed amoxicillin for things that might have been viral to keep a patient happy. one particular time i didn't, the patient called back and threatened to report me to the board of health. i told her to go ahead and thought, "they'll probably give me a medal."

    • MysteryPlanet profile image

      MysteryPlanet 6 years ago

      I believe we have a huge problems because of the misuse of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistant strains of diseases and pathogens will be a major problem in the future and will probably cause a huge die off among we humans

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, I totally agree with you, the trouble is the Doctors are now being over cautious! My brother went down the Dr. for an ear infection, the Dr. didn't give him any antibiotics, but gave him the flu instead! (he had it himself!) my brother ended up in hospital! cheers nell

      p.s. I answered your question, and got so involved I wrote a hub! ha ha

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 7 years ago

      In extreme cases, antibiotics save lives. In most cases antibiotics save doctors a little whining from patients who will otherwise accuse them of not doing anything to help them. I'm always shaking my head at people with the flu (viral) who are so happy that their antibiotics made them better in 5-10 days--kind of like their immune system. Nice hub.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      Most people do not realize the damage that creates an overuse of antibiotics. Excellent topic.

    • profile image

      Darlene MacDonald 7 years ago

      Many people really don't know the difference between bacterial and viral infections and believe they are one in the same. Education is extremely important in order for proper usage.