The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. At the time, this was considered a miracle drug because it cured infections that people would frequently die from. Before this, many bacterial infections were a death sentence.
It didn’t take long until penicillin-resistant strains of bacterial infections became common, and researches had to develop new types of antibiotics. Since then over 100 new antibiotics have been discovered and developed.
Antibiotics are responsible for lengthening the average life expectancy of humans to around 80 years and have helped to save millions of lives since their discovery. However, due to reasons such as overuse and overprescribing, there are more antibiotic-resistant strains of bacterial infections than ever before. If we continue in this direction, the result will be many unnecessary deaths due to common infections that we can no longer fight with our antibiotics.
Take the time to watch this segment from 60 minutes about the antibiotic crisis to learn more.
What Are Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?
Over time, bacteria evolve to resist our antibiotics. When this happens, it becomes harder and harder to treat common infectious diseases resulting in more deaths from infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, or gonorrhea. These are infections that we expect to be easily treatable, but antibiotic-resistant strains make it more difficult to find a solution.
What Is Causing the Antibiotic-Resistance Crisis?
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria occur when the infection is exposed to our antibiotics and, over time, the bacteria evolve into a version that cannot be effectively treated by antibiotics. It’s important to look at our overuse of antibiotics and the lack of development for new antibiotics when making a game plan on how to slow the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Overuse of Antibiotics
The more we use antibiotics, the quicker bacterial infections like staph and strep become resistant to the drugs. Antibiotics should only be taken when you have a bacterial infection that cannot be cured another way. Antibiotics do not cure colds or any other viruses. The more we use antibiotics unnecessarily, the less they will work in the future.
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Inappropriate Prescribing by Doctors
Some doctors have a habit of prescribing antibiotics when they are not necessary. It has also been found that some doctors have been prescribing the wrong antibiotics for their patient’s particular infection because they do not perform the appropriate tests to find out what they are dealing with before prescribing.
It’s important that doctors begin to prescribe the correct antibiotic in the proper dosage to reduce the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains. Prescribing the wrong drug may work sometimes, but antibiotics are not cure-alls for just any ailment — effectiveness is dependent upon prescribing the correct drug at the proper dosage.
Agricultural Use of Antibiotics
Of the antibiotics used in the United States, up to 80% of them are used on livestock. They are used to prevent infection and promote growth of the livestock that is then utilized for food for our country. However, the antibiotics present don’t just affect the livestock.
For instance, when cows that are on antibiotics are milked, and we consume that milk, we are being exposed to the antibiotics that they received. Antibiotics are also excreted in urine and stool, which is used to make fertilizer, which then affects the crops grown there, which results in antibiotics being present in our produce.
When a farmer gives their livestock antibiotics, the drugs don’t just affect that particular cow or chicken. The antibiotics are spread around on a large scale so that bacteria have a chance to build up a resistance.
Slowing in Development of New Antibiotics
One of the ways that we fight against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria is by developing new antibiotics that the bacteria have not been previously exposed to. However, there are not enough new antibiotics being developed to help us fight these new drug-resistant strains.
Many pharmaceutical companies do not see antibiotic development as profitable as the creation of other drugs, so they have shifted their focus over the years. This leaves us without defense against the new antibiotic-resistant strains.
Difficulty Getting New Antibiotics Approved
For the pharmaceutical companies that are still pursuing the development of new antibiotics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get approval for their antibiotics. Testing new antibiotics can be expensive because it is considered unethical to do a controlled study with a placebo; it would put the participants at too high of a risk seeing as the bacterial infection would continue to grow as they are taking what they think is an antibiotic. Because of that, the trials that need to be done tend to be more expensive, resulting in fewer antibiotics being approved.
Why Should We Be Concerned About The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis?
The antibiotic resistance crisis should be a concern for absolutely everybody. Before antibiotics were discovered in the 1920s, people frequently died from ailments such as an ear infection or strep throat. If we allow this crisis to continue, we will not have the proper medicine to cure what we think of as simple infections and we will be diverted back into a time when common bacterial infections can claim many lives.
How Can We Help?
One of the best ways to help slow the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is by only using antibiotics when you absolutely need to. Antibiotics will not help cure a cold or the flu; they have no effect on viruses.
Some conditions, like a urinary tract infection, don’t require antibiotics to cure, although that tends to be a doctor’s go-to. Goodbye UTI offers a natural UTI supplement that will relieve your symptoms, cure your UTI, and when taken regularly, will prevent future UTIs. Learn more about our medical research, our pharmacist that oversees production, and order Goodbye UTI today to cure your UTI without contributing to the antibiotic crisis.