Antibiotics save millions of lives annually, and there is no doubt about it. Almost everybody must have taken them at some point in their lives. However, a common infection or a minor injury can become fatal again with such widespread use or overuse.
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It might sound scary, right?
Well, it is.
Therefore, people who prefer a holistic approach to treatments wish to see a decline in excessive use of antibiotics. This blog post will discuss how antibiotics are doing more harm than good due to their excessive use.
Why is Over-Prescription a Danger For You & Your Family?
Currently, a lot of antibiotics are being prescribed to patients, which does not seem appropriate. Have you ever gone to your doctor for antibiotics at the first sign of a minor infection rather than waiting to see if your body can fight it off first? If so, you wouldn’t be alone.
Most of the time, antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed for respiratory conditions caused by viruses. We are talking about common colds, sore throats, bronchitis, sinus, and ear infections. All of these infections do not respond to antibiotics.
In the UAE, the situation is as alarming as anywhere else. Research conducted in 2010 revealed that almost three-quarters of antibiotics are sold over-the-counter without prescriptions in the UAE. Therefore, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) developed new legislation to stop the sale of antibiotics at any pharmacy without a prescription.
What Can You Do?
First of all, you should not rush to get antibiotics at the first sign of a cold. They might seem to be a quick solution, but that’s not the case in reality.
Exactly why is that, you may be asking?
Because antibiotics treat bacterial infections only, not viral infections. Taking an antibiotic in a viral infection will simply attack the good bacteria in your body, and consequently, the potentially harmful bacteria will replace the harmless ones.
Therefore, you should always get a confirmed diagnosis from your doctor, who prescribes a medicine when needed. Also, do not self-diagnose your illness and buy antibiotics online.
Keep your vitamin D levels between 70 and 80 as it prevents most viral infections.
Is Antibiotic Resistance Putting Your Health at Risk?
Okay, so far, we have learned that antibiotics are being widely over-prescribed, which is a problem for all of us.
The answer to this question surrounds the genuine fears of disease resistance and increasing death tolls. The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined antibiotic resistance as ‘one of the biggest threats to global health today.’
If you take certain antibiotics too often, the bacteria will become resistant to them. As a result, the medicines will no longer be effective.
Bacteria are capable of coping with hostile environments and are great survivors. They have learned how to adapt in the case of antibiotics as well. If a bacterium is exposed to a specific antibiotic quite often, it will develop resistance against it. Therefore, antibiotic resistance is a major concern that is putting lives at risk.
What Can You Do?
Again, this comes down to taking a more restrained approach that is not overreacting at the first sign of illness and waiting for an accurate diagnosis before taking the antibiotics. Also, it is essential to finish the course if you have started taking antibiotics. Because when you stop the medication, the bacteria that survive grow and evolve with increased resistance against the drug.
How to Avoid the Unwanted Side-Effects?
There are about 100 trillion bacteria in your body but only 40 trillion human cells. Every time you take antibiotics, you destroy the harmful bacteria that cause infection and wipe out plenty of the good bacteria in the gut. Here you should know that gut plays a vital role in keeping your body healthy.
You can avoid the unwanted side-effects by following these steps:
- Overhaul your eating habits, and encourage your family to do the same. If you have to take a course of antibiotics, make sure to restore your stores of healthy bacteria. Eat foods such as plain Greek yogurt, garlic, lentils, beans, and asparagus. Beneficial bacteria in your gut thrive on such foods.
- Consume probiotic supplements as they are effective in speeding things up here. Also, avoid processed foods containing trans fats, emulsifiers, sugars, and other harmful additives.
- Furthermore, boost your natural defenses. For this purpose, follow a Paleo diet that contains moderate carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Also, include natural antibiotics in your diet, such as ginger, tomatoes, garlic, and turmeric, because they strengthen your body’s defense mechanisms.
Antibiotics – Handle with Care
Undoubtedly antibiotics are playing a vital role in saving lives. However, if the misuse of antibiotics continues at the same pace as today, your life is at risk.
In the UAE and worldwide, medical professionals and patients should work together to bring a change. Doctors must adhere to strict prescribing guidelines, and the patient must follow the doctor’s instructions. In addition to this, you should never forget the potential consequences of antibiotic overuse.
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