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Sometimes I am all ears. And now, with the cold and flu season upon us, what I am hearing is that folks around town are asking their doctors for a “just in case” prescription for antibiotics. And my knee jerk reaction is: Just in Case of What?
It seems to me that these days, the slightest sniffle sends parents, their kids, and even knowledgeable adults to the nearest clinic to pick up a dose of these once-upon-a-time miracle drugs. And clearly, antibiotic drugs can save lives. But something quite deadly has happened along the highway to miracles: Antibiotic Resistance.
Today I offer a basic, layman’s primer on antibiotic resistance. No preaching, no panic, just some general, information to make you think and to make you evaluate your own actions the next time you get a sniffle.
How does it happen?
Antibiotics normally work by killing germs such as bacteria. Or, if they do not kill the bacteria, they severely retard the bacteria from growing. They are also used as an effective medicine to fight or prevent infections caused by certain parasites and some types of fungus.
But sometimes things go wrong and not all of these bad boys are not stopped or killed. Alas, sometimes the strongest ones are left to grow and spread.