One case that has been widely publicized in recent times has been the ever-increasing use of antibiotics and the fear of so-called antibiotic resistance. But what is it talking about. Who is becoming resistant to antibiotics? Is it us who are administered the antibiotics or the bacterium itself. And why is it that sometimes we get antibiotics at the doctor and sometimes not?
The word antibiotic comes from Greek; Anti-fighting, opposing, or killing and bios-life and it is a collective term for several different types of drugs that are all used to oppose, fight & kill the growth of microorganisms, in particular bacteria. Penicillin is perhaps the most famous of all the different types of antibiotics and it was the first antibiotic that was discovered by mankind. Such an effective remedy for bacterial infections has revolutionized medicine and it has become a prerequisite for a lot of modern treatments such as organ transplantations, cancer treatments and more, where infections are always a risk.
Bacteria are a very diverse group of organisms. There are more types of bacteria than animals and birds together, most of whom are harmless, while some are dangerous. Therefore, many different types of antibiotics have been developed to cope with the various types of dangerous bacteria. But the disadvantage of having different types of antibiotics is that bacteria have the ability to develop so-called resistance, they develop a defense against the antibiotic. Therefore, the antibiotics becomes ineffective against the bacteria. There shall be more about the ‘resistance phenomenon’ in the next blog.
As mentioned, antibiotics are very effective against bacteria, but bacteria are not the only microorganisms that can lead to infection. Now in spring, infections with different types of viruses are very common. But antibiotics have no effect on viral infections whatsoever, even if you feel as bad. That’s the reason why we sometimes get antibiotics from our doctor, and sometimes not, even if we feel as bad.