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Overuse of Antibiotics Can Damage Your Body

Flu Information
Williams George Raymond
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Antibiotics can be lifesavers, especially if you suffer from a severe bacterial infection that your body cannot fight on its own. However, overuse of antibiotics has contributed to the increased number of drug-resistant germs, since more strains of bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics in recent years. Taking too many antibiotics can actually harm your body more than it can help you long-term, and you should know some of the dangers overuse of antibiotics can cause.

Overuse of Antibiotics Results in Antibiotic-resistant Germs

One of the main dangers overuse of antibiotics can cause is germs that develop immunity to antibiotics. A prominent example of this is the spread of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a strain of staph bacteria that can cause severe infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when certain antibiotics no longer work properly against disease-causing bacteria. This not only makes infections more difficult for doctors to treat, but also can mean longer-lasting illnesses, more doctor visits, and the need for more expensive and toxic drugs. Some types of resistant infections can even cause death. While experts are working to develop new antibiotics and alternative treatments to keep pace with the ever-increasing number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, infectious organisms can adapt to new drugs quickly.

Overuse of Antibiotics Can Cause Severe Damage

In addition to creating more drug-resistant strains of bacteria, overuse of antibiotics can also cause medications to become less effective against the bacteria they normally treat when you use them too often for illnesses such as colds, flu, or other viral infections. You can also damage your body by not taking antibiotics exactly as your doctor prescribes them. For example, if you take an antibiotic for only a few days instead of for the full course, the antibiotic may only wipe out some of the bacteria causing your illness. Unfortunately, the remaining bacteria become more resistant and can spread to other people, which makes treating them much more difficult and costly since your doctor may need to resort to a less-conventional, more toxic and costly medication.

Statistics show that, in the United States alone, thousands of people die each year in hospitals from antibiotic-resistant infections they contract, and many of these deaths correlate directly to overuse of antibiotics. While you should take antibiotics if you have certain types of bacterial infections, you should also be careful to avoid taking them for viruses. For more details about which types of illnesses antibiotics can treat, you should contact your doctor.

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