Resistant Bacteria and how to Deal with it

Penicillin, the wonder drug first discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 when he was doing a few housekeeping chores—a petri dish was growing some funny looking stuff that caught his attention—is still an important drug but it has created its own problems. Because of its near-perfect reversal of infectious disease processes it has overwhelmingly become the drug where infection control is needed.

Resistant bacteria are now a big problem and medical scientists’ must steadily keep ahead of by perfecting antibiotics that will disarm the superbugs. A few bacteria, or even one, left over from a bout with some type of infection, can rebound with a fury. They build immunity to the drug in much the same way the human immune system does against them and the next time they come in contact with the same drug, it doesn’t affect them and they continue on their way gobbling up and claiming human cells as their own.

Never take leftover antibiotics

Of course that’s redundancy. Words and actions such as those are dangerous and have perpetuated and supported superbugs for quite a few years. Everyone has heard those words many times over words but not everyone has fully understood their importance. Listen closely and you’ll hear words such as ‘I don’t need to go to the doctor I have penicillin at home’ or to a friend a family member ‘take these antibiotics leftover from my last cold’.

Take the drugs as prescribed

It’s easy to fall into the habit of forgetting about taking antibiotics once you’re back to work and feeling okay. If the drug is to be taken for a full week or two weeks make sure it’s taken precisely as the Dr. ordered. You feel better because the antibiotic plus a few days rest have you back at work and you now have more important things to do. None of these excuses are more important than finishing the antibiotic as ordered. In doing this you make sure every one of the organisms that caused you to be sick has been killed.

Disease causing organisms have their own DNA

The germs themselves change and grow according to the environment they inhabit. “Disease causing organisms have their own DNA and these mutate and change and these can be passed on to the next person they infect. Bacteria like salmonella have a complicated immune system that helps them recognize and isolate foreign DNA trying to invade their cell membrane, according to a University of Washington-led study in the June 8 [2011] issue of Science Express.”

Ways in which bacteria resist antibiotics

There’s several ways bacteria resist take over by antibiotics: Some bacteria neutralize the antibiotic; others chase the antibiotic out or away from their exterior walls and still others change the antibiotic attack site so it will no longer be effective. They are able to maneuver in such fashion because bacteria, unlike viruses, are complete organisms and aren’t dependent on their host for sustenance.

Antibiotic resistance from food

Foods that have been manipulated by their producers to enhance growth or to resist disease processes are alternative ways antibiotics increasingly become ineffective. WHO (World Health Organization) sees this as a public health problem and recommends that antibiotics not be used in this way. In fact many of the antibiotics given to people are used for animals. Examples are tetracyclines, sulfonamides, penicillins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, chloramphenicols and streptogramins.

These are nearly the same as human antibiotics and assists in promoting human resistance to the same type of bacteria. When people come in contact with animals on antibiotics they possibly may be infected by germs that are resistant to this type of antibiotic. Should they become infected from a resistant bacteria the normal antibiotic prescribed by the physician will not be effective.

Overuse and the causal way antibiotics have been used by the public is one reason bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant. Don’t pressure your doctor to give you an antibiotic when rest, fluids, and a few days off from work is all that’s needed. Save the antibiotics for illnesses that are life threatening.