The Hidden Dangers Of Antibiotics

Antibiotics—used to treat bacterial infections—are a necessary and effective tool for the treatment of certain illnesses, but overuse and misuse of these drugs has resulted in increased dangers and health risks. There are many warranted concerns associated with the use of antibiotics. These dangers include an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, which could circulate the world and make it harder for the species to fight off diseases. Not to mention increased fungal infections, and digestive disruptions among the other harmful effects.

Though most physicians these days are a great deal more cautious about prescribing antibiotics than in the past, there is still widespread misuse. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, and have no beneficial impact on viral infections. However, antibiotics are often prescribed without proper medical tests to determine infection origins, or prescribed before medical tests results have been returned, thereby exposing patients to unnecessary treatment. According to Center for Disease Control, inappropriate prescribing has resulted in the now frequent need to increase dosage or prescribe stronger antibiotics. It has also resulted in the rise of resistant strains of bacteria (super-bugs), like Staphylococcus, now a growing health concern, especially in a hospital setting. Diseases that were once easily treated like, ear infections, pneumonia, and sinus infections have become harder and harder to treat quickly and effectively.

Antibiotics also kill off bacteria that do not cause illness. Because your digestive tract relies on a host of different strains of bacteria to ensure good digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals, antibiotics can cause anything from mild to severe gastrointestinal distress. Left untreated, an imbalance of intestinal flora can lead to increased food sensitivity, allergies and chronic ailments of the digestive tract, such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Leaky Gut Syndrome, and an overgrowth of intestinal yeast.

Because commercial livestock in the United States has antibiotics added to their diet to help reduce disease in livestock animal populations, and because traces of those antibiotics get passed on to consumers, this has also contributed to, and increased the incidence of antibiotic resistance and helped antibiotic resistant bacteria proliferate.

Talk in depth with your physician when they prescribe antibiotics. Make sure you are getting the right drug, at the correct dosage for your bacterial infection. If you have a mild infection, ask your doctor to let your try to treat it naturally and let it run its course without antibiotics; research to see if there are alternative treatments available, or a milder antibiotic with a smaller dosage. And make sure you take your medication as prescribed.