Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Impact of Antibiotic Misuse on Our Gut Flora

Today I will be discussing on the impact of antibiotic misuse on general health. We Indians tend to use random antibiotics often as self medication or after getting advice from our doctors, when maybe there is no need to have any of them. So, let us consider the impact it may have in our daily life.

In modern medicine antibiotics play a major role. However, excessive or insensible use of it may do more harm than good. Usually, the adverse side effects of antibiotics are the main reasons for the harmful consequences of antibiotic misuse. The misuse or excess uses of antibiotics often cause serious damage to our health. Another problem comes from the resistant bacteria that may be formed due to improper use of antibiotics. Infection due to these antibiotic resistant bacteria can often be fatal.

Diarrhoea in Children due to excess use of antibiotics

We usually make a common mistake of taking antibiotics for common cough and cold. Interestingly, common cough and cold is often caused by viruses and not by bacteria. Therefore, the antibiotics we take for treating common cough and cold usually have no effect on the disease. In fact, these antibiotics do more harm than good by serving severe side effects in addition to the miseries of the disease. However, several studies have revealed that in about 50% of cases, antibiotics have been administered to children suffering from common cough and cold or upper respiratory tract infection caused by a virus. In these children there is a chance of developing a severe offensive antibiotic resistant bacterium (Clostridium difficile). This is a dangerous bacterium with high capacity of causing infection.

Scientific investigations suggested that among the children suffering from Clostridium difficile, 71% of them have received some sort of antibiotic treatment for lung, ear or nasal infection in the preceding 12 weeks. This clearly suggests how wrong antibiotic treatment can give rise to some secondary infection that may be more severe than the first one.
Clostridium difficile is actually a bacterium that resides within the small intestine and can produce severe form of diarrhoea. This bacterium is responsible for over 250,000 infections in different hospitals of the USA alone (stats not available in India, but will be definitely very high when compared with the hygiene level and number patients in Indian hospitals) causing 14,000 deaths.

The loss of the natural flora of intestine

Excess use of antibiotics gives rise to new sensitive bacteria in our intestine. Our intestine houses more than 100 trillion different types of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are harmless and helps maintaining the natural flora of the intestine and even help in digestion. However, excessive use of antibiotics can kill the beneficial bacteria and help flourish bacteria that can survive the antibiotic concentration (thereby giving rise to resistant strains).

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

I am hereby ensuring (to the best of my abilities and circumstances) that my blog post will remain accessible in a un-altered state for a minimum of one year.


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