Antibiotics are extremely powerful drugs that, if used wisely, are essential for solving different morbid processes and saving lives, as our daily hospital experience demonstrates. However, for some years now the World Health Organization has warned against the abuse of antibiotic therapy.
Abuse can be defined as inappropriate use that harms both the patient taking the drug and the community. The problem of the abuse of antibiotic treatments is so topical that it chills the attention of the press organs in a more and more striking way.
INHERENT ASPECTS OF THE PATIENT
The first problem concerns incorrect use: most common acute winter conditions, such as flu-like syndromes, pharyngitis, otitis, tonsillitis and rhinitis, are viral (between 50-70% of cases) and, as such, they absolutely do not respond to the use of the antibiotic. The second problem is the repeated use that causes the germs to become "resistant", can make the patient allergic towards many families of antibiotics, cause liver or kidney damage or other more severe complications.
Recent studies also suspect that the violent increase in allergic diseases in children in industrialized countries is due to the negative impact of antibiotics on intestinal bacterial flora in the first years of life, an effect defined as INTESTINAL DISBIOSIS. DISBIOSIS is due to the destruction of "good" bacteria that populate our gut by antibiotics. This follows the spread of aggressive bacteria and fungi that start to produce toxic substances (ammonia, indole, box, phenol, tartaric acid), resulting in a sort of "poisoning from within" the organism, with overload of the liver system that it manifests with fatigue, decreased performance and depression of the MALT immune system. MALT dysfunction involves a violent immune decrease, especially in children, predisposing them to recurrent infections and starting a CIRCOLO VIZIOUS (disease-antibiotic-antibiotic-disease) of common observation in our clinics, where small patients arrive with stories of 6-8 or more antibiotic cycles a year.
INHERENT ASPECTS OF THE COLLECTIVITY
In recent decades, the misuse of antibiotics has caused enormous damage to society and therefore to all of us. National governments spend immense numbers for the administration of inappropriate drugs, sums that weigh on health budgets around the world. In addition, the excessive use of antibiotic therapies has led to the selection of resistant germs, so today many antibiotics very effective in the '80s can no longer do their job, as the bacteria have learned to resist their action and this can cost human lives!
In light of what we have seen, it is becoming increasingly clear that a re-evaluation of the use of antibiotic treatments is necessary both to preserve for the community an essential weapon in case of need, and to protect the health of patients to whom inappropriate administration creates damage without making the expected benefits.
What is the relationship between virus, bacteria and antibiotic?
The virus is the simplest form of life. It lurks inside the cells and reproduces itself with mechanisms that are not disturbed by any antibiotic. Bacteria, with few exceptions, remain outside our cells and attack them. To attack us they must multiply by taking substances necessary for their replication. Antibiotics can intervene in this phase causing the destruction of germs.
If I have a fever, should I immediately take the antibiotic?
As just said, it would be good to wait. If the symptoms tended to persist, it would be good to consult your doctor or specialist and evaluate the choice to make, remembering that over 60% of winter infectious diseases are viral.
My child is allergic. Are there any special precautions to be taken?
The body of the allergist is particularly sensitive to any new substance with which it comes into contact. The allergic patient is much more likely than another to develop an allergy to an antibiotic and, in that case, he will never be able to take it again, even if necessary.