Death by antibiotics: choose quick or slow

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Sick girl
Antibiotics – not the kind of lifesavers you expect them to be

No, no, not death that’s anything to do with your doctor.

If you’re on antibiotics right now, they’ll probably save your life. And your doctor is a professional, she knows what she’s doing.

Death sentence

Short term if you’re ill, antibiotics are a life saver. They also present us with the same sentence, though – impossible though it seems. Death by antibiotics is an uncomfortable reality.

Except the choice is largely ours – quick or slow, it’s up to us.

First the quick way. It could be days, it could be months – but if we’re careless or unlucky, death is only too possible.

Like, if you’re taking antibiotics and you don’t finish the course. Or worse, if you dose yourself with some left over from last time. That’s you, not your doctor – and it’s you who will pay the price.

Bam, bam hammer

Think of antibiotics like a great big hammer that bashes your infection – bam, bam, bam! – repeated heavy blows to clobber your illness out of existence.

So what happens if the hammer doesn’t hit enough times, or only gives one feeble blow? Which is what happens when you don’t take all the pills.

The illness isn’t beaten, is it? Not totally defeated, so it lives on. Picks itself up and restores itself to its former strength – like something out of Terminator – bacteria are very good at this.

With one very vital difference.

They now know the hammer is coming, and are ready for it – have sussed how to dodge it, or just tough it out. So the hammer does nothing. It is ineffective. The illness has become resistant and is now unstoppable.

So your Doc has to find another kind of hammer, or a sword, or a whatever – a new way to attack your illness to make sure it’s totally annihilated. Another antibiotic that is still effective, not resisted against by infecting bacteria.

Which is exactly how antimicrobial resistance (AMR) develops – a big problem for modern medicine right now. Pathogenic bacteria is not hit hard enough or long enough, so they survive revitalised to live another day.

With ongoing immunity to overcome being hit again. Unstoppable. And untreatable.

Bacteria win – again

So through your own actions, it could be the end of you. Especially if complications set in and your own body doesn’t have the strength to fight them off. Sorry, unless you’re lucky, death is going to happen.

Then there’s the slow way.

Not something that any of us might feel right now, but possibly even MORE inevitable.

Because it’s already on the go.

Down in our insides, our own gut bacteria – the ones that keep us alive and process our digestion among thousands of other things – have already been clobbered by antibiotics and are reacting out of control.

How can we tell?

Check your waistline.  How are you doing with the battle of the bulge?

If you’re like most of us adults, you’ve already noticed unwanted pounds piling on without you consciously knowing anything about it.

Not nice, overnight we’re fat – and getting fatter.

Not our fault. But not much we can do about it either.

Because that’s from residual antibiotics contained in the food we eat. From the 240,000 tons of the stuff that is fed to animal livestock around the world every year – vital veterinary support for the giant, super-intensive factory farms that supply us with meat, veg, greens, everything.

Huh?

Unfortunately all too true – and this is where it gets messy. Because modern farms are not the nice cuddly places we see in picture books. And the animals are not as happy either.

Stressed, crowded and in shockingly unhygienic conditions , without antibiotics, those animals would die. Instead, they grow and thrive with amazing accelerated development – fattened up by antibiotics to sometimes twice the size – and in half the time – the farmer’s double jackpot.

Fast food – from the farmer’s angle. Money in the bank, quick, quick, quick.

Except by eating that same food, with every meal WE’RE ingesting those same antibiotics too. With the same effect on our gut bacteria that they had on the animals. They promote growth, big time.

Our kids grow up faster – almost adults before they even hit their teens. And we grow fatter. And fatter. All too soon swapping Size 16 for the misery of Size 18.

Yeah, welcome to obesity – our latest world-wide epidemic, courtesy of antibiotics.

With one hell of a price to pay.

Being overweight is not healthy, our bodies can’t cope. So we start on the slippery slope of chronic illnesses – diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many others. Slow, debilitating and degrading afflictions that take decades to develop – long, miserable illnesses that all lead to death.

Can we ever escape?

Only by being as healthy as we know how.

If we keep ourselves clean and free of germs, washing hands whenever we think of it, infections can never get to us, we don’t need antibiotics in the first place.

Same thing if we eat healthy – switching to organic, stepping away from mass-produced foods to home-grown wholesomeness and nary an antibiotic anywhere near them, ever. Not easy, but it can be done – though you’re unlikely to be visiting your supermarket again.

Which means you don’t have to choose at all now. You should live long and healthy.

Sure death happens to all of us, but it’s reassuring to know. Live right and it’s only going to happen when it’s supposed too.

Picture Copyright: denisnata / 123RF Stock Photo