Solutions for Antibiotics
Some positive news in this negative trend is that antibiotic resistance appears to be reversible to some extent. That is, if we reduce the use of antibiotics, there will be a reduction in resistant bacteria. Hence, antibiotics should be used as sparingly as possible, and only when they are genuinely required. If the illness is a viral infection, then any type or amount of antibiotic will be ineffective; and as they eradicate good bacteria, they may be harmful.
The antibiotics currently available must be seen as a finite resource, particularly as bacteria are becoming resistant faster than new antibiotics are being discovered and marketed. In reality, a new antibiotic could become useless soon after it is introduced on the market, and therefore pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to invest large amounts of money required to develop and test a new drug. Moreover, as it is very expensive to produce new antibiotics, their eventual price will be higher than many people will be able to afford. Therefore the protection of public health depends on the preservation of existing antibiotics.
As a result of increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics, many doctors and researchers are calling for restrictions – or bans – on the use of antibiotics in certain treatments. Further research needs to be done on both antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotics. Up until this point, research has been declining despite resistance to existing antibiotics increasing, because of the immense costs involved in development. As the spread of resistant bacteria is no longer confined by borders, governments and industries must work together in a global effort that looks at research, legislation and monitoring.
Natural alternatives to antibiotics should be encouraged. For example, herbs such as Echinacea and thyme are powerful anti-microbial substances that may aid the body’s friendly bacteria to fight infection. Diet should also be modified to maximise the body’s potential to fight infection. Unnatural foods should be avoided, as they may weaken the body’s defences. Natural foods such as garlic, onions, honey and certain yoghurts are examples of foods with antibiotic qualities, and as such they should be promoted.