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Our Drug Culture: The Love of Antibiotics

Added on by Ridzki.

Writer’s notes: When I write “our” on the title I am referring to people in South East Asia or Asia Pacific and most particularly in Indonesia. Last time I fall sick, I was doing an experiment on myself. Not that I fall sick due to the experiment, I was experimenting on how long I could recover fully from the sickness by not coming to the doctor and moreover to not consume any antibiotic to recover myself.

It took me a month.

The people here loves their antibiotic and especially the doctor that prescribe them with the antibiotic. A doctor which could cure their patients in a single visit, is a good doctor and very kind as well, because not only the patients get cured easily they also kind of doctor who won’t take any advantage of the patients. But how will it affect the general populations in the future? while science and medical students are very aware of the term ”super-bugs”, the general population do not. The continuos bombardment of antibiotic, and the low understanding regarding the use is giving way to these “super-bugs” to increase in the terms of numbers and kinds.

What are the “super-bugs?”

They could be present as the insects which capable to resist the strongest insecticide, or as the infamous Methicillin Resistant Streptococcus Aureus (MRSA), regardless of the name they could only mean one thing. Trouble.

Like every species, this super-bugs have come a long way, they evolve from the most primitive form to the ones which contain all the necessity to survive. Humans evolve from apes (creationists please do not argue on this), as a species we learn to use tools and to exploit the nature in order to gain the favour, whether to hunt or gather, in a simpler word, we learn how to survive. These super-bugs are also the same, although they don’t use tools they survive because of the difference in their genetic material.

Consider the case of the white butterfly on the height of Industrial revolution in England. They originally were white in colour, because living in a temperate climate they need the colour tone in order to survive from their hunter. however some of them born in a unusual circumstances, with black instead of white as their wings. Easier to be recognised, easier to be hunted is the fate of these black butterfly, however the Industrial Revolution came, and the usual white snow was polluted to become black, and the condition was altered. For the benefit of the story let’s just say, nowadays there are more black butterfly than the white one in England.

The story above is the similar picture in the context of the super-bugs, where they actually also the product natural selections, however the one who acts as the “natural selections” are none other than mankind with their love of antibiotics.

"So it's just a little bugger which is difficult to be eliminated?" not exactly. This little bugger causes many hospital acquired infection on patients which are recovering from their diseases and finally could cause complications or even death. The fact that they are more antibiotics resistant, would make them very difficult to eliminate with the present level of antibiotics and if they could be eliminated there is still chances for them to evolved to be resistant to that particular antibiotic.

What can we do?

Consider MRSA as a very expensive experience, we can actually slow down the transformation of other bacteria or viruses to become the next "super-bugs", avoiding arms race between species. How to slow down the transformation is easy that is by do not using antibiotic in order to cure non-significant diseases (common cold, sore throat, fever etc.). The problems (sigh) lies on whether people could understand that they are not supposed to take antibiotic as simple as taking candy.

To raise awareness about this antibiotic issue is the solution, however is not the same as raising awareness about issues like the global warming. It is more like putting a warning on cigarettes' pack  to tell people the hazard to your health, however it seldom kept them away from smoking. Furthermore, by telling this, people must accept that evolution is real and we are part of it, while in this region people still believe that evolution is a concept where man comes from primate.

It would be long and lengthy process to educate the people, perhaps as long as the development of the new super-bugs, however as it is necessary to be done, none is too late after all.

The movement could began in hospitals or clinics by doctors, in which if there are any patients coming with the symptoms of cold or fever try to explain to them that the disesase did not require the administration of antibiotics, just plenty of rest and liquids and paracetamols is enough. Of course doctor, have to be more than able to explain the matter to the patients and that requires a great communication skills.

What can a patient do then? other than educating themselves, patients are also having the rights to have the proper explanations from the doctor and finally do not judge the doctor based on what medication that they give you or how long does it takes to recover.

As a final notes, I will say that prevention is better than care thus live your life healthily and love your vessels, you can't actually change them anytime if you have trouble.

Cheers