So it's *drumroll please* duh duh da duh, #antibioticawarness week, so let's have a little think about what that means.
Bacteria are absolutely everywhere, including all over us, but that's not such a bad thing. Some of these little guys are great, they live on our skin and in our gut, they protect us from invaders and help us digest food. There's also some that are just along for the ride, like benign hitch hikers, and some that only cause problems when they find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time (like Staphylococcus epidermidis in an intravenous catheter!). Some of them though, are the bad guys! The so called pathogenic bacteria. Alot of the time if we're infected with one of these little buggers our body's immune system can fight them off on its own. Sometimes though we need to bring in the big guns, #antibiotics.
More often than not you'll only really need these wonder drugs if your immune system is damaged or weak. The problem is a lot of us are asking for them if we don't need them because we don't have a good understanding of how desperate or not our condition is.
The problem with lots of people taking them when they don't need them is that those little bad guys get to see the weapons we've got and build defences against them so that next time the drugs won't work.
The structures above represent three of our last line of defence antibiotics. These drugs are still effective to an extent (although there are also a lot of bugs that are resistant to them!) But some of the sideffects that come with using them are horrible. They aren't as bug specific as milder drugs and end up damaging a lot of our own bodies cells in the process of killing bugs.
Because we're running out of drugs to treat infections with, conditions that a few years ago were easily viewable are becoming life threatening. If we want to reverse this trend we need to attack the problem from multiple angles including better diagnosis, less prescribing (and asking) for existing antibiotics, new types of therapy and development of new antibiotics.
#antibioticresistance #bugs #drugs #infection #pathogens #bacteria #bugly #STEM #science #research #learning #cardiffpharmacy