Antibiotics (ab)use

Abuse and misuse of antibiotics have become a global problem. This is especially noticeable in the use of antibiotics in Serbia among other countries. According to some statistical data, about 1,500 doses per 1000 people are used annually in Serbia, while in Scandinavian countries for instance, it is several times lower – 200 to 300 doses per 1000 individuals. Every single day in Serbia 29 inhabitants per 1000 takes an antibiotic. Disturbing facts, right?

80% of antibiotics, most commonly penicillins and cephalosporins, are prescribed in primary health care. Pediatricians are often under parental pressure who are very surprised and disappointed if they do not get an antibiotic without knowing that the cause of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract in children is most commonly caused by virus on which these drugs do not work. They do not realize that in fact, excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics lead to the development of strains of bacteria resistant to therapy. Therefore, regardless of the recommendation and advice from doctors, parents often go to the pharmacy, insisting that they get an antibiotic, because ‘they know, it helped the last time’. When asked when, the answer is often ‘last time, the previous month’. As if they’re candies!

In the case of unnecessary use of antibiotics, there is not only no improvement, but a variety of bad consequences can occur. Antibiotics also kill ‘good’ bacteria on the surface of the skin and mucous, those that protect the body from other pathogenic microorganisms, the causative agents of the diseases. Also, the mucous membrane remains unprotected, and the pathway opens up for common infections.

There’s also an issue of inadequate use. Individuals, as soon as they experience improvement, for a day or two, tend to cease using antibiotics. They are not healed, they only complicate the situation further, because in a few days they will be in pursuing for different antibiotic, because the previous did not help.

If we do not change our habits, we are in danger of being left without adequate antibiotics, because the bacteria slowly but surely adapt to the existing antibiotics.

Thus, the antibiotics are exclusively for bacterial infections, when the physician determines with the antibiogram what is appropriate, in the dose and duration indicated. Otherwise, there’s more damage than benefits, not only for the individual, but also for the entire humanity. Therefore, we must take preventive seriously, which means : healthier lifestyle, better hygiene habits, physical fitness, healthy and balanced nutrition, as well as intake of one or more out of a wide range of dietary supplements (zinc, vitamin C, various forms of multivitamin preparations ) that are widely spread and available today.