Why is antimicrobial resistance dangerous?

 

Although medicine and science have developed massively in the past few decades, we are still facing some global menaces at the beginning of the 21st century. The discovery of vaccines played an essential role in modern medicine, helping eradicate various diseases that were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people all over the globe.

Unfortunately, once the most powerful weapon against bacteria and germs, antibiotics started to lose their efficiency as new generations of bacteria suffered mutations. So why is antimicrobial resistance dangerous? Here is everything you need to know about the topic.

What are microbes?

There are billions of microbes existent in the world, but most of them are harmless to people. The human immune system can efficiently fight against these microbes so that we don’t end up sick after simply getting in contact with another person or elements in the environment.

However, types of microbes like fungi, parasites, viruses or bacteria are potentially dangerous to people and can cause serious health problems and diseases. They are called pathogens but are also referred to as bugs or germs.

 

How can we fight microbes?

Certain pathogens can simply be destroyed with the help of good personal hygiene and some common sense rules of eating. Drinking water only from uninfested sources and washing our hands with soap or gel on a regular basis are usually enough to get rid of various microbes.

Unfortunately, other groups of microbes are more dangerous to humans and can only be eradicated with medicines and antibiotics. These are usually prescribed by the doctor and are only taken under the strict surveillance of a physician for a determined period, generally lasting between three and ten days.

 

What causes antimicrobial resistance?

Microbes represent living organisms with their own DNA. Similar to humans, plants, and other animals, microbes also have the ability to evolve in order to adapt to new environmental and climate conditions. Thus, what seemed to be enough to kill bacteria a few decades ago may not have the same effect today.

Antibiotics can fight against bacteria, but traces of them remain in our bodies, leading to genetic mutations in time. It is said that the body has a memory of its own and can automatically adjust in order to survive. So, what used to kills us or make us sick a century ago will no longer have the same effect on our bodies today.

Unfortunately, since we have been extensively using antibiotics in the past decades, microbes became immune to them and evolved into more resistant strains. This led to dangerous mutations that no longer respond to the treatments we were used to so humanity is facing yet again the threats of the environment.

 

What you need to know about E. coli

People are obsessed with food and hygiene especially given the number of cases related to food poisoning. I know that I am, so I always try to eat only clean fruits and vegetables, wash my hands before each meal, and drink bottled water.

Since most of us like eating out, I’ve thought I share with you some interesting stuff about E.coli such as what causes this infection, its symptoms, and ways to cure the disease.

You’ve probably weren’t aware of, but people and animal normally have some of this bacteria located in their intestines. There are ways for E.coli to enter your body and one of them is related to improper food handling.

No matter where the food is prepared, may it be at home, in a fast food place or in a restaurant, if you handle it without washing your hands completely you risk spreading the bacteria. Moreover, using utensils, cutting boards, or serving the food in dishes that haven’t been washed are responsible for cross-contamination.

If you leave the food on the table, especially cooked foods, and you consume them without been stored in the fridge, you are prone to getting the disease. The whole point is to eat fresh food that has been washed, cooked at higher temperatures, and stored in a cool and dry place. If you stick to this principles, E.coli won’t get near you.

 

Apart from this, during the slaughtering process, meat can get infected with this bacteria straight from the animal’s intestines. This is why always make sure to wash the meat and cook it at a higher level of temperature that kills any bacteria whatsoever.

Another possible source of infection is the contaminated water or even water located in swimming pools. Since E.coli can be easily spread from person to person if they don’t wash their hands. Therefore, places such as schools and nursing homes are ideal for spreading this bacteria.

Among the symptoms caused by this intestinal infection, I have to mention abdominal cramping, severe diarrhea, gases, vomiting, fatigue, and fever. These usually last around 5 to 10 days and debut around 1 to 10 days after being exposed to E.coli.

 

In some situations, according to the severity of the case, there might be signs of blood in the urine, a pale skin, bruises, and major dehydration.

Not all people get the same reaction when their body starts to fight this infection. Some risk factors that can worsen the situation are age, a weakened immune system, type of foods, and the low level of stomach acids.

If you start noticing any of these symptoms, you must seek a doctor because there are ways to treat the E. coli infection. Besides drinking plenty of water, you must rest and eat only foods recommended by a medical specialist. You shouldn’t get antidiarrheal medication unless your doctor recommends to.