For years, many of us have relied on antibiotic use to treat various infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. And the reality is that antibiotics have been responsible for saving millions of lives since the invention of penicillin nearly 75 years ago. However, today is a new era in which taking antibiotics can now cause some very dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations. In fact, you may have heard about the new “superbugs”, which are antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have developed as a result of overprescribed antibiotics. In the past, health experts warned us that the day would come in which it would become very difficult to provide medical care for even common problems such as pneumonia or strep throat. And, apparently, that day has come because seemingly routine operations such as caesarean sections and knee replacements are now much more hazardous due to the looming threat of these infections.
The problem has grown into such epidemic proportions that this severe strain of resistant bacteria is being blamed for nearly 700,000 deaths each year throughout the world; and, unfortunately, health experts worry that the number will rise to 10 million or more on a yearly basis by 2050. With such a large life-threatening epidemic, it is sad to say that only 1.2% of
budgetary money for the National Institutes of Health is currently being spent on research to treat the problem, which is insufficient for such a huge problem.
I. Causes of Antibiotic Resistance
Unfortunately, one of the largest ways in which antibiotics are overused is with the production of meats. In fact, estimates show that around 70% of U.S. antibiotics are given to our poultry and livestock in order to help fatten them up and get them ready to sell. As consumers, we should require that this be stopped and start supporting restaurants and manufacturers that are committed to non-use of antibiotics.