Saturday, March 7, 2015

Another Reason to be Healthy

We can all think of lots of reasons to pursue a healthy lifestyle. This includes precautions to avoid being exposed to germs, as well as to keep ourselves from being susceptible to them. Rest, exercise, good food, and avoidance of stress (if only partially) help to keep us from being susceptible. Of course, flu shots help (this year, only a little).

But there is another reason, one that involves altruism, and doing something for the benefit of the whole society (and ourselves as well). The overuse of antibiotics has led to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including some of them (superbugs) resistant to more than one class of antibiotics. Most people who read this blog know that this is evolution, not just a metaphor of it.

Doctors are supposed to do their part by prescribing antibiotics only to patients with some clear indication of bacterial infection, as antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. That is, it is their job to reduce the total number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. But they have to prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections. And here is where we can do our part. If we reduce the total number of bacterial infections that we get, through lifestyle, then we are reducing the total number of necessary antibiotic prescriptions. The result is less evolution of resistance, which means the antibiotics that we have will be more effective for the people who need them.

Time to go home and eat some broccoli.

No comments:

Post a Comment