If ever there’s a med that’s been overused and abused it’s antibiotics. We’ve mishandled these drugs to the point where they’ve become less effective – and allowed the bacteria they once killed to mutate into powerful superbugs.
“Superbugs” may sound like a science-fiction creation, but these monsters are very real. By some estimates, they now kill more Americans every year than AIDS.
Until now, docs have prescribed antibiotics for every sneeze and sniffle, especially when it comes to kids. In most cases, they don’t even know whether you need the meds or not – but they don’t want to find out, because the tests can take days and parents want immediate solutions.
But a new test, which I read about in the Journal of the American Medical Association, can tell docs within 20 minutes whether or not an illness was caused by bacteria, and therefore might warrant an antibiotic. In early trials, this test has lead to fewer prescriptions but the same recovery rate.
I’m not saying we should never use antibiotics. These meds have been a godsend, and used well they’ve saved many lives – and I hope they’ll save many more.
But if we continue to use them badly, we’ll be facing a wave of superbugs like never before.