Bacteria live a much shorter life and reproduce much quicker than we humans do. Their evolution is thus also much faster, and they evolve to meet challenges at alarming speeds. One of the main challenges to their existence is the rise of antibiotics, and they are more and more able to get around those as well. This is an absolute nightmare for clinicians and dentists, and the implications of the existence of antibiotic resistant bacteria are very far reaching. What happens if our antibiotics become obsolete? How will our own bacteria, that live in our mouths, stomachs and all over our body react? Will they be able to withstand the onslaught? What is the significance to human society? Nobody knows or even wants to think about these questions, as the outcome can be quite dreadful.
When antibiotics are used, they kill the bacteria they come into contact with. The idea is to bring them into contact with as many bacteria as possible. When the antibiotics do not kill all of the bacterial colony, some are left to evolve. Some of those left will successfully evolve into strains that are resistant to the threat they have already encountered. If these bacterial cultures form colonies, those colonies will be resistant to antibacterial medications, and other, less effective ways of combating them will be needed.
There are many factors that are contributing to the development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. The most significant is base don patient disobedience. When a patient is prescribed antibiotics, it is necessary that they take the full course of antibiotics, and that they have to keep taking them even if they feel better, which seems counterintuitive, but it is the only way to make sure that the entire bacterial colony is destroyed, and that none of them remain to evolve into resistant strains.
The other very heavily contributing factor is due to antibacterial sprays and infection control procedures in clinical settings. Because the infection control measures taken are often not thorough enough, some bacteria remains on the surface, and these evolve to be able to fight antibiotics. It is important to note that these clinics are usually infection and cross infection free, but they still have residual bacteria on keyboards, in crevices, on gloves and on hands, and of course the devices that are used. Antibiotic sprays and wipes have also just strengthened the bacteria in the long run by eliminating weak bacteria from the pool, leaving only those with at least some antibiotic resistance to continue to thrive.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest world health issues, and is something that will have to be dealt with soon, as it is becoming a more and more pressing concern everyday. Let us hope that we can cap this issue as soon as possible.
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