There is a particularly troubling article in the Los Angeles Times reporting the emergence of a genetic mutation that makes a common bacterium resistant to the most powerful antibiotic. The bacteria named Escherichia Coli (usually referred to as E. Coli) which is named after the German discoverer and Coli means it lives in the large bowel. Thus, it resides in our stool, as do 100,000 other types of bacteria but it is commonly associated with food poisoning and other infections.
I am confident that science will respond successfully as it has in the past to produce effective new antibiotics, but the continued development of resistant can largely be avoided. Natural selection occurs in bacteria as in more advanced species such as humans but thousands of times faster. Antibiotics kill off the susceptible bacteria, promoting the growth of resistant ones.
Physicians overwhelmingly consider overprescribing antibiotics and causing resistance a problem but not in their hospitals.1 In other words, yes, it is a problem caused by someone else. It has been shown that when patients ask for antibiotics, the chances are they will get them. Studies show that foreign graduates and docs with busier practices are more likely to prescribe antibiotics for viral illnesses where they are not effective and can cause resistance.
Viral infection symptoms differ from bacterial infections. Viruses cause a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Sore throats may happen in both but in bacterial infections, sore throat is the main symptom. Both can produce sputum, but viral is usually clear. When sputum becomes yellow or even greenish, it is more likely bacterial. Viral infections are much more likely if the flu is prevalent.
There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season to treat influenza your doctor can prescribe. These should be considered if one has other diseases such as heart or lung problems. There is an over-the-counter medicine, Cold-Eeze, is shown to be effective clinically2 and is without side effects in the elderly.3 I keep Col-Eeze available and take it when I have the very first symptoms, including a beginning scratchy throat or have nasal congestion. Viruses are the ultimate parasites; they cannot replicate. Thus, they use infected cell’s DNA to form new viruses. Antivirals keep them from entering cells. All antivirals work best when taken early because they keep the viruses from replicating which makes it easier for your antiviral drugs to destroy them.
- Wester, C. W., L. Durairaj, A. T. Evans, D. N. Schwartz, S. Husain, and E. Martinez. “Antibiotic Resistance: A Survey of Physician Perceptions.” [In eng]. Arch Intern Med 162, no. 19 (Oct 28 2002): 2210-6.
- McElroy, B. H., and S. P. Miller. “Effectiveness of Zinc Gluconate Glycine Lozenges (Cold-Eeze) against the Common Cold in School-Aged Subjects: A Retrospective Chart Review.” [In eng]. Am J Ther 9, no. 6 (Nov-Dec 2002): 472-5.
- Silk, R., and C. LeFante. “Safety of Zinc Gluconate Glycine (Cold-Eeze) in a Geriatric Population: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial.” [In eng]. Am J Ther 12, no. 6 (Nov-Dec 2005): 612-7.