Demystifying the myths of antibiotics

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The word ‘antibiotic‘ means a process by which life could be used to destroy life. It comes from the word antibiosis, a term coined in 1889 by Louis Pasteur’s pupil Paul Vuillemin. Antibiotics are essentially chemicals secreted by bacteria, fungus and other microorganisms to inhibit the growth of other organisms.

Antibiotics are panacea for all diseases.

  • They are effective only against certain infections.

I can recover faster from cold and cough with antibiotics.

  • Most cold and cough are viral and antibiotics do not kill viruses.

Antibiotics are relatively safe.

  • People have died due to wrongly administered antibiotics.

Mild infection: I can buy any antibiotic over the counter and get my wound infection treated.

  • Treatment of wound infections depends upon the organism that causes the infection. Doctors have the knowledge of wound infection and the antibiotic likely to be effective. You do not have this knowledge.

My doctor does not routinely prescribe antibiotics. The other doctor prescribes for every case. Perhaps my doctor does not know his medicine.

  • In fact your doctor is more learned. The other doctor is not practising evidence backed medicine.

My child of six months has the same infection contracted through me, for which I was given antibiotic. I can give her 1/3 of same antibiotic.

  • Child is a special individual as regards drugs. Do not treat him as 1/3 or 1/4 man.

About Mukul Saxena 33 Articles
Col (Retd) Dr Mukul Saxena has over 30 years of cross-functional expertise in healthcare, both in public and private sectors.