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Antibiotic: What is it?

Anti means against. Bios means life. So, they are chemicals that destroy life. Here the life we refer to are Bacteria. Medicines that destroy viruses are called antivirals.

Penicillin, the first antibiotic was made from a plant, but now most antibiotics are chemicals made in the lab.

Most of the common illnesses that we develop, like colds, cough and viral fever are caused by the versatile viruses. Unfortunately, an antibiotic cannot help here. So, how does it appear that the antibiotic helps?

A cold lasts about 5 to 7 days, and 10 days if more severe. So, by the time we seek help and start the antibiotic, our body's defense mechanism has already started functioning and we are on the path of improvement. So, if we start an antibiotic at this time, we attribute the recovery to the antibiotic.

But, is this really an innocuous magic pill? Unfortunately not! Apart from common side effects like diarrhea and rashes, it can destroy a lot of those precious gut bacteria that form our micro biome. This leads to digestive issues like bloating, stomach pain, development of resistance to the antibiotic, leading to the use of stronger and stronger antibiotics, hence causing more harm to the delicate ecology of our body.

Why do we develop resistance? With increased use, the smart bacteria which are quite versatile, adapt themselves in a way that the antibiotic can no longer destroy them and they continue to thrive and cause disease in the body!

The destruction or alteration of the delicate ecosystem of our microbiome then leads eventually to a decrease in our innate immunity, thus paving the way for various chronic illnesses.

Reducing antibiotic use is one of the ways to keep your gut healthy. Make sure you don’t ask or get an antibiotic for a common cold :-)

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