What is the article about?
Singapore Straits Times (link: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/antibiotic-abuse-killing-thousands-in-thailand) has recently reported that rampant prescription, easy and cheap access to antibiotics have destroyed thousands of lives in Thailand as this has created superbugs which are drug-resistant. The article also highlighted that antibiotics are in the meat we consumed too as antibiotics are used in animal feed by some farms. Initially, it was difficult for me (a city dweller) to relate to the fact that antibiotics are found in the meat we consume until last December, when I had a chance to visit a cow farm and witnessed antibiotics being injected into the cow while it is having its milk expressed!
Does it mean we should avoid antibiotics?
This depends on the root cause of the illness – bacterial vs viral. Antibiotics is meant to fight against bacteria but not viruses as the two are very different creatures! Bacteria are much larger and more complex than viruses and reproduce themselves by splitting into two cells once every 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, viruses multiply by invading a host cell and hijacking the host’s machinery. As a matter of fact, there is no cure/medication against viral infection except to let your immune system fight it out. The most notable example would be that of HIV. Hence, it may be wise to always ask the doctor if you are having a bacterial or viral infection before you pop that antibiotics.
The implication for antibiotics abuse is GLOBAL..
Since travel is so convenient with the click of a button and made affordable with the emergence of low-cost carriers. Furthermore, the demand for travel is rising too with growing middle-income population. History has demonstrated that viral infection can spread like wildfire (e.g. SARS in 2002, MERS in 2015 and Zika in 2016). As antibiotic resistance grows, people who need to rely on antibiotics to treat infections face high risk.
You have a choice!
Would you prefer to depend on the development of stronger medication (if any) or strengthen own immune system to fight these superbugs? Have we also become too trusting in doctors’ expertise and professionalism? Since young, my family GP has been prescribing antibiotics whenever I am down with sore throat and flu. When asked if the flu was caused by bacteria or virus in my most recent visit, the doctor was unable to advise. In 2015, an orthopaedic at Mount Elizabeth hospital advised for me to get a keyhole operation for my slip-discs and claimed/insisted there are no other alternatives. I spent more than a year recovering from the operation. One can argue doctors should be professional and ethical but who is paying the price for the lack of knowledge at the end of the day?
Take charge of your life!
It makes sense to me to strengthen own immune system since there is no cure/medication against viral infection at the end of the day. This is exactly what the science of Nutritional Immunology (NI) tells us – nourish the immune system as it is the best doctor on earth! For example, polysaccharides is one of the three amazing nutrients which increase the Natural Killer (NK) cells activity to fight against diseases hence boosting our immunity. What many people are unaware of is that polysaccharides can be found in the mushrooms we eat daily! All we have to do is to read and learn more about Nutritional Immunology (NI) and be more conscious about our diet.
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