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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Multi-drug-resistant strains of infectious diseases: Viv and Caz have always done their bit

Viv and Caz have always done their bit to help microbes to develop drug resistance.

Every sniffle or sneeze or whatever, Viv would have son James to the doctor to exhibit him and to obtain a remedy. The doctor pointedly remarked to her once about James's having been reared on antibiotics (or did he specify penicillin? I don't remember; it was a long time ago.) His sarcasm did not deter the indefatigable Viv, the caring mother.

And Caz can never waste a cold by allowing it to go unreported. A few months ago she rang me to say she was so ill with a cold and cough she was going to have to stay in bed for a few days. When, a few days later, she was feeling well enough to get up again I was shocked to learn later that instead of resting for a few days more and giving herself a chance to get properly better, she had immediately dragged herself off to the doctor's 'to get a prescription for antibiotics'! - This is a woman who knows that antibiotics do not work for viral infections, which most colds are, and has, like the rest of us, heard many times about the growing and very serious problem of drug-resistant strains of microbes! She just doesn't ever seem to relate that knowledge to her own particular case...

Why do so many people feel they have to go to the doctor if they or their child is ill? For millions of years our ancestors survived without doctors and without antibiotics. Surely most illnesses are self-limiting? Surely taking an active infection along to a waiting room of other patients and to the doctor in his/her surgery is exposing other people to needless risk of infection?