Mike from Billions of Versions of Normal (I'm a serious fan) mentioned one of the things we do to ourselves as humans in his comments on yesterday's post. There's a school of thought out there that we have brought on a lot of allergies, etc., by limiting our exposure to random cooties. I agree wholeheartedly.
I'm not as clean and germ freakish as I may imply (someone take Shady Del Knight's and Stephen T. McCarthy's hands off their respective keyboards right now before they kill themselves trying to go wild on that statement. Put CWMartin and Al Penwasser on that list, too).
Mike's comment reminded me of the OTHER thing that we do to ourselves: we misuse antibiotics.
Keeping in mind that I am not a doctor, let me just say that I think it might be better to skip the antibiotics than misuse or over-use this fantastic medical resource. Time after time, I've seen people strong arm their doctors into ordering an antibiotic long before they've determined whether or not their body was going to do what it is made to do: fight off those cooties that are on the attack!
In most cases, I'll personally even swing far to the opposite direction and wait too long before I see the doc. I'm willing to give this carcass a chance at showing off in the "disease destruction" category of the human body Olympics.
Plenty of people aren't willing to wait at all. Then they don't finish the round of antibiotics as instructed! I know, I know...it's your prescription and you'll die if you want to...but consider the following scenario:
- Noting you are feeling under the weather, you give your body sufficient time to do it's thing, your chest gets more congested and it appears it genuinely needs a little help to get over it.
- Day 1: Doc gives you Andy Antibiotic (with new and improved Chia Pet hair) and tells you to take it twice a day for ten days.
- Andy Antibiotic begins to bully the thugs currently inhabiting your lungs. Their names are Creeple, Pusbucket and Greenie.
- Day 2: Creeple is a wimp; after 2 days, his numbers are significantly reduced and he is pretty well out of the picture. But Pusbucket is a bit stronger and Greenie isn't even phased yet.
- Day 3: Creeple is totally gone.
- Day 4: Pusbucket finally starts responding to Andy Antibiotic's daily attack - and he is weak.
- Day 5: You feel pretty good and miss a dose. Pusbucket continues to die off, and a few of the weaker Greenies start to deteriorate, too.
- Day 6: There's only a tiny bit of Pusbuckets left - the ones that were especially hearty and strong. There's a ton of Greenies left; only a few weak ones have been killed off. In fact, their numbers have even grown a bit.
- Day 7: You figure you've taken enough of the medicine and now you're downright lackadaisical. Pusbucket happened to be the germ that caused the uncomfortable symptoms and he is basically gone. Greenies are still there, more weak ones are dying off.
- Day 8: The germs that are left in your lungs are super strong; they're resisting the efforts of Andy Antibiotic...and you've stopped taking your medicine because you feel better. Super Greenies are so happy, because they have been spreading themselves around and Andy Antibiotic hasn't really knocked them out...and now, he is gone.
This fictional "you" is still sick - you just don't realize it yet.
Super Greenie will raise his head again soon and you'll probably be even sicker and have a much more difficult time of getting over it. You may even damage your lungs. You won't recognize that it is a continuation of the same bout of sickness; you'll lament, "Man, I'm always getting chest colds this winter..." Nope. Same cold; never really gone.
But here's the kicker: when you go to visit dear old Aunt Blabby's house and sneeze, she doesn't get to start over with her cold and the balanced mix of Creeple, Pusbucket and Greenie. You're a Super Greenie sneezer now and there's a very good chance that elderly Aunt Blabby (or anyone who has a weakened immune system for whatever reason) won't be as lucky at knocking out the new and improved Super Greenie 2015.
Over and over again, people misuse antibiotics. Super Greenie might eventually be Super T. Rex Greenie Magnus 2015 and be nearly impossible to get rid over after several of these walking-petri-dish people are through.
Take your medicine, people. You don't want me to keep posting medical stuff from my soapbox, do you? Of course not.
This has been a waaaaaay too public, debatable service announcement from an ex-medical-kinda person, not to take the place of actual medical advice that has value.