How to use antibiotics wisely

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As the world observes World Antibiotics Awareness Week, Omeshnie Naidoo looks at the good, the bad and the ugly side of this medical marvel.

Good and bad bacteria. Antibiotics swipe both ways. That’s the crucial point. The same medicines that can rid the body of potentially life threatening illnesses, like TB, syphilis or meningitis, can – whether prescribed willy-nilly by practitioners or demanded by patients, taken unnecessarily or not taken as prescribed – destroy the body’s own natural bacteria.

In a culture where a slight niggling feeling is promptly followed by a trip to the doctor and a course of antibiotics it is worth stepping back, looking at what antibiotics are, how they affect the body and when we should and shouldn’t take them.

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