Antibiotics Essay

1658 Words 7 Pages
A Chemical That Works Against Life

Antibiotics (sometimes called antibacterials) are a strong group of medicines that are used to treat infections caused by bacteria and certain parasites. The term antibiotics comes from the Greek terms “anti” (which means “against”) and “bios” (which means “life”) While our scientific knowledge of antibiotics has only recently been developed, the practical application of antibiotics has existed for centuries. Many ancient cultures, including the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks, used specially selected mold, plants and extracts to treat infections. The first known use was by the Chinese about 2,500 years ago, where they discovered that applying the moldy curd of soybeans to infections
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However, despite common misconceptions, antibiotics do not work against infections that are caused by viruses. Most colds, flus and coughs are caused by viruses. A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms. Antibiotics can be very useful and are essential for fighting off certain bacterial issues, but an increased use of antibiotics in situations that don’t call for them has lead to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance means that the antibiotics no longer work against bacteria that they previously would have. This is caused by several different things. Some bacteria are naturally resistant to the antibiotic to begin with (inherent resistance). Some develop the ability to neutralize the antibiotic before it can do harm (acquired resistance). Others can rapidly pump the antibiotic out (efflux), and still others can change the antibiotic attack site so it cannot affect the function of the …show more content…
Triclosan is a chemical that was originally used as a hospital scrub in the 1970’s. Since that time, it has expanded commercially and is now prevalent in many household items, such as soaps, shampoos, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, deodorants and toothpastes. Along with these common things, Triclosan can also be found in some material preservative in mattresses, plastics, textiles (footwear and clothing), toys and adhesives. Though certain studies suggested that Triclosan when used in soaps and cleaners provided a slightly larger reduction in the amount of bacteria found on the skin, the FDA have reported that there were no additional benefits when used as opposed to plain soap and water. Along with the warnings that Triclosan may be added to the growth of antibacterial resistance, some studies have shown that Triclosan is linked to serious health side effects in humans and nature. These include negative endocrine effects (hormone regulation) in humans and animals, developmental and reproductive toxicity, chronic

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