Is It Possible to Become Immune to Antibiotics?
Why Understanding Antibiotic Resistance Is So Important
We use drugs to improve our health and treat various diseases. Antibiotics are extremely important medications because they are able to treat conditions that other drugs cannot manage — bacterial infections. The use of antibiotics may be associated with certain difficulties, for instance, their ability to kill good bacteria in the body. Also, if antibiotics are used wrongly, they may be useless in treating infections, and, moreover, may cause antibiotics resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is a topic that worries people all over the world. There are lots of sources of information, trying to attract people’s attention to this problem, and that is why many questions associated with it often arise. This happens because antibiotic resistance is a real threat that may cross out many years of the development of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections, bringing us back to the times when people would die from simple pathogens.
It is hard to overestimate the problematic of antibiotic resistance, and in order to deal with it, it is important to understand what it is, how it can be managed, and what can be done to prevent it.
How Antibiotic Resistance Occurs
It is actually natural for bacteria to mutate, but the use of antibiotic accelerates this process significantly. When being attacked by antibacterials, pathogenic bacteria try to use different mechanisms to survive, including the following:
• Bacteria inactivate or modify antibiotic;
• Bacteria change the target site of the antibacterial;
• Bacteria modify of antibiotic’s metabolic pathways;
• Bacteria try to push out antibiotic from their cells.
It is also important to mention plasmids, small DNA molecule that can share genetic information among different bacteria. Basically, once some bacteria become antibiotic-resistant, they can spread this genetic information with others thanks to plasmids.
If you use antibiotic to treat bacteria that is resistant to it, the medication will not work. If the chosen antibiotic does not treat the infection, it does not mean that no other antibiotics can help you out. This only means that another one should be used for this purpose. That is why it is so important to choose the right medication. Unfortunately, there have been cases when none of the chosen antibiotics worked, which led to the death of patients.
Immune System and Bacterial infections
Some people confuse immune system with antibiotic resistance. So, can you get immune to antibiotics? No, you cannot, because the effects of antibiotics are not eliminated by your immune system, but by bacteria. This means that the effectiveness of the treatment depends on whether pathogenic bacteria are antibiotic resistant to antibiotics and what medications are used for the treatment of this infection.
Although your immune system does not reduce the effects of antibiotics, it is important for preventing diseases and becoming healthy again. Your immune system consists of special cells, organs, tissues, and proteins, which protect you against microorganisms and germs. When the immune system is not strong enough, it is unable to prevent the occurrence of infections.
The immune system attacks pathogens by so called immune response. White blood cells (leukocytes) play the key role in the protection of your body. There are two types of leukocytes, including the following:
• Phagocytes are able to chew up pathogens;
• Lymphocytes are responsible for remembering and recognizing previous bad bacteria to help the organism to destroy them.
When pathogens are detected, different cells start working together under the recognizing them and responding to their effects. This is how the production of antibodies is initiated. These antibodies will remain in the body even after the pathogens are destroyed, which will allow fighting the enemies the next time easily.
All in all, your immune system should be strong to prevent the occurrence of bacterial infection and help treat it if it occurs, but it cannot inactivate the effects of antibacterials.
How Can You Improve Your Immune System
Now that you know that immune system and antibiotics resistance are two different things and that it is important to keep your immunity strong, you should learn how you can do it.
The following are general recommendations on how you can keep your immune system strong:
• Avoid smoking;
• Try to eat mostly vegetables, low in saturated fat, fruits, and whole grains;
• Exercise on a regular basis;
• Avoid overweighing or losing too much weight;
• Keep your blood pressure normal;
• Do not abuse alcohol or other substances;
• Have enough of sleep;
• Try to prevent the occurrence of infections by washing your hands, using condoms, cooking meats, not using personal things of other people, etc.;
• Try to visit your healthcare provider for check regularly.