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By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
Learn English in September

AM/PM Session - 31 October 2017 - Stopping antibiotic resistance

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,231 Teacher
We read an article explaining that the number of infections which don´t respond to antibiotics is increasing, and what we can do to stop this from happening:


Vocabulary Top 10:

efficacy - the power to produce a desired result or effect

staph - short for staphylococcus; a group of bacteria that cause many common illnesses (such as skin infections and food poisoning)

contract (an infection) - to become ill with (a disease)

mutate - to cause (a gene) to change and create an unusual characteristic in a plant or animal; to change into something very different

makeup - the way in which something is put together or arranged; composition

numbers game - a situation in which the most important factor is how many of a particular thing there are

pandemic - an occurrence in which a disease spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people over a wide area or throughout the world

over-the-counter - available for purchase without a special note (called a prescription) from a doctor

pursuits - an attempt to find, achieve, or get something

stewardship - the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something

Have you heard of this problem before?
Have you heard of any steps to reduce this problem?
Do you think there is anything we can do, as individuals, to help?


  • Alisson_BrazilAlisson_Brazil Posts: 17 ✭✭
    The article shows us a grand currently problem: The bacterias' resistance.

    I even heard about this problem before.
    I heard that some steps to reduce this problem include avoid the self-medication and follow correctly the medical treatment .
    I think that we can do some help to reduce this problem, such as telling about this problem for friend and family, for example, beyond that, we need t study more and more about this topic.
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 11,226 mod
    edited November 2017
    "Not only have doctors spent decades handing out antibiotics to any patient that asked (regardless of whether or not they were needed), some countries still consider antibiotics to be over-the-counter medicines"
    These are the biggest culprits of the whole story.
    I can understand why some patients will ask the doctors for antibiotics.
    If I would feel ill, I'd just go to the doctor when the illness was not over after days and became worst and worst.
    So there is no other choice than asking the last weapon which is antibiotic.
    However, a doctor should only give this when he is really sure that this is the last rescue for the patient.
    They shouldn't give it only because patients ask for this.
    In some countries antibiotics are considered to be over-the-counter medicines.
    Yes, now with the internet, it's easy to do self-diagnosis (which is dangerous and not always correct) and you could even buy medicines, antibiotics included, online too.
    Thank goodness, I haven't suffered a lot of any infectious disseases where I would need antibiotics, but again I can understand if a person frequently contracts an infection, or infections, he/she would know what the doctor would prescribe as treatment.
    So why wouldn't he/she buy it over-the-counter? It's cheaperand easier.

    Bacteria are so smart that they can mutate and everytime they can escape from the death and they become even stronger and stronger.
    Human's DNA, as I understood from the text, is also able to mutate.
    So, I wonder why our resistance doesn't become stronger too when we are attacked by bacteria?
    If it could be the case, we wouldn't ever be ill! ;)

    At last, I think, beside the policy and restrictions in using, prescribing and the accessibility of antibiotics, precautionary measures as washing hands and desinfecting/sterilizing of instruments in the hospital (isolating of contaminated patients doesn't seem really efficient) are very important to prevent contaminations and so also avoiding excessively usage of antibiotics and giving the bacteria less chance to be so smart.

    Post edited by april on
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What do you first think of when I use this word ' virus ' ?

    Probably most millennials would say it's the software or set of digital instructions some cyber-criminals use in order to destroy your data on PC; I suppose that's the right answer, but not the only one.

    Then young people have also coined an idiom ' go viral ' referring to the process of spreading pictures, videos or comments via the internet, which can make sense also to the more strict biologist.

    When we think about diseases and their causes, we refer generally to germs, which term, I suppose, can embrace any entities, such as bugs, fungi, bacteria and viruses.

    However who can tell the difference between bacteria and viruses ?

    Here, in my opinion, resides the main problem with the antibiotics' overuse.

    The bacteria are living things; why ? Because they are cells, which are the simplest basic form of life: our bodies are formed of myriad of cells.
    Some bacteria are considered plants, the simplest form of plant; why ? Because they do the process, peculiar to plants called photosynthesis.

    Now, the hard question to answer is: what are the viruses ? They are neither animals nor plant, they are just viruses.

    According to what I remember from university, hoping I'm not wrong, I recall them being just some kind of sub-microscopial entities made of a proteinic differently-shaped shell, which involve genetic material in the inside.

    How does the virus infect you ? It enters one body cell, it replicates its own genetic material using the entitled parts within the cell, finally the replicated descendants destroy the cell-host and start spreading and infecting other cells, using the blood-vessels as comfortable motor-ways.

    What are antibiotics ? They are substances certain strains of bacteria produce in order to control, fight or even kill antagonist bacteria strains.

    What have antibiotics to do with viruses ? Nothing, exactly nothing.

    Suppose you've got a cold, which in most cases is caused by a virus, NOT a bacteria, of the rhynovirus family; you start sneezing and you get a runny nose; it's not that much bad, after all; you just need a cup of hot milk, an aspirin and some rest; that's all. You DON'T need taking an antibiotic.

    Suppose that, after a week, your cold has worsened; now you've got a sore throat and cough; you still can resist without the need to call for the National Guard to come and destroy the evil viruses. Just wrap a scarf around your neck, use a spray to relieve your symptoms: that's all you have to do. You DON'T need taking an antibiotic.

    Suppose that, after a further week, you've got catarrh lining the upper respiratory pipes; it can be frustrating, I know; however once again not that bad; you don't need to send a twitter message to Mr. Trump asking for one Marine Corps unity; just use the aerosol machine, start inhaling and exaling inside the mask; it provides you with fine medicinal drops, which cause your catarrh to slowly liquefy. You DON'T need taking an antibiotic.

    Finally just a heartily plea, just in case. I hope neither of the readers is actually the boss of a pharmaceutical company dealing with antibiotics. In this case I hope my comment won't go viral... oops :D

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,231 Teacher
    @filauzio that´s an excellent point, and one we didn´t cover during the session - antibiotics only work against bacteria, and not viruses! And many times, the ´bug´ we´ve caught is a virus, not bacteria, but we try treating it with antibiotics. Another reason why they don´t work as well as they did in the past!
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 11,226 mod
    I think, the reason why doctors give antibiotics when we are infected by viruses is not to fight the viruses.
    Take for example "pneumonia".
    This dangerous lung infection can be caused by viruses and bacteria as well.
    Only bloodtest like blood culture can give the answer of which one is responsible for it.
    Whilst antibiotics can't be efficient against viruses, they will against bacteria.
    That's why doctors give antibiotics, I think; to prevent the worst and fatal ending.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Then maybe there is also the question: ' drugs versus vaccine '.

    While people take the medicine repetitively when already sick, they get the vaccine's injection as a one-off prevention treatment not to get the infection.

    Hence the different of attitude, particularly expending attitude people show in either cases.

    On the one hand you really don't want to spend much money to get the preventive jab; at the time of the puncture, in fact, you feel perfectly healthy. You even feel like negotiating the vaccine's cost.

    On the other hand, when you ask for the drug, you feel at your wits end the extent you got sick and desperate; you waggle down the stairs and make it to the closest pharmacy; your appearance, at this point, is exactly that of a drug-addicted.

    Here you ask for your preferred drug: ' One confection of antibiotic, please '.

    What if the price has gone up by 30% ? It doesn't matter, not at all: You might even comply and give the pharmacist the number of your credit card along with the card itself, provided the antibiotic box drops into your coat's pocket straightaway.

    Pharmaceutical biggest players, I suppose, have long gone deep into this consumers'attitude, so they prefer getting drug-addicted people rather than definitely defeat bacterial/viral infections.

    Obviously, as any lucrative companies, they have to compensate their huge investments referring to the processes of lab research, clinical trials, manufacturing and finally distribution.

    In order for them to gain profit, they should make their vaccines very expensive, which wouldn't work out; let alone the fact that the vaccine's injection is administered just once or, at best, once a year.

    This is the reason why they keep manufacturing drugs which, although cheap, assure them a steady return.

    What if all people got immunized ? There wouldn't be neither infections nor contagion anymore; the pathogen would be defeated once and for all; we have reached the so-called ' herd immunity '.

    Pharmaceutical companies would be awarded the status of charity.

    To me it would be like, all of a sudden, any wolves turned lambs... quite unbelievable, like someone pretended having seen flying elephants.

    Can the leopard change its spots ? I'm sure that in the aftermath of this shocking change of status, the bleating wolves would try to cheat us into thinking their drugs can be the optimum choice to prevent digital viruses' spreading through our PC.
    They could think of a proper pills' slot on the side of it too.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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