Editorial: Antibiotics not much defense against ‘super bugs’

Temperatures dropped to nearly minus 10 degrees last week, but students may have felt a little colder than that with the wind chill.

With every winter comes nasty temperatures and even nastier sicknesses. Students taking antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin to get rid of their ailing health may want to think again.

This may not come as a shock to some, but many bacterial diseases build up resistances to antibiotics, if used frequently.

There are measures other than antibiotics students can take to evade bacterial infections such as throat infections, ear infections or pneumonia.

For starters, students can begin to wear surgical gloves and a doctor’s mask everywhere to be certain they do not contract any diseases or infections.

And though it may not be as practical or inexpensive, students may also want to think about renting out a hefty bubble for the season. Anyone remember that “Seinfeld” episode?

Some steps students could take during this harsh season do not always have to rely on antibiotics.

After all, antibiotics do not work against the common cold, the flu or sore throats.

They work best against some of the bacterial infections listed above.

Dr. Sheila Baker, medical director at health services, said students should only take antibiotics for bacterial infections, not viral infections, if they want results. She said students who excessively treat their ailments with antibiotics run the risk of developing “super bugs.”

According to WebMD, each time someone takes antibiotics, they run the risk of not killing all the bacteria. Because of this, the bacteria can develop a resistance and turn into super bugs, which are harder to get rid of.

Students who think taking more antibiotics will help them become less contagious are also wrong.

Some students overusing antibiotics can develop super bugs, meaning the super bugs would then be contagious to others.

Some tips to help avoid illness this season are to take vitamins, eat healthy and stay away from sick people if possible.

Vitamins help boost a person’s immune system and eating healthy will reinforce it as well.

Baker said when preventing bacterial infections, students should take the same precautions as they would to viral infections.

“Hand washing, avoiding contact and not sharing items is by far the best way to avoid this,” she said. “Keep a healthy immune system.”

And just remember, if you plan on renting out a bubble for the season, make sure to steer clear of intense games of Trivial Pursuit.