24/02/2023 War on germs, Keeping antimicrobials working in cold and flu season and beyond

24/02/2023 War on germs, Keeping antimicrobials working in cold and flu season and beyond

by Lawrence Varga[1]

Keeping antimicrobials working in cold and flu season and beyond-adapted from the Costco monthly magazine.

Microbes a.k.a. germs are tiny organisms that surround us and can live on or inside us. Almost all are harmless or even beneficial, but the remainder of pathogenic, meaning they can cause infection and illness. These microorganisms are divided into classes, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. There are many different medications that can kill them: antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and anthelmintics, respectively. However, overuse or improper use of these medicines can cause germs to become resistant to treatment.

Taking antimicrobials kills germs, but sometimes stronger survivors are left to grow and multiply, especially if the full course of medication was not finished. These microorganisms can also become resistant to mutations and exchange genetic material with each other.

We’ve had more than our share of practice with current pandemic guidelines to take similar measures to prevent the spread of germs. Measures that help keep COVID at bay but also work to avoid spreading some other microbes.

They include frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing

Not touching your face

Staying at home when you are sick

Getting vaccinated and taking all of your boosters

When taking antimicrobial medicines, remember to take your antibiotic exactly as directed and finish it.

Now that you’ve met the enemy and know how to stop it, get out there and fight those bikes.

[1] Lawrence Varga, B.Sc. Phm. is assistant vice president of Costco pharmacy

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