Some of you probably already know this, but here’s the truth: I’ve never used a medical drug in my life, except for anaesthesia during operations. Among other things, this means that I do not take antibiotics when I become ill.
One justification for my decision is that antibiotics are slowly becoming useless. What this means is that when you need antibiotics the most, they’re not going to be there to help you, but I’ll be fine because I’m used to fighting off diseases without the aid of antibiotics. If more people were like me, and antibiotics were reserved for life-threatening situations, then antibiotics would work better, and we wouldn’t have as much drug-resistant bacteria. Moral of the story: don’t use antibiotics unless your life is in danger, and maybe we’ll all live to fight another day.
Actually, there’s a less moralistic moral to the story: ban the use of antibiotics in feed for livestock, as suggested in the Slashdot comments. Bruce Sterling explains one way that bacteria get their drug resistance:
The runoff of tainted feedlot manure, containing millions of pounds of diluted antibiotics, enters rivers and watersheds where the world’s free bacteria dwell. In cities, municipal sewage systems are giant petri-dishes of diluted antibiotics and human-dwelling bacteria. Bacteria are restless. They will try again, every twenty minutes. And they never sleep.
Scary, and ewwwww.