You and everyone you know is covered in bacteria and other microbes! These organisms outnumber our own cells 10 to 1 and collectively make up what we call the microbiome.
We reap many benefits from our microscopic partners: they prevent growth of other microbes more likely to cause disease; they help us break down nutrients; they help regulate our immune system.
When we take antibiotics, our intestinal microbiome is drastically altered. The organisms resistant to the antibiotic gain an advantage and outcompete components of our normal microbiome. We call this selective pressure.
Selective pressure can create an environment for other microbes to cause disease. Clostridium difficile is one such organism. C difficile can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the colon. Use of antibiotics is one risk factor for C difficile infections.
Protect you microbiome!
What you can do:
- When you need antibiotics, take them correctly
- Don’t save antibiotics for a future illness
- Understand that antibiotics don’t work for all infections