Antibiotics Use on Children: More Harm than Good?

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Antibiotics have been used in the past 50 years as a sort of “miracle drug.” Antibiotics have prevented many diseases and infections, but there are flaws being found in what used to be viewed as an amazing thing. Antibiotics are given to many children for basic illnesses and they are given to animals in order for them to prevent animals from getting infections and diseases. However, many people wonder, ‘Does this hurt more than it helps?” From deducing that we become less immune to the diseases we are preventing and the fact that we can become sick from consuming unwanted antibiotics through animals, we can deduce that the amount of antibiotics used should be reduced for the treatment of children’s illnesses and preventative measure in the food supply given through animals.

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Children can be hurt in the long run through the lack of immunity built up in the body when using antibiotics. With careless diagnosis of antibiotics to children, they become less immune to diseases that they might encounter later in life, and in a worse, more harmful form. The antibodies build up when exposed to the sickness directly, and they don’t get the chance to do this now when a person is using antibiotics. When an antibiotic is used, it takes away the bad cells, normally helping the sickness. However, it at the same time takes away the good bacteria. Journalist Jacqueline Jacobs said it best when she said, “This means that the bacteria that were helping your normal bodily processes are gone, which can lead to problems.” This is a good explanation how the good bacteria in your stomach can be sabotaged by the antibiotic. Along with this point, antibiotics have been proven to not work against viruses, but we take it anyways. This hurts us because it takes away the good bacteria in the body while not helping the body the way it should.

Second, unwanted antibiotics can be given to humans through animals used as food. When an antibiotic is given to an animal, it can be transferred to humans when the animal is not cooked properly, and as we discussed before unwanted antibiotics in a person can be a bad thing because it takes away the good bacteria we have in our body as well as the bad bacteria. Superbugs can also get inside the human when transferred from the animals. As said, “Once spread to humans, resistant bacteria can stay in the human gut and spread between individuals.” This creates an awful chain effect of the superbug, resulting in “at least 23,000 deaths per year.” With the reduction of antibiotics given to animals, this problem will occur much less frequently.

Lastly, this is in correlation with the first argument; that we use antibiotics too much. The overuse of antibiotics gives the bacteria a better chance to become immune to the antibiotic itself. Many times we use the antibiotic to help treat viruses, but this in fact does not help. As Mayo Clinic states, “If you take an antibiotic when you actually have a viral infection, the antibiotic is still attacking bacteria in your body.” This means that the antibiotic isn’t benefitting to the war in the body, it is only making it worse because it takes away the good bacteria we need in places like our stomachs to flourish. With the reduction of antibiotics in viruses, it will help keep the healthy bacteria safe inside the human and animal body and help not to spread any unwanted diseases.

The previous arguments were used to back up the fact that the amount of antibiotics used should be reduced. We see that antibiotics can weaken parts of the body like the immune system. Unwanted antibiotics can be spread through the food we eat from animals, resulting in a loss of good bacteria in our body. And lastly we see that with too much use of antibiotics in the wrong context such as viruses we can actually further the problem or sickness even more. Antibiotics can work miracles in the body, but when used the wrong way they can be very harmful. A reduction of antibiotics used would somewhat prohibit the issue at large.

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