What is the alternative to ineffective antibiotics?Posted by Ellee on Mar 12, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments
It is terrifying to learn how resistant bacteria is becoming to antibiotics. They have been used as a last resort for both my sons, and I cannot bear to think of the pain they would have continued enduring without them, and what their recovery would have been like without them.
Last month I had to collect my youngest son from Nottingham and bring him home after his red raw sore throat refused to heal; after a week of not eating, drinking and sleeping, and having been told incorrectly by his medical centre that he had a virus, Jame’s pain and fever intensified, and I headed off in freezing fog to nurse him.
There was a time as a young school boy when James placed his forehead on the radiator at home to fake a high temperature reading. But as a university student with a fantastic sports and social life, James does not want to be ill, he wants to be fit and living life to the full. He kept hoping the sore throat would heal by taking medication available over the counter.
Fortunately, when we returned to Cambridgeshire, our local GP was able to fit James in as an emergency patient – he lay on the sofa and pleaded with me to take him asap and said he couldn’t wait until the next day – when he was immediately diagnosed with tonsilitis and laryngitis. He could barely open his mouth or speak at this stage. James was prescribed antibiotics and had to take 8 a day. How would he have recovered if the bacteria was resistant to them?
Tomorrow I am meeting my eldest son David at Great Ormond Street Hospital where he has been treated over the years for chronic osteomyelitis in the jaw. The treatment included putting him on antibiotics for almost five years and David was told they would turn his bones yellow – not that anyone would see them!
Unfortunately, the pain has returned with a vengeance, and unless you have suffered a chronic infection in the bone which causes it to swell, you cannot understand this kind of unbearable pain. It could be that David will be prescribed antibiotics again, and how would he have managed without them in the past? It is a very worrying situation for us.
I understand the crisis around antibiotics very well as I have promoted an antibiotic awareness campaigns and highlighted fears about the desperate need for modern antibiotics to fight superbugs. Now the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned that antibiotic resistance to be treated as a major national risk on a par with climate change or terrorism because figures show that in 2003 there were three samples which tested positive for antibiotic resistance – but last year, there were 800.
This is a terrifying figure, and one which will continue to soar. For some people, sadly, those people whose bodies are already resistant to antibiotics, they have lost the war against antibiotics. I await to hear the government’s plans about how it will prioritise this desperate situation which affects us globally.