Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Germs That Won't Die

Germs That Won't Die, Marc Lappe, Anchor Press, 1982

The consequence from the extreme overuse of antibiotics is thought to be a new, 21st century problem. This book, published during the Reagan Administration, says otherwise.

A broad-spectrum antibiotic, like penicillin, might kill most of an infection. Some tiny portion of the surviving infection will suddenly acquire a resistance to penicillin. When it comes back, or is passed to someone else, the doctor will have to try some other antibiotic, which may or my not help at all. That same broad-spectrum antibiotic might kill some of the "good" bacteria living in your intestines, allowing "bad" bacteria free rein to cause havoc.

Approximately three to four percent of hospital patients will get a nosocomial infection (an infection gotten while in the hospital). No doubt, that infection has mutated more than once, and is resistant to several, or all, antibiotics. Hospitals need to do a better job in ensuring that instruments, catheter tubes and doctor's hands are properly cleaned or sterilized ahead of time. It seems to be standard hospital practice to give all new patients a shot of broad-spectrum antibiotics, regardless of their infection. This is done without medical testing to see if a different antibiotic is "made" for that infection. This can only increase the spread of antibiotic-resistant infection.

Giving antibiotics to animals as part of their daily care is another potentially big source of antibiotic-resistant infection. The drugs are not given when an animal is not well, but as part of their daily feeding. Another big problem is the average primary care physician prescribing antibiotics much too often, even for things like acne or the sniffles. Eventually, all antibiotics will be useless, after a person's infection builds up resistance to them.

Ignore the year that this book was published; it is still a really interesting book. It shows that overuse of antibiotics is not a new phenomenon. This is a good book to read to get some background on the subject.

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