Antibiotic Resistance: Causes and Impacts

Macy Carder


Microbes, specifically bacteria are living organisms that are a part of our everyday life. There is an estimated 39 trillion bacteria cells living on and in your body at any given time, that’s 9 trillion more than the average human cells that make up your body! Most of these bacteria are “good” bacteria, and contribute to a healthy gut, as well as other organs such as your skin. Many “good” bacteria actually help prevent disease from “bad” or pathogenic bacteria found in and on your body, by competing for nutrients and keeping things in check. Fun Fact: this is why it is recommended by doctors to eat yogurt and other foods fermented with “good” bacteria (such as kefir or kimchi) while taking antibiotics, so that you can maintain a healthy number of beneficial bacteria after the course of antibiotics is taken. Bacteria and microbes are constantly evolving, and are able to adapt to their environments to continue to thrive in harsh conditions, and when something inhibits growth, such as an antibiotic, genetic changes can occur to enable the bacteria to survive. This is where antibiotic resistance occurs. This resistance can occur in several ways that will be outlined later in the chapter.

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