The difference is you’re not supposed to take antibiotics if you don’t absolutely have to, whereas you’re supposed to wash your hands all the time, especially before you touch food.
Scientists are well aware that the use of antibiotics spell their own doom. What I have read says using antibiotics on bacteria exerts an evolutionary pressure on the bacteria to mutate into a form that is resistant to that antibiotic.
It is true, it is going to happen, it is only a matter of time. The argument for not using antibiotics all the time, is that it will lengthen the time that the antibiotics are effective giving us humans more time to come up with replacements when they do finally fail.
Washing your hands is important because dirty hands enable the transmission of disease especially through food, but also through touching other people or things other people will touch.
It seems to me though, that this will exert the same evolutionary pressure on the germs that you are removing from your hands by washing them. Certainly you’re not going to wash away all the germs every time you wash your hands…
There is a distinction here though, antibiotics kill bacteria, washing your hands merely moves the bacteria and other germs off your hands into the sink. Perhaps you’re not killing the germs so you’re not creating an evolutionary pressure to work around the problem. I’m not sure. Seems to me, the germs will try to expand and grow as far and wide as they can, by washing, you are removing this particular avenue of transmission and giving them a reason to grow soap-and-water resistant.
Wait long enough and we’ll be washing our hands with antibiotics. So now we’re back to the first problem.
Here’s another angle: Why does medical science exist?
People were evolving just fine before somebody got the bright idea to “bang the rocks together, guys.” But people got sick a lot, and got hurt a lot, and it seems there was this evolutionary pressure on humans to survive and spread despite the germ infested and dangerous world around them.
So they used their intelligence to figure out ways to heal the human body where it couldn’t by itself.
But that’s not how evolution works. Evolution works by mutating the child a little from the parent, not making the parent live longer. The goal should be to run through more generations, not prolong them.
So medical science exists to increase the quality of life of the living, but not the species as a whole, in the big picture. Perhaps logan’s run was right, ixnay everybody at 30. By letting people live and breed who should have evolutionarily be taken out of the gene pool, medical science is actually making it worse for humans in the long run.
This sounds mean, and it is, but it is also true. But that’s not my point.
The point of medical science is not to help the species as a whole, we just proved that, so the point must be to increase the quality of life of those living.
But that’s not true either, because of the hold-back-on-the-antibiotics thing.
Actually I missed an important point: Antibiotics kill bacterial infections not viruses, like the cold or the flu. Nobody questions that, everybody knows it, it is unquestionably true. But does that mean there is no point to taking antibiotics if you have a cold and are trying to increase your quality of life? Can’t find much on the web about it, but a little empirical evidence has shown me a number of times that things do seem to get markedly better after starting to take antibiotics. There is so much noise on google about how bad it is that antibiotics are over-prescribed, that it is impossible to find anybody who’s done a study saying if there is really a zero value to them for treating a cold?
Maybe the net result is that the doctors are right and the rapidly increasing resistance to antibiotics is worse than whatever gain is had when taken if not actually required. But I can’t find any information on that.
Either way, something is wrong, the dots don’t line up for me.
What is the purpose of medical science?