There Is A Legitimate Health-Based Reason Why We’re Running This Article Full Of 16 Super-Cute Hedgehog Images
Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
If you’ve ever had strep throat, whooping cough, or a urinary tract infection, chances are you’ve used antibiotics (and/or maybe a cup of cranberry juice or two) to aid in fighting your condition caused by a bacterial infection.
Antibiotics are a god (read: scientist) sent miracle, but with great power comes great responsibility and sometimes miracles can take some expected turns and create new (and treatment-resistant) problems.
As reported by Inverse, one of those turns (or so we thought) is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, aka MRSA. That bad boy has caused confused medical professionals all over the world while also killing a bunch of people. However, while death isn’t “cute,” hedgehogs are!
Stay with us here…
“Our findings are inconsistent with the view that the evolution of methicillin resistance in mecC-MRSA was driven by our use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine,” Jesper Larsen, corresponding author on the study and a researcher at the Statens Serum Institut, tells Inverse.
Instead, the data “demonstrate that wild hedgehogs constitute a natural reservoir for MRSA,” Larsen adds.
So, to sum things up – MRSA isn’t our fault. It evolved from natural selection on hedgehog’s skin and they gave it to us like the adorable contagious little vermin they are.
For more information on how we should all blame hedgehogs for MRSA, Inverse is here and ready to educate you. Meanwhile, stick around for 10 (really nine) nifty facts about antibiotics with some cute hedgehogs in between.
1. OK, what are antibiotics anyway?
Antibiotics are a form of pharmaceutical drug that’s used to fight infections caused by bacteria. They may also be prescribed after a surgery. Personally I was prescribed them as preventative care after a root canal last month. Thankful to have had them. Not happy I had to get a root canal.
2. Can I take them for the flu?
Nope! The flu is a viral infection, not a bacterial one. There’s a difference between the two. We typically don’t use antibiotics for viral infections and vice versa. Now if your doctor prescribes them, then ignore me and do what they say.
3. So, where did antibiotics come from anyway?
Once upon a time in 1928, a fellow by the name of Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. Two other men by the names of Ernst Chain and Howard Florey purified penicillin which enabled it for its first use in 1942, but wasn’t used widely until 1945 in the military.
4. Is it like Advil where I can just take anyone’s antibiotics if I need them?
No. You should never take someone else’s antibiotics. Like, ever. I’m pretty sure that’s a crime, but I’m just the head writer here and I didn’t study criminal justice, so I’ll let you google that.
5. OK, fine. So how do I know if I need antibiotics?
You’re going to want to see your healthcare provider. Sometimes they may have you come in, other times you can do a virtual visit. Truly, telehealth has changed the game. I love it so much. Anyway, only a healthcare provider can really access you and tell you whether you’ll need antibiotics or not. There are some cases where you may be prescribed lifetime antibiotics as well.
6. So, you can’t help me get antibiotics?
No. Like I said, I think it’s a crime. Still not sure about that, but I’m not going to risk it.
7. Can I take antibiotics if I’m on birth control?
This is definitely a “talk to your doctor” question, but it has been reported that there have been birth control failures while taking antibiotics. That being said, the antibiotic ripamfin, which has been used to treat tuberculosis, has been proven to reduce the overall effectiveness of birth control. I guess that’s a good thing if you want a child, but definitely a bad thing if you don’t. Once again, talk to your doctor because I’m not trying to be the reason someone does (or doesn’t) get pregnant.
8. When can I stop taking antibiotics? When I feel better, right?
Wrong! Unless your doctor (which I am not) says otherwise – you finish your antibiotics until the end. You can’t tell when the bacteria is fully gone, so that could backfire really badly.
10. OK! I think I get it. So if I don’t feel well, it’s probably safe to just take some antibiotics just in case, right?
…I mean, it’s a really bad idea. In fact, that can hurt you way more than it can help you. Inappropriate use of any medicinal aid isn’t a highly recommended thing for a reason. The reason being that it’s harmful and can create damage in your system. There can be allergic reactions, side effects, kidney injury… the list goes on.
10. Wow. Got it. Can I see more pictures of hedgehogs?
Now that, I can do.
All images courtesy of Getty Images.