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BACTERIA- FRIEND OR FOE?

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Last evening my son had an episode of diarrhea, and my mother asked me to give him some antibiotic for his infection. Her statement made me realize how ignorant people are of the usefulness of bacteria. An ailment that is caused by disturbance of normal bacterial flora in the human body was being thought of being treated by antibiotics!!

Though we have been made to believe that bacteria cause serious infection and illness, please understand that it is only few which are dangerous. The majority of bacteria are very helpful for the environment as well as the human body. We need bacteria to stay healthy. In the human body, bacteria reside in nasal cavity, oral cavity, skin, gut and vagina and help in normal functioning of our system.

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SKIN: Our skin gives shelter to a variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses; most of which act as gatekeepers and keep a check on other infectious agents entering our body. One such bacteria produces a chemical/toxin, which kills other microbial agents trying to enter our body. Disturbance of this bacterial community makes us fall prey to many infectious bacteria that enter through skin.

NASAL CAVITY:  The nasal cavity also provides shelter to numerous aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Healthy flora at this place keep infections like sinusitis at bay and maintains the nasal lining.

ORAL CAVITY: Our mouth also harbours a versatile population of bacteria which are required for healthy  functioning of teeth and saliva. These bacteria help in breakdown of food particles and help in avoiding bad breath and periodontal diseases.

GUT: The bacteria in our intestine help in providing nutrition and immunity to us. They help in digestion and synthesis of Vitamin K in the intestine. This vitamin is important for clotting of our blood.

VAGINA: The bacteria at this site maintain an acidic ph that keeps other infections in check. Lactobacillus species produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide which keeps the vagina healthy. Any change in vaginal ph due to reduction in bacterial population at this site, leads to a bacterial vaginosis, a disease caused by overgrowth of the ‘bad’ bacteria.

So you see, these bacteria are very essential for a healthy human body. That’s the reason why ‘PROBIOTIC’ is a rage these days and is prescribed to anyone with diarrhea, upset stomach, vaginal itching and many other diseases. So use antibiotics conservatively as they disturb the normal bacterial flora of our body hence compromising body’s natural defense mechanism.

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