But the risks of throwing around antibiotics like confetti may far outweigh your peace of mind. About 70,000 people get rushed to the ER per year for side effects caused by unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics, including diarrhea, yeasty vagina and good old-fashioned permanent hearing loss. Even if you're not that unlucky, it's still a bad idea to take antibiotics flippantly -- your body builds up a resistance to them, so when you get a real bacterial infection down the track, you're going to find that antibiotics are now useless to you. Good work, body.
Pro Tip: Huffing ether makes the common cold way less sucky.
This story gets much, much worse, thanks to, of all people, that bastard Charles Darwin. See, due to natural selection, when you bombard your body with antibiotics, the only bacteria that survive are those that have learned how to beat the system -- and those are the bugs that get to escape back into the world. The more antibiotics you take, the faster the process happens. The result is that an increasing number of people are dying from infections like tuberculosis because we've gone and turned it into super-tuberculosis.
Because of this, our current antibiotics will eventually be completely useless for anything. When this happens, transplant surgery will be nearly impossible, appendectomies will be incredibly risky and gonorrhea will get a whole lot nastier. Experts predict we might suffer the fate of the aliens at the end of War of the Worlds as soon as a couple of generations from now. So maybe, the next time you come down with a case of the sniffles, you should drink lots of fluids and harden the fuck up.
Answer: At least a dozen.
You can learn about, contact and observe Colin at www.colinelzie.com.
For more medical insight from the doctors at Cracked, check out The 7 Most Pointlessly Horrifying Plastic Surgery Procedures and The 10 Most Insane Medical Practices in History.
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