Should you use antibiotics? What’s antibiotic resistance? Can the medication really interfere with the gut and other systems of the body?
If you have questions about antibiotics, you’re not alone — and Mary E. Wilson, a Harvard University professor and infectious disease expert, probably answers those question in “Antibiotics: What Everyone Needs to Know.”
Newly published, the book is like a mega-FAQ about all things antibiotic, from how they were discovered to what we’ll do if they lose their ability to kill bacteria.
Though they didn’t become widely available until the end of World War II, antibiotics have since become ubiquitous. They’ve also become steeped in myth and misconception. Overprescribed for much of their history, antibiotics are in danger of becoming moot because of the evolution of bacteria that can resist them.
Wilson breaks down the science, the social aspects and future fears without scaremongering. Thick and meaty, her book is nonetheless written for nonscientific readers. The book is in a question-and-answer format that makes it ideal for quick reference or a longer read.
Here’s the unsettling truth: Antibiotics are overused and often misunderstood. The modern world — one partly built on the bedrock of easily available antibiotics — is so interconnected that it’s easy for drug-resistant bacteria to travel and multiply.
But Wilson doesn’t stop at that specter.
She examines not only the possibility of a post-antibiotic world but also the research that could reveal a new generation of viable antibiotics or creative alternatives.
The result is a book that finds hope among ever-morphing bacteria — and a seemingly ever-shrinking pool of antibiotic alternatives.