I heard that antibiotics will become useless in the future because the diseases are gaining resistance to them.

When will this happen and how this works exactly? What if someone never used antibiotics or used them rarely, will he/she be still affected?

  • 1
    Welcome to Skeptics! This community checks specific, notable claims. Can you identify one you doubt and edit your question accordingly? If you are rather interested in the topic in general, you can start on Wikipedia and follow the links, or go to Biology for more specific questions.
    – P_S
    Nov 26, 2014 at 8:41
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    The whole point of antibiotics is that humans are immune to them, while bacteria aren't.
    – Mark
    Nov 26, 2014 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


The problem isn't that humans are becoming immune to antibiotics, the problem is that the things you wish to kill are.

When those (bacteria) are immune, it doesn't matter if you have never used antibiotics: it matters that the bacteria do not care about them.

The problem with overuse of antibiotics is (in short) that you kill off all the bacteria that can't handle it and the ones that can are getting all the food and space: example is MSRA: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, so it is resistant to Methicillin (an antibiotic). Which is bad for you as it will not respond to that medicin. This will be a problem regardless of your history with the drug.

This is the big problem: overuse of antibiotics is not as big an issue for the individual as it is for the group, and so it's hard to put a stop to it.

The information about this topic is easy to find, but to add some references:

  • I would note that typically once the antibiotics are removed from the population for a while the non-resistant genes creep back into the pool. At least I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere.
    – user11643
    Nov 26, 2014 at 8:50
  • apart from if you've ever had Methicillin... not that simple. If everyone around you overuses the antibiotic, it doesn't matter if you've never used it, antibiotic-resistant bacteria will be in the environment anyway.
    – nico
    Nov 26, 2014 at 9:42
  • @nico that was wat I was trying to say ;) ... clearly not very good, I'll adjust the wording.
    – Nanne
    Nov 26, 2014 at 10:18
  • @fredsbend This is what happened in Norway in the 90s; they radically cut back on antibiotics except for life-and-death situations, and now the country is effectively free of multi-resistant bacteria. (I suppose it works better with a relatively small population and nationalized health care system, though.) Nov 26, 2014 at 10:35

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