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What is it with the Polish love of antibiotics? And Why do Poles get ill more?

z_darius 14 | 3,968
5 Mar 2010 #31
I think over-prescribing antibiotics has little to do with the political system, as this piece of news, just over 3 months old, shows:
OP Myszolow 3 | 157
5 Mar 2010 #32
Thanks for that Darek.

I accept it may well be happening in the UK now. (See, no attempts at diversion or denial). What I am more interested in though, is why it was happening in Poland 20+ years ago. What or who started it? After all we have a couple of million Poles in the UK now bringing in nasty antibiotic resistant strains which are a legacy from that past practice.

Also I think the UK government has a lot more common ground with the communists than we would really care to know.

Now for the jokey bit ;)

GPs in the UK are too busy trying to diagnose their ways out of paper bags. The system here has gone to pot with the attempted privatisation of the health service. Too many bean-counters, not enough good docs.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
5 Mar 2010 #33
I accept it may well be happening in the UK now.

I'm not sure who's bringing MRSA to the UK but I'm not sure it could be blamed on any one nation. The super bug is actually on a rampage in North America too.

I did get a couple dozes of antis when I live in Poland and these were strong mofos, and mostly injected. Here doctors prescribe them too.

This way or another, I'd be looking at meat production. Human consumption of drugs via prescriptions doesn't come even close to what antibiotics we eat with our daily food.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
5 Mar 2010 #34
After all we have a couple of million Poles in the UK now bringing in nasty antibiotic resistant strains which are a legacy from that past practice.

Now that statement is really a bit OTT. Could you back it up with any hard facts?
OP Myszolow 3 | 157
5 Mar 2010 #35
Nope - sheer extrapolation. But isn't it obviously going to happen when people move around on this scale?

I don't mean that all 2 million are bringing stuff in. What I mean is that with the mass migration, some of the ailments from the immigrants' country will be brought across.

If there are resistant strains in country A and millions of people move from A to B, some of them will carry those strains with them and country B will be affected.

It's nothing personal.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
5 Mar 2010 #36
If there are resistant strains in country A

But you would first have to prove that country B did not have those or similar strains as well. I remember reading horror stories in the Polish tabloid press about MRSA infections in British hospitals waaay back in the mid-nineties.
z_darius 14 | 3,968
6 Mar 2010 #37
Nope - sheer extrapolation. But isn't it obviously going to happen when people move around on this scale?

Have you considered your own country in this extrapolation of yours? A person doesn't have to live and work in the UK (as Poles do) to bring in a bug. Do you realize the volume of travel between the UK and US/CA? In fact MRSA, for one, was first identified in the UK (1961), and 20 years later in the US. That was before any volume of Poles to speak of traveled to the UK. So, to paraphrase the topic of this thread, what was it with the British love of antibiotics? Perhaps those Poles who traveled to the UK brought back the nasty bugs and exposed to it a nation who was not as immunized to it through much contact as on the Island.?

A while ago I was actually interested in this so I asked a cousin of mine who is an MD. This is the essence what he told me:

Over-prescribing is one thing but this is not the end of the story, nor even the beginning, nor even the worst part of the story. Bacteria, as a living organisms mutate whether they are subject to improper antibiotic regime or not. Some of it is bound to have some resistance to certain medications and that which do survive and give rise to new strains. The antibiotic resistant pathogens were and are bound to overcome what we call medication.

Some doctors overdoze antis, some under-doze. The latter may be actually worse than overdozing since under-dozed antibiotics effectively act as vaccination that benefit the bacteria. The weakest are killed but the strongest are not. They survive and pass on their DNA.

The trick is to come up with just the right amount of the medication. We want to kill the bad bugs so one might tend to overprescribed, just to be sure. The problem is that too much antis may lead to fungal overgrowth (candida albicans) and the fungus, if left untreated will kill a person. Hence doctors often recommend youghurts and such, or simply prescribe antifungal medication to go with the antibiotic (nystatin is a popular choice). When too little is prescribed the bacteria acquire immunity to the antibiotic and eventually mutate into antibiotic resistant strains.

And then there is the actual user of the antbiotic. No matter how responsible the doctor is and how correct the doze is, some patients will stop taking the antibiotics prescribed to them as soon as they start feeling better. After all we should limit how much antis we take, right?

Of course it's not right. This only creates more opportunity for bacteria to mutate and to acquire resistance. Your comments would suggest that this would never happened to a native Brit.

There were mentions of kids being sent to school when they are sick. I can't argue with that since I don't know all the kids and their parents in Poland. What I know, and this is pretty rust knowledge (20+ years ago) was that Poles, unlike the Western Ubermensch, actually loved skipping work and school. Yes, some Poles are lazy. Imagine that.

A working person would need a special form, called L4, which was a doctor's note notifying the employer that the person in question is to stay at home for a specific number of days. These forms were not just printed at doctor's will. They were all numbered centrally (by the ministry of health I believe) much like money is. Some, less scrupulous doctors would sell L4 forms to some less scrupulous employed persons. Medical staff would count L4 forms like they count psychotropic drugs at each shift change in hospitals. Time off, supported b L4 was fully paid.

Pupils and students did not need L4 but they still needed a doctors note, which was usually in the form of a medical prescription. A low grade fever was ensured one. In junior grades a parent's note was sufficient. At that time I'd say parents tended to err on the side of caution and overprotection - better keep the mildly sick kid at home. At 37C in Canada you're good to go. When I was a kid 37C was a great excuse to stay at home and plow through books and toys.

An interesting thing we thought was a fact of life, a myth it turns out, was that in the West people not only do not abuse doctors' notes, but they will go to work/school even when they are sick. After all, no work = no pay.

This is not a rule where work and worked. Increasingly, people will stay at home if there are obvious symptoms but at times I heard employers and managers encouraging some symptomatic people to go home and not come back until they get better. This is of course to minimize the risk of a localized epidemic. So in fact, outside of Poland people will come to work/school sick. Is it more than in Poland? No idea. I have no reliable stats for either.
czar 1 | 143
6 Mar 2010 #38
seanus thats tough talk on the internet, polish people work hard andcan grunt if they want and im sure reality is your a panty waste pasty brit.
OP Myszolow 3 | 157
6 Mar 2010 #39
Good post Darek. Believe me, I don't think UK is "not guilty" of errors. It was always emphasised that a course of antibiotics HAS to be finished every time I've ever been given them in the UK. That doesn't mean it is everywhere though.

A (paraphrased) comment in that second article about "every Polish first aid box contains leftovers of courses of antibiotics" implies that this is normal and habitual. I can assure you that it is not common practice among the Brits I associate with. People finish their courses as it is drummed into them - and I can remember being told the reason why.

Still we are guilty of many other things, like having the world's busiest airports, so we are partly responsible for facilitating the spread of diseases.

I'm sure things have changed. I've been self-employed for 13 years so I don't "go to work" as I work from home. People are under a lot of pressure at work. So maybe they are going to work when ill? (In both countries) When I read articles in Polish newspapers about Poles coming back to Poland to get antibiotics because British doctors won't give them to them, I see that there is a problem.

We also have Polish friends who asked us to bring them antibiotics and other prescription only medication when we went to Poland. We won't do that.

Maybe these are isolated cases? Or maybe there is an antibiotic culture to deal with in Poland as the evidence shows.

This thread has been interesting because of the progression.

Poles overpresccribe anitbiotics
No they don't
Evidence provided
Brits do too
More evidence provided
Brits are worse

It's all interesting, but I still want to get to the bottom of how it happened.

Britain has its problems like any other nation, but you can't use that to deflect from the fact that Poland has too and this is a thread about Polish antibiotic prescribing habits and culture and illness frequency.

So far, just one Pole has admitted the issue. The rest of you flatly deny it and try to attack other countries to distract from the debate.

I admit there are problems in my country and it is not perfect. It may be even worse than Poland. But trying to focus the thread onto how crap UK is will not answer the question of how it happened in Poland.

polish people work hard

Some do, some don't. Just the same as every other nation. Why do you guys have to make everything personal? Seanus is just having a giggle. Is it not possible to discuss a serious topic and intermix it with humour?
Jimmu 2 | 157
26 Aug 2011 #40

"angina" (which is a linguistic false friend because angina is a coronary artery disease in English

Angina is pain. Coronary angina is heart pain. Coronary arterial angina is pain in the major artery of the heart.

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