We all have used antibiotics to treat severe bacterial infections at some point or the other. But medics are now concerned about the misuse that has contributed to a rise in disease causing bacterial resistance.
What is Antibiotic Resistance?
When an antibiotic drug no longer has an effect on a certain strain of bacteria, those bacteria are said to be antibiotic resistant. Overuse of antibiotics fuels antibiotic resistance in bacteria which can inhibit the treatment of antibiotic resistant infections. Misuse or overuse of antibiotics leads to potentially serious effects on health. It has led to creation of multidrug-resistant bacteria, informally called “super bugs”:
Even relatively harmless bacteria such as staphylococcus can develop resistance to multiple antibiotics and cause life-threatening infections. The fact that bacteria develop resistance to a drug is normal and expected. However, the way that drugs are used affects how quickly and to what extent drug resistance occurs.
Misuse of Antibiotics
Use of antibiotics without clinical indication, use of broad spectrum antibiotics, inappropriate dose and duration are few factors that lead to misuse of antibiotics. We also tend to consume antibiotics for viral infections where it is not required like common cold, Flu, Bronchitis, cough, sinus, ear infections. Use of antibiotics against these diseases is superfluous and can put the patient at risk of suffering adverse reaction.
Effects of Antibiotic Resistance
In recent years, the pace of drug resistance has contributed to an increasing number of health care problems. A report by CDCP (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), America states that at least 2 million people annually “acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics designed to treat those infections.” At least 23,000 people die annually from antibiotic-resistant infections.
The increasing number of drug-resistant infections results in:
- More-serious illness or disability
- More deaths from previously treatable illnesses
- Prolonged recovery
- Less effective or more-invasive treatments
Protection from Antibiotic Resistance
- Use antibiotics only as prescribed by the doctor.
- Take the appropriate daily dosage and complete the entire course of treatment.
- Don’t consume leftover pills
- Don’t pressure your doctor prescribe antibiotics. Ask your doctor for advice on how to treat symptoms.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet, before eating, before preparing food and after handling fresh meat. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and keep kitchen work surfaces clean.
- Be particular about your vaccination