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Antibiotic Resistance - Causes and Ways of Prevention

29 September, 2020 kritika tak

Introduction

Antibiotic resistance and global threat have become synonyms of each other. Even WHO says "Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." 

Statistics showed that only in the U.S. "2.8 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria or fungi, and more than 35,000 people die as a result". A report released by IJMR (Indian Journal of Medical Research) even predicted by saying "another 10 million projected to die from it by 2050, AMR (antimicrobial resistance) alone is killing more people than cancer and road traffic accidents combined together."

So what is antibiotic resistance, what are it causes and what should one do to prevent it? But first, what is an antibiotic?

What is an antibiotic?

Antibiotic are those medicines which help us in killing bacteria in our body and according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Antibiotics are "one of our most powerful drugs for fighting life-threatening bacterial infections." Use of antibiotics is not only restricted to humans as it's also for animals and even crops.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is a situation which occurs when germs stop reacting to antibiotics, and as a result, antibiotic fails to kill them, and bacteria continues to grow. 

A major misconception is "our body becomes resistant to antibiotics" which is completely false, the bacteria or fungi become resistant and repels antibiotics, not us.

Some facts released by WHO for antibiotic resistance:

  • Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
  • Antibiotic resistance leads to - longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

What are the causes of antibiotic resistance?

  • Patients not finishing the entire antibiotic course
  • Poor hygiene and sanitation
  • Over-prescription of antibiotics
  • Overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming
  • Poor infection control in health care settings

In, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) case study of over-prescription of antibiotics revealed that "about 47 million antibiotic courses are prescribed for infections that don’t need antibiotics, like for colds and the flu, in U.S. doctors’ offices and emergency departments each year. That’s about 30% of all antibiotics prescribed in these settings."

Who all should be more careful?

As stated by WHO it can happen to anyone, of any age but -

  • People with a low immune system should be extra careful, as they are at higher risk of contracting an infection.
  • A person undergoing cancer treatment, joint replacement, and organ transplant.
  • Young children and people over 60 years
  • People having chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, asthma, etc

Ways of prevention:

  • Maintaining personal hygiene - washing hands and covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing, the same as COVID-19.
  • Taking antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor, and if you can't find them at a medical store, visit 3MEDS best healthcare provider in India.
  • Stop sharing your antibiotics with others.
  • Please do not save them for later and why should you.
  • Avoid taking antibiotics prescribed to others, as there is a possibility of making you sicker after consuming those and even causing some side effects.
  • Stop demanding antibiotics, especially when your doctor says otherwise, and don't force your doctor to prescribe it also. 
  • Cook food with all safety measures, and be more careful while cooking non-veg, make sure the animal is healthy and free of antibiotics - for growth promotion or disease prevention.

Conclusion:

Antibiotic resistance has the capacity of destroying many sectors of our economy, not only healthcare but also agricultural and veterinary industries. We have to take care of not only ourselves but also about what we are eating and what kind of medicines we are taking to get better. Make sure you are taking all the preventive measures, especially while taking those antibiotics.