Can we save ourselves from “antibiotic resistance” the crisis looming over us

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Antibiotic resistance crisis looms over us. We as public remain unaware of the grim scenario that bacteria are inundating our final defenses..

“Annual number of deaths from antibiotic resistant bacteria is around 700,000 worldwide. This figure is predicted to rise to 10 million by 2050.”

antibiotic resistence healthincheck

Antibiotic resistance is a result of evolution and is a natural phenomenon. Bacteria susceptible to antibiotic are killed, however some strains of the bacteria might survive. It happens spontaneously by genetic mutation when bacteria neutralize the effects of antibiotics and continue to multiply. So the offspring of such bacteria might be fully resistant. Another reason for resistance is because they acquire protection from another bacterium by mating and there on passing the traits of resistance from one another.

Decline in antibiotic research & development, waning antibiotic pipeline & flourishing antibiotic resistant bacteria are reasons why antibiotic resistance crisis looms over us. We as public remain unaware of the grim scenario that bacteria are inundating our final defenses and still feel antibiotic has the power to cure us of any infection. We have discussed reasons for antibiotic resistance in our previous post let us see, how best we can tackle it:

  • Antibiotic needs to be prescribed for bacterial infections not viral infections. Antibiotics never work against viral infections. Avoid antibiotics for viral complaints.
  • Antibiotics should be prescribed by a health practitioner not self-administered and one should take it as advised(duration, dosage). Don’t skip doses , if you are advised to take antibiotics for 7 days, you need to take it for 7 days.  Complete the course and do not stop in between even if you start feeling better.  If you stop your antibiotic early, the bacteria that have not yet been killed can restart an infection and you might need a stronger course of antibiotic.
  • It is better to get tested first for accurate diagnosis and then get a prescription based on the report and not go for any broad spectrum antibiotic but a specific antibiotic. Broad spectrum antibiotic should be prescribed only when required.
  • Misuse of antibiotics needs to be curbed by restricting access to powerful antibiotics. Health practitioners should prescribe antibiotics prudently and only when required.
  • Hospitals need to adhere to proper infection control measures such as hand hygiene and standard precautions to prevent cross transmission of bacteria resistant infections.
  • Misuse of antibiotics in our livestock is another contributing factor for antibiotic resistance, as humans end up ingesting antibiotics used on livestock. We need to ensure livestock are treated with antibiotics only under veterinary supervision. Farm animals also need to be kept under clean & hygienic conditions as well as be vaccinated to reduce the need for treatment with antibiotics.
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