All you need to know about Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotics are used in the treatment of infections. It is estimated that more than 140 million prescriptions are written in favor of antibiotics in the United States alone per year. However, the danger is that bacteria are beginning to get used to the drug, and therefore, some antibiotics are not working against bacteria. Some bacteria become resistant to antibiotics by either changing their genes or getting antibiotic-resistant genes from other bacteria. When antibiotics are used against such bacteria regularly, the drug becomes ineffective.
Antibiotic resistance is now a problem all over the world. It is making some diseases like pneumonia and meningitis hard to treat. It is estimated that over 2 million people in the United States develop antibiotic resistance annually. In most cases, when bacteria have resisted a drug and one continues using it, the infection may become severe in some cases leading to death. Resistance is more dangerous to people with underlying conditions. With them needing to take antibiotics to reduce the chances of infection when undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy or dialysis if their bodies become resistant to the antibiotics, then it becomes a very dangerous situation.
What you can do to reduce the chances of antibiotic resistance
- Stop taking antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor unless you are sure that you need them:- It is estimated that more than 30% of antibiotic prescriptions are not necessary. Patients are therefore required to know whether there are options to the antibiotics they are prescribed. If there is an option, always go for the option.
- Always finish your medication:- Once you are treated and medicated, always finish your pills. Continue taking your medication even if you feel better. If you stop taking your antibiotics before the infection is treated, it will become resistant to that drug requiring you to start the whole process of medication.
- Get a vaccination:- Some infections can be prevented through immunization. These are diseases such as whooping cough and tetanus. Immunization against such diseases ensures that one will not require antibiotics against them.
- Do not share or use leftover antibiotics:- Sharing of antibiotics means that you will not finish your prescription. Similarly, using leftover antibiotics means that you may not be solving the real issue because they are not prescribed to you.
Ensure that you prevent infections by practicing proper hygiene such as washing hands, preparing food in the right way, avoiding contact with infected people, keeping your vaccination updated, and practicing proper sex.
What can institutions do to prevent antibiotic resistance?
- Scientists should continue developing new antibiotics as well as vaccines and do random tests to identify bacteria that become antibiotic-resistant.
- Scientists and public health officials should also monitor the levels of antibiotic resistance and check how far it has spread.
- Doctors should ensure that they use antibiotics only when it is necessary and stop unnecessarily giving antibiotics to patients for every infection.
Recent developments in antibiotic resistance
As much as many antibiotics are being developed, scientists are not sure whether they will be effective against some of the most notorious antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Given the rate at which people travel all over the world, antibiotic resistance is now a worldwide problem.
The impact of antibiotic resistance
When simple infections become antibiotic-resistant, better and expensive medicine is required. This means that the cost of healthcare goes up, therefore burdening societies and families. Resistance is affecting the progress of modern medicine. The resistance of antibiotics is putting procedures such as surgeries, organ transplants, and chemotherapy at a dangerous place. It is because such procedures require very effective antibiotics for the treatment and prevention of infections during the procedures.
Antibiotic resistance is becoming a thorn in the flesh all over the world. The most effective way to deal with it is to ensure that we follow prescriptions in the right way and use drugs only when necessary. Scientists are also expected to continue developing better antibiotics to ensure that each resisted drug has an option.