What are Antibiotics?
As the name suggests antibiotics are a special group of medicines that treats and prevents bacterial infections. Antibiotics were first used into clinical practice some 80 years back and since then bacteria and microbes have been evolving and in recent years they have become resistant and immune to the drugs.
What is Antibiotic resistance?
When the bacteria gets evolved over the years so that they can resist the action of antibiotic drugs to, it is said that the bacteria is antibiotic-resistant. When they become resistant to the drugs they infect human beings and animals that get difficult to treat leading to a prolonged hospital stay, increased medical costs and higher rates of mortality.
WHO says that scientists and medical practitioners must work in unison to address this problem and make new discoveries to change the way antibiotics are used and prescribed.
Why Antibiotic resistance is a Global concern?
The concern of antibiotic resistance is taking a worse turn as it is rising at dangerous levels in all parts of the world. Infectious diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis, foodborne diseases, blood poisoning, and gonorrhea are getting tough to treat effectively as antibiotics are becoming less effective. Other common conditions like childhood ear infections, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and other skin or infections from wounds are caused by pathogens that have mutated and evolved forming a resistance against the same antibiotics they were once sensitive of.
At times antibiotics can be bought over the counter from a pharmacy without a valid prescription and that is creating an antibiotic resistance emergency.
Also in several countries around the world, healthcare professionals don’t follow a standard treatment guideline and often over-prescribe antibiotics. As per reports, in the US, a minimum of 2 million cases of antibiotics is reported that results in at least 23,000 deaths. There are other countries around the world where this concern is even worse.
There have been some alarming reports published by various clinical trials and scientific research that the recent strains of pathogens have become immune to almost every licensed antibiotic. In such hazardous conditions, individuals who have weak immunity, are debilitated and ill have higher chances of developing devastating infections that can lead to mortality.
Since antibiotic resistance became a global concern, managing this universal healthcare hazard has been taken to great importance and is a prior concern of the WHO. They have introduced a global action plan where they are aiming to tackle the treatment of infectious diseases with effective and safe medications.
Every year, November is observed as World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) that aims to increase awareness on the abuse of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance:
- Antibiotics need to be used with care and sold only under a valid prescription.
- Don’t use antibiotics if your doctor has prescribed otherwise.
- Don’t use leftover antibiotics.
- Changes in behavioral actions like preventive vaccinations, safe sex, sanitization, and food hygiene are important to reduce the spread of infections.
So always be aware of the medicines you are having and never administer an antibiotic without a certified doctor’s prescription. The healthcare industry is on a constant roll to research and develop new medicines, vaccines, and other therapies.