Why Taking Antibiotics When You Don’t Need Them Puts You At Risk
Experts from around the world are warning us about a future post-antibiotic apocalypse and the end of modern medicine. Concerns are growing that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.
This article will take a look at the following:
- Why Are Antibiotics Important?
- What Is Antibiotic Resistance?
- The Effects Of Antibiotic Resistance.
- What Can Be Done To Slow Down Antibiotic Resistance?
- Worldwide Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Campaigns.
Why Are Antibiotics Important?
Since antibiotics were first used in the late 1930s they have continued to be important in their use to fight serious bacterial infections. Such as meningitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, salmonellosis, and sepsis. When used properly antibiotics can and do save many lives.
What Is Antibiotic Resistance?
Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, no matter where they live. This resistance is a naturally occurring process, but the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
Already a growing number of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and salmonellosis are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
If we overuse antibiotics we increase the chances of the harmful bacteria that live inside us becoming resistant. This results in antibiotics becoming ineffective allowing bacterial infections to continue to grow and spread to others.
Effects Of Antibiotic Resistance
If antibiotics stop being effective we will find ourselves in a situation where minor infections could become deadly. Medical procedures would also be at risk such as surgery, setting broken bones, chemotherapy, and caesareans. Without the use of effective antibiotics, these surgeries would be too dangerous to do. Antibiotic resistance also leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and increased mortality.
What Can Be Done To Slow Down Antibiotic Resistance?
Taking antibiotics when they are not needed will put you and your family at risk of developing infections in the future that cannot be easily treated with antibiotics.
Only using antibiotics when we are sure of their effectiveness gives us the best chance of continuing to fight bacteria and stay ahead of superbugs.
The first step to slowing antibiotic resistance is to only take antibiotics when they are really needed. It has become all to too common for antibiotics to be used to treat infections caused by viruses like colds and flu. Most coughs and sore throats cannot be treated with antibiotics. Usually, these types of infection get better by themselves.
If you are suffering from one of these viral infections you should not take antibiotics instead you should:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty.
- Use paracetamol to help with any fever.
- Use tissues for your nose.
- Wash your hands regularly to avoid spreading the infection.
If you are feeling unwell it’s important to consult with a doctor or medical professional before taking antibiotics. If you are prescribed antibiotics make sure you take them as directed.
Always finish the entire course of antibiotics to avoid triggering more virulent forms of the disease.
Worldwide Antibiotic Resistance Awareness
Antibiotic resistance is not a myth and certainly not another form of scaremongering, it’s a real threat. Experts and health organizations around the world want to get this message out to people. To do this they have set to work on increasing people’s awareness to this threat by launching worldwide initiatives to slow antibiotic resistance.
Here are a few examples of these incentives:
- World Antibiotic Awareness Week. (13-19 November 2017)
- UK Antimicrobial Resistance strategy.
- European Antibiotic Awareness Day. (18 November 2017)
World Health Organization (WHO)
During World Antibiotic Awareness week WHO reached out to the public, health professionals, governments, farmers, veterinarians, the food and feed industry and others via a social media campaign. It used infographics, quizzes, and success stories to raise awareness of the need to act on antibiotic resistance and the steps we can take.
Public Health England – Antibiotic Guardian
Antibiotic Guardian is a Public Health England campaign to encourage people to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics and slow antibiotic resistance.
They have invited the public, students, educators, farmers, veterinary and medical communities and professional organizations, to become Antibiotic Guardians.
Anyone can become an antibiotic guardian by simply visiting the campaign website and making a pledge to make better use of antibiotics and help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete.
Experts are warning that antibiotic resistance is one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today. In order to combat this crisis, everyone needs to act and understand when they should and should not use antibiotics. If we don’t we will find that common infection, minor injuries, and routine operations will become much riskier.
There is no point in stockpiling antibiotics for SHTF if your body becomes resistant to them through overuse whilst they are readily available. Always seek medical advice and only use antibiotics if they are the right medical tool for the job.