Using antibiotics unnecessarily or not finishing the full course of antibiotic treatment helps create drug-resistant bacteria. Here are six ways you can make a difference.
Since the discovery of antibiotics in the 1920s, millions of lives have been saved from bacterial infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis. But over the course of time bacteria have developed resistance to the commonly used antibiotics. As a result of prescribing antibiotics to people who don’t need them or patients failing to complete the prescribed course of antibiotics, over time bacteria develops resistance to the antibiotic. The World Health Organization has also warned that some countries consume a large amount of antibiotics while other countries experience a shortage. This can also contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.
The World Health Organization has proposed a pledge, which recommends six steps to take to support the fight against antibiotic resistance.
I will stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics by:
- Seeking advice from a qualified health professional before using antibiotics
- If prescribed antibiotics, following my health professional’s advice on how to take them
- Educating my family and friends about antibiotic resistance
I will prevent the spread of infection by:
- Washing my hands regularly
- Preparing food hygienically
- Keeping vaccinations for me and my family up to date
And remember, antibiotics kill bacteria. They are not effective against colds, most coughs and the flu. Patients should not demand antibiotics when their health professional says they are not needed.