Antibiotic awareness week (12th-18th November), an initiative by WHO, aims to increase global awareness about the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria acquire the ability to defeat the medicines designed to kill them. This means the bacteria are not destroyed and continue to thrive in the body.
Why should I care about antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to public health. Today, antibiotic resistance causes 7,00,000 deaths annually. This number is expected to rise by 10 million deaths annually by 2050.
Once easily treatable infections with common antibiotics are becoming unmanageable. This is because antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to diagnose, kill and more expensive to treat. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death.
Misuse and overuse of antibiotics are the main reasons why bacteria develop resistance and render antibiotics ineffective. Without effective antibiotics many common infections and routine surgeries may become life-threatening.
Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?
Some bacteria normally acquire resistance to common antibiotics as a part of natural selection process. Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria (those which can be killed by antibiotics) are destroyed, but resistant bacteria are left to grow and multiply. This is how repeated and excessive use of antibiotics can increase the number of drug-resistant bacteria.
Can I help protect myself and my community from antibiotic resistance?
Yes, you can. Saving antibiotics is a collective responsibility. Please adhere to the simple steps below:
– Don’t start or stop antibiotics by choice. Always follow the physician’s advice.
– Avoid antibiotics for cold and flu. These infections are usually caused by viruses, not bacteria.
– Don’t use leftover antibiotics or share them with others
– Avoid using multiple antibiotic combinations. More is not always good.
– Prevent infections by regularly washing hands and keeping cleanliness
Let’s take a pledge during this antibiotic awareness week to ensure proper use of antibiotics!