Antibiotic Resistance And How To Avoid It
According to a World Health Organization report, there is an urgent need for the world to change the way antibiotics are used and prescribed. Uganda isn’t any different. Though lacking adequate data, the surge of antibiotic resistance is present in Uganda as well.
What is Antibiotic Resistance?
Firstly, we will define an antibiotic. Antibiotics are medicines that inhibit the growth of bacteria and are used to treat bacterial infections.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains that antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria germs in the patient’s body change and overpower the medicines designed to kill them. The change either protects the bacteria from the action of the antibiotic medication or neutralizes the medication. This means that the antibiotics taken by the patient seizes to work as it should.
The bacteria that survive an antibiotic treatment can multiply and pass on their resistant properties to their offspring. Some bacteria will also transfer their antibiotic-resistant properties to other bacteria — as if passing along a cheat code to help each other survive.
Causes and prevention of Antibiotic Resistance.
- The overuse / overdose of antibiotics promotes antibiotic resistance. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one-third to one-half of antibiotic use in humans is unnecessary or inappropriate. Avoid overuse/ overdose of antibiotics by not self-medicating, always get a prescription from your doctor and stick to the recommended dose.
- Poor hygiene increases the spread of diseases which may require patients to take more antibiotics. The regular consumption of antibiotics causes resistance. Ensure to wash your hands regularly, clean your surfaces well and properly dispose of waste.
- Not following the recommended dosage may result into further growth of the bacteria in your body which will then overpower the medication you have taken. This encourages bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic medication. As mentioned above, antibiotics should not be taken without a prescription from a doctor and one must only consume the recommended dose.
- Extensive use of Antibiotics in livestock and fish is another cause of resistance. The extensive use of antibiotics in livestock and fish causes antibiotic resistance in the animals. The resistant bacteria are then passed down to human beings when we consume the meat or milk of those animals.
Consequences of antibiotic resistance
For many years, the introduction of new antibiotics outpaced the development of antibiotic resistance. In recent years, however, the pace of antibiotic resistance has contributed to an increasing number of health care problems. According to WHO, without urgent behavior change, not even the development of new medicines will offset the trend of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance may lead to: prolonged and more severe illness, longer recovery period, several doctor visits, other costly treatments.
Prevention of antibiotic resistance is of at most importance now more than ever. The number of people that are unknowingly falling victim of this catastrophe is only increasing. Therefore, it is high time we all spread the news about the causes, consequences and preventative measures of antibiotic resistance.