Antibiotic resistance is one of the potentially deadliest public health concerns the world is facing, with major institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are predicting severe consequences within the next century. Healthcare professionals should lead the pack to ensure that their patients are informed and armed with the correct knowledge to reduce the spread of resistant bacteria. This article aims to educate the patient about ways in which they can aid in the fight against this health issue.
I cannot begin to count the number of moments I have had patients request antibiotics for some conditions that do not qualify for antimicrobial treatment. The most common request comes around flu season for a shot of a common injectable antibiotic. The flu is a viral illness that does not get better with an antibiotic. It becomes harder with time to educate patients at every visit and more often than not it is a lot easier when patients inform each other and become advocates for themselves.
Antibiotic resistance is a problem that surpasses a single patient, as it involves the broader population and one being affected can cause problems for an infinite number of individuals. We call this a public health issue. The problem is so rife that a report claims that there will be a death brought on by antibiotic resistance every three seconds in less than 35 years if there is no action taken.
What Exactly Is an Antibiotic?
An antibiotic is a type of drug that helps fight infections caused by bacteria, commonly prescribed by healthcare professionals for urinary tract infections, pneumonia and skin infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when these bugs (bacteria) gain superpowers and are no longer affected by antibiotics that could initially kill them. This is a problem because a superbug that cannot be destroyed is created and this bug can spread like wildfire in schools, homes, and at the workplace causing severe and long-lasting illness in large amounts of the population. These superbugs are challenging to treat, are expensive to manage and introduce new factors into the global burden of disease.
How Is Antibiotic Resistance Created?
A type of bacteria that is generally controlled by antibiotics, under certain conditions, fails to be eliminated and instead undergoes some changes that make it more powerful than the drug. This occurs by the process of mutation, and this change is passed on to the next generation thus producing naturally resistant bacteria. This is how antibiotic-resistant bacteria is created.
What Cause These Changes in the Bacteria?
How to Reduce the Rate of Superbug Spread?
Public health issues are best conquered by everyone doing their bit of the work. Healthcare professionals can only advocate for patients to a certain extent. Let us own our health and improve the lives of our families, friends, and colleagues by sharing the correct information. Cure begins with prevention!
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Last reviewed at:
10 Jan 2019 - 2 min read
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