How to stop antibiotic resistance? - American Medical Centers (Tbilisi)

How to stop antibiotic resistance?

Today, if you get a bacterial infection – even a serious one that lands you in a hospital bed – you probably feel confident an antibiotic will cure you.

The advent of antibiotics introduced a new era in medicine. But now we are moving backwards – to the world wherein bacterial infections were often lethal because there were no specific treatments available.

Many such infections are rapidly becoming resistant to life-saving drugs. This development can be attributed, to some extent, to biology. It is inevitable that each drug will lose its ability to kill disease-causing bacteria over time. That is because bacteria, through natural selection and genetic adaptation, become resistant to antibiotics.

However, we are speeding up the process dramatically by using antibiotics too much and often in the wrong contexts. We need to slow down the development and spread of resistance so that the antibiotics we have continue to work for as long as possible.

Here is the prescription for action from the World Health Organisation (WHO):

Doctors, nurses, veterinarians and other health workers

  • Don’t prescribe or dispense antibiotics unless they are truly necessary and you have made all efforts to test and confirm which antibiotic your human patient or the animal you are treating should have. Today, it is estimated that in half of all cases, antibiotics are prescribed for conditions caused by viruses, where they do no good.
  • Do more to prevent infections in the first place by ensuring your hands, instruments and environment are clean, and employing vaccines where appropriate.

People using healthcare

  • Take antibiotics only when prescribed by a certified health professional, but also don’t be timid about asking if you feel you really need them.
  • If you take an antibiotic, always complete the full prescription, even if you feel better, because stopping treatment early promotes the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.

Time is running out. Scientist, physicians and citizens really need to work together to fight antibiotic resistance.

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