Antibiotics are designed specifically to attack bacteria and stop its growth. Everyone has had a dose of antibiotics at some point in their lives. However, these medicines can easily be obtained without a prescription, and many people end up overusing them every time they fall sick.
As a result, the bad bacteria build up an antibacterial resistance as a direct result of the prolonged use of antibiotics.
Like most living organisms on the planet, bacteria are in a constant state of evolution. When you continually attack bacteria with the same antibiotics, they build up their defence against the same and are soon able to resist its effects. Over the course of time, your treatment plan becomes totally obsolete.
Moreover, this is not just a problem that is limited to a single individual. Antibiotic resistant bacteria spreads all over the world, and is currently one of the biggest problems in the healthcare industry. This is why you must be cognizant of the use and misuse of antibiotics.
How does antibiotics resistance affect the world?
To understand antimicrobial resistance and infection control better, we must first understand exactly how this problem affects the world.
When bacteria survives the antibiotic treatment you subject it to, it is free to proliferate and spread from person-to-person. This is highly dangerous as this particular strain of bacteria has changes in its inherent genetic makeup. As a result, it is able to pass on its newly found resistance to its offspring.
Think of two Dalmatians for clarity. One has black spots and the other has brown ones. Their offspring ends up with a mix of brown and black spots because they have inherited the genes for both. Similarly, the antibiotic resistant bacteria that has spread from Point A and infected you will be resistant to the antibiotic taken by patient zero in point A. Therefore, even if you are not prone to misusing your antibiotics, you will still not be able to use the medication to get better.
Some of the serious consequences of the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria include the following:
- Longer recovery periods
- An increase in the frequency of your hospitalizations or longer stay in hospitals
- More visits to the doctor as your medications do not cure your illness effectively
- More serious illnesses develop
- Financial drain from repeated visits to hospitals for treatment
Health crisis in third world nations due to antibiotic resistant bacteria
Developing nations with limited access to medications suffer the most due to the use and misuse of antibiotics. Because many of the latest medicines are inaccessible to the people living in far-flung places, they are predominantly exposed to a specific antibiotic. Once the bacteria begins to resist the medication, the medication is useless.
Furthermore, if antibiotic resistant bacteria infect people living in third world nations in the first place, their limited medication is still useless. In areas where people suffer from economic crises on a daily basis, ineffective medication can lead to widespread disease and death.
Ways to prevent antibiotic resistance
While doctors and hospitals are primarily responsible for preventing the prolonged use of antibiotics, as individuals, we can do our part in trying to prevent the overuse of antibiotics. Here are some ways to prevent antibiotic resistance
- Ask your doctor how you can treat your symptoms without the use of antibiotics. Many light medications as well as home remedies are great for minor infections. Of course, asking your doctor about their effectiveness is the key here. Do not just Google home remedies and apply them haphazardly.
- Do not rely on antibiotics for everything. Antibiotics are meant for bacterial infections. However, many people use them for viral flus and infections as well. They do not work on viruses.
- Bacteria can be airborne, waterborne or even foodborne. Therefore, the first step in preventing antibacterial resistance is to prevent yourself from falling sick easily. Practice good hygiene. Do not consume raw milk, unwashed fruits and vegetables, or random street food that you are not sure of.
- Ensuring that your children are vaccinated on time is another one of the top ways to prevent antibiotic resistance.
- Only take the antibiotics your doctor has prescribed. If you have leftover antibiotics at home, throw them away. They may not be the right ones for your illness and, more importantly, they may not even be a full course.
- Do not take antibiotics prescribed to someone else for the same illness unless your doctor tells you to.
By ensuring that you are aware of the use and misuse of antibiotics, you can make sure that the lifespan of specific antibiotics is longer. It can help you preserve the overall effectiveness of the antibiotic. It can also help you prevent other people from coming into contact with antibiotic resistant bacteria. Although the world is a large place, your individual actions can affect the world’s health and safety. So, shoulder the responsibility and make the planet just a bit healthier.