A growing list of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhea are becoming increasingly difficult to treat as antibiotics become less effective due to abuse.
If the bacterium carries several resistance genes, it is called multireistant or superbug. New resistance mechanisms in bacteria appear and spread throughout the world, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. Without urgent action, we are heading to an era after antibiotics, in which ordinary infections and minor injuries can kill again.
Resistance to antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial infections – not viral infections. Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria change in response to the use of antibiotics, becoming immune to them. Bacteria, not people and animals, become resistant to antibiotics.
Bacteria are fighting back
The use of antibiotics for viral infections causes resistance to antibiotics
Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, such as colds, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis and many infections of the sinuses and ears. The widespread use of antibiotics in these diseases is an example of how abuse of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic resistance.
In countries without standard treatment guidelines, antibiotics are often prescribed by healthcare professionals and veterinarians and overly used by the public. There are countries where you can buy antibiotics for use by people or pets without a prescription, which results in poorer appearance and spread of resistance to antibiotics.
What can you do about resistance to antibiotics?
The world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. Even if new drugs are developed without behavioral changes, resistance to antibiotics will remain the main threat.
What you can do to control the spread of antibiotic resistance
- Use only antibiotics prescribed by a certified health care professional.
- Never demand antibiotics if a healthcare professional says you do not need them.
- Always stop the course of antibiotics.
- Always follow the instructions of a healthcare professional while using antibiotics.
- Never share or use any remnants of antibiotics.
- Prevent infections by regularly washing your hands, hygienically preparing food, avoiding close contact with patients, having safer sex and updating vaccinations.
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