An increasing list of infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gut are becoming more difficult to heal because antibiotics are less effective due to overuse.
If bacteria carry several resistance genes, it is called multiresistant or superbug. New mechanisms of resistance in bacteria appear and spread worldwide and endanger our ability to treat common infectious diseases. Without urgent action, we are heading for antibiotics, where they can again kill common infections and minor injuries.
Resistance to antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial infections – not viral infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of antibiotics and become resistant to them. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become resistant to antibiotics.
Bacteria fight back
The use of antibiotics for viral infections causes antibiotic resistance
Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections such as common colds, influenza, most commonly neck pain, bronchitis and many infections of sinuses and ears. The widespread use of antibiotics for these diseases is an example of how excessive use 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 over-used by the public. There are countries where antibiotics can be purchased for use in humans or non-prescription animals, which aggravates the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
What can be done with antibiotic resistance?
The world must urgently change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. Even when new drugs develop without changing behaviors, resistance to antibiotics will be a major threat.
What you can do to control the spread of antibiotic resistance
- Only use antibiotics if prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional.
- Never ask for antibiotics if your healthcare professional says you do not need them.
- Always complete the course of antibiotics.
- Always follow the instructions of your healthcare professional when using antibiotics.
- Never share or use the remaining antibiotics.
- Prevent infection by regular hand washing, hygienic access to food, avoiding close contact with patients, practices of safer sex and updating vaccinations.
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