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Experts warn bacteria are becoming more antibiotic resistant, which poses serious health risks

Experts warn bacteria are becoming more antibiotic resistant, which poses serious health risks

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report revealing the first-ever list of 19 fungi that pose the biggest threat to public health, warning that certain strains are becoming drug resistant.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week has been set aside to improve awareness and understanding of Antibiotic resistance (ABR) among the public and health-care workers to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in communities.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing global health threat, which is mainly driven by the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals.

Taking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reasons can alter bacteria to such a degree that renders antibiotics ineffective. This is known as antibiotic or antimicrobial resistance (ABR/AMR).

By definition, antibiotics are drugs used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Bacteria mutate in response to antibiotic use, resulting in antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance occurs in bacteria, not humans or animals, according to the WHO.

Infections caused by these bacteria are more difficult to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

Pharma Dynamics’ antimicrobial category manager Elani van Zyl notes that at least 30% of the antibiotics prescribed at present are unnecessary.

She asserts that physicians are prescribing antibiotics for conditions caused by viruses.

These include common colds, sore throats, stomach flu, sinus- and ear infections, as well as bronchitis.

This frequent use of antibiotics contributes to the growing antibiotic resistance, putting patients at a greater risk of having the germs become resistant to certain antibiotics.

Experts warn bacteria are becoming more antibiotic resistant, which poses serious health risks
Picture by Edward Jenner/Pexel

“Antibiotics should only be prescribed for bacterial infections as they are not effective against viral infections.

“Taking antibiotics for a viral infection won’t treat the infection.

“On the contrary, it could lead to harmful side effects and antibiotic resistance.” said van Zyl in a statement.

The public and healthcare practitioners can all help to ensure the correct use of antibiotics by following these guidelines:

Do not insist that your doctor give you an antibiotic. Trust your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.

Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently with soap and water to maintain proper hygiene.

Cuts and wounds should be cleaned and sterilised to prevent bacterial infections.

Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking your antibiotics and finish the course.

Although it may be tempting to stop taking the antibiotic once you start feeling better, you must complete the entire course of therapy to eradicate all of the pathogenic germs.

Prematurely stopping antibiotics increases the likelihood that certain bacteria will survive.

They then grow and develop resistance.

Don’t share antibiotics with someone else and don’t save some for future use.

It may not be the right antibiotic and is likely not the right dose, which only promotes the spread of ABR.

If taking antibiotics causes any side effects, inform your doctor.

As a preventative measure against a variety of bacterial diseases, including diphtheria and whooping cough, make sure you and your children are up to date on their vaccinations.

To prevent the transmission of bacteria through food, wash fruits and vegetables before eating, and thoroughly cook meat.

The WHO reports that due to the emergence and global spread of new resistant strains, antibiotic resistance is reaching dangerously high levels in every part of the world.

Experts concur that the use of antibiotics has become less effective, making it more challenging to treat patients, which puts them at risk.

Antibiotics can save lives, but if we continue to use them irresponsibly, they won’t be effective at fighting life-threatening illnesses in the future and will put millions of lives at risk.

Already 1.27 million deaths occur annually as a result of AMR and a further 3.68 million people die from illnesses related to AMR complications.

If AMR rates continue to climb as they are, it is expected to claim 10 million lives per annum by 2050, said Van Zyl.

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Original Article