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Unite to prevent drug resistance – world antimicrobial awareness

Antibiotics, as many of us know, are drugs that are used for fighting infections caused by bacteria. They have transformed medical care drastically by reducing illnesses and preventing deaths from infectious diseases since its discovery in 1927 by Alexander Fleming.

What is Antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural phenomenon when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites evolve and stop responding to medicines, which makes treating common infections difficult over time. Almost every bacteria has become stronger and less reactive to antibiotics, giving rise to an even more dangerous strain of infectious disease which is more difficult to cure and treat. It’s a common myth that a person becomes resistant to specific drugs, but on the contrary it is the microbes that become resistant to the drugs. AMR is a global threat and leads to increasing risk of disease spread, severe illnesses, and deaths.

What leads to the increase in antimicrobial resistance?

There are several factors that result in the increase in antimicrobial resistance. Some of them are:

1: Overuse and misuse:

Drug resistant infections are mostly caused by the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials. Lack of medical accuracy and patient adherence also contributes to the increase in AMR. For example, people take antibiotics for cold and flu while it can only kill bacteria and not viruses. The widespread misinformation leads to these microorganisms evolving to being invulnerable to the medicines.

2: Unavailability of clean water, hygiene and sanitization

Inadequate access to clean water and sanitization, and lack of infection control and prevention leads to the rise in the spread of drug resistant infection across communities.

3: COVID 19

COVID 19 has brought in a lot of urgency and misunderstanding about the usage of antibiotics. Reports suggest that this overuse can lead to accelerated emergence and widespread drug resistant infections. Since Covid is a virus and not a bacteria, using an antibiotic doesn’t help to prevent or treat it.

What are the ways to prevent antibiotic resistant infections?

It is important to understand the uses of antibiotics and not to misuse or overuse it for treating viral infections and sorts. Some useful tips to prevent yourself from acquiring antibiotic resistant infections are:

  • Consult with your doctor about how effective the prescribed antibiotics are in treating your infection

  • Discard any antibiotics that might have been left from your previous illness. Do not save them for the next time you get ill or observe similar symptoms

  • Be completely adhered to your medications as prescribed by your doctor, do not miss any doses and make sure you complete your course even if you feel good midway

  • Do not consume antibiotics prescribed for someone else even if you share the same symptoms. Those prescribed antibiotics might not be beneficial for your illness

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) 2020

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is observed from 18th to 24th November to increase the awareness of antimicrobial resistance around the globe. It also encourages the best practices to curb emergence and spread of these life threatening drug resistant infections.



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