Friday 11 March 2016

Explaining antibiotic resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria in our bodies adapt and find ways to survive the effects of an antibiotic medicine. When this happens, antibiotics lose their effectiveness and no longer work in fighting off infection caused by these bacteria. The more we use antibiotics, the greater the chance that bacteria in our bodies will develop resistance to these vital medicines.

If our antibiotics can no longer fight bacteria that cause infections, in the future this could mean that routine operations such as knee surgery or caesarian sections could become deadly. It is estimated that there are 400,000 cases of reported antibiotic resistant infections with 25,000 deaths each year in the European Union.

It is recommended to:
  • Keep surfaces clean
  • Wash your and your children’s hands regularly
  • Carry tissues and use them to catch coughs or sneezes; make sure you bin tissues and kill the germs by washing your hands
  • If you or your family start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets worse, seek immediate advice from your pharmacist
  • Keep yourself warm - heat your home to least 18°C or (65°F) if you can
  • If you have been prescribed antibiotics or other medication, make sure you take them as directed
  • Remember that sore throats, colds, coughs and earaches are self-limiting, usually getting better on their own but pharmacists can recommend over-the-counter remedies to help. 
In relation to the above information, from Public Health England, Chief Medical Officer for the U.K., Dame Sally Davies said:

“Resistance to antibiotics is putting people’s lives at risk, as well as creating extra pressure on our healthcare system, with drug-resistant strains of common diseases emerging here in the UK. We need to ensure that we only use antibiotics when clinically relevant, so I urge everyone to visit a pharmacist first before going to their GP, and to always complete courses of antibiotics if they are prescribed. These simple actions will help preserve these precious drugs and help to save modern medicine as we know it.”

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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