Why Antibiotics Today Can Threaten Your Life Tomorrow
By the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS)
It used to be that getting an infection was quite dangerous and even deadly. The discovery of antibiotics changed all that, but now, after years of over-using antibiotics, we’re facing a new health threat: antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
Bacteria are starting to adapt to antibiotic drugs and are becoming harder to kill. Today, AMR is a global health threat: over 20,000 deaths have been caused by infections that could not be treated by available antibiotics.
For the first time last February, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of antibiotic-resistant microbes that pose a major threat to human beings. This list aims to guide research for new antibiotics.
Anyone can get infected with bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics; this incurs longer stays at the hospital, higher medical costs and possibly death. We may be on our way to a “post-antibiotic era”, which is very similar to the time before antibiotics were discovered. And while antibiotic resistance is an adaptive and natural process, the misuse of antibiotics is speeding up the process making the discovery of new antibiotics a race for survival.
Misuse of antibiotics in Jordan
50% of Jordanians use antibiotics based on a relative’s advice
More than 55% of Jordanians use antibiotics to prevent infections
49% of Jordanians use antibiotics leftover from previous prescriptions without consulting a physician
To slow down the process of antibiotic resistance:
* Take antibiotics only when prescribed by a physician
*Don’t use leftover antibiotics or share them
* Take antibiotics exactly how they are prescribed. This decreases the possibility of microbial resistance developing.
Regular hand-washing provides the greatest protection against microbial infections, preventing up to a million deaths each year. Washing your hands at the appropriate times (after using the toilet, after changing a child’s diaper and before and after preparing food) is imperative. Moreover, avoiding contact with sick individuals and getting the required vaccinations can be very protective.
Although antimicrobial resistance sounds like too big of a problem for one person, the actions of every individual matter and can alter the course of the future to come. As a Jordanian community, let’s join our regularly washed hands to fight AMR by using antibiotics only when necessary, practising infection prevention measures and spreading awareness amongst relatives, coworkers and friends.
For more health news and tips, visit www.rhas.org.jo
Do you need antibiotics?
If you have a fever, runny nose
and sneezing, this is a viral infection that
does not respond to antibiotics and would not
even benefit from “preventive antibiotics”.
Removing the good (but weak) bacteria that lives in your gut and on your skin with antibiotics is always a risk, as you never know if it will be replaced with bad bacteria or not. Even when a nasty bacteria is the cause of an infection like bronchitis, a sinus infection or even an ear infection, these can sometimes be treated effectively without antibiotics. When your doctor offers you antibiotics for your illness, always ask if they are necessary; you might be surprised by the answer you get.