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Antibiotic Resistance – A short Guide

Antibiotics:

Antibiotics are the group of drugs used to treat bacterial infections. There is a wide range of antibiotics with different mechanisms. Different antibiotics target the cell wall, protein synthesis, DNA and folic acid synthesis of bacterial cells to either kill the bacteria (bactericidal) or stop their division and spread (bacteriostatic). Some important groups of antibiotics are penicillin, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, etc, which are produced by pharmaceutical companies and contract pharma companies

Antibiotic Resistance: 

Bacteria have the ability to develop resistance to antibiotics over time by 

  • Limiting drug uptake
  • Modifying the target of the drug
  • Inactivating the drug
  • Ejecting the drug out

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are more difficult to treat than non-resistant bacteria. The hospital costs, hospital stay and mortality rate also increase with antibiotic resistance. To prevent the threat of antibiotic resistance, we need to change the prescription ways; otherwise, the new drugs will not be coming fast enough to divert the catastrophe of bacterial infections. 

Scope of the Problem:

Antibiotic resistance is increasing at a rapid rate worldwide, making it difficult to deal with common bacterial infections. These infections include pneumonia, gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, etc. In countries lacking basic antibiotic guidelines, health workers overprescribe the drugs, and in some cases, people seld prescribe antibiotics which is an alarming situation. If it continues like that, world will revert to the period when minor infections used to become the cause of death. 

Control And Prevention:

Antibiotic resistance is caused by overuse, overprescription of drugs along with lack of control and prevention. At various levels of society, steps can be taken to ensure the proper use of antibiotics.

  1. Individuals:

An individual is the unit of society. To save the community, we need to start with a single person. An individual can make the following contributions to the common good.

  • Use antibiotics only when a health care professional gives you a prescription.
  • Do not use antibiotics if your health professional says otherwise. 
  • Follow the proper guidelines while using antibiotics.
  • Do not let anyone else use your leftover antibiotics.
  • To prevent infections, take care of your hygiene by washing hands regularly, maintaining a safe distance from sick people, practising safe sex and keeping your vaccinations updated. 
  • Prepare hygienic food by following WHO’s five keys to safer food ( maintain cleanliness, keep raw and cooked material separate, cook properly, keep food at optimum temperatures, and use safe raw materials)
  • Use meat of the animal which were grown without using growth-promoting antibiotics.
  1. Policymakers:

Policymakers should take serious steps to monitor antibiotic resistance and keep a better check on antibiotic prescriptions by health professionals. They should also make antibiotic resistance knowledge common. 

  1. Health Professionals:

Health professionals should, 

  • Spread knowledge about antibiotic resistance.
  • Prescribe antibiotics only when needed.
  • Guide the patients about the proper usage of antibiotics.
  • Spread knowledge about how to prevent infections
  • Report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance.
  1. Healthcare Industry:

The Healthcare industry should make large investments in research of new antibiotics and vaccines to treat and prevent infections. 

  1. Agriculture Industry:

The agricultural industry should give antibiotics to animals only if necessary. They should not use growth-promoting antibiotics. They should improve biosecurity on farms. 

Conclusion:

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, and efforts are being made to find a long term solid solution. There are some new antibiotics under development. Let’s see how they work out!

 

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