World Antibiotic Awareness Week
Antibiotics: Handle with Care
Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to global health. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country – especially with the ease and frequency with which people travel. Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.
“Mission Health takes this threat seriously because of the potential consequences for our patients and our community,” said Chris DeRienzo, MD, MPP, Mission Health’s Chief Patient Safety Officer. “When first-line antibiotics do not work infections often last longer, cause more severe illness and require more intense treatment with medications that cause more side effects. Some resistant infections may even be deadly.”
Increased misuse of antibiotics accelerates resistance in organisms which cause infections. This makes it difficult to find antibiotics that are capable of treating the resistant infections. One study estimated that more than half of antibiotics prescribed for patients who visit a clinic in the U.S. are inappropriate. These patients are most commonly seeking care for respiratory infections that are caused by viruses instead of bacteria (1).
Antibiotic resistance in children is of particular concern because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use and often have fewer antibiotic choices since some antibiotics cannot be safely given to children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Nov. 16-22 as World Antibiotic Awareness Week. The theme this year is “Antibiotics: Handle with Care” and is meant to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, healthcare workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections, and only when prescribed by a medical professional. However, every individual must also practice behavior that helps stop the spread of infections, including keeping vaccinations up-to-date, regular and frequent hand washing, and good food hygiene.
Some tips to follow:
· Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional
· Always take the full prescription, even if you feel better
· Never use left-over antibiotics
· Never share antibiotics with others
For more information, visit http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/antibiotic-resistance/en/.