Antibiotic Resistance – What is it and Threats to Human Health Worldwide

Antibiotic resistance is recognised as one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide. What exactly is it and why is it such a big threat to humans?

WHAT? – Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to use of these medicines, which means infections will be a lot harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria. Resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. For example, infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and foodborne disease are all becoming harder and sometimes impossible to treat, as antibiotics become less effective.

HOW? – Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, leading to the emergence of strains of bacteria that have developed resistance. The biggest worry is that new strains cannot be treated by any existing antibiotics. Steps must be taken at all levels of society to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance.

– Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional
– Never share or use leftover antibiotics
– Prepare food hygienically and choose foods that have been produced without the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention in healthy animals
– Always follow health worker’s advice when using antibiotics
– Never demand antibiotics if a health worker says they’re unnecessary.

Healthcare professionals:
– Prevent infections by ensuring instruments, hands, environment are clean
– Only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when needed
– Talk to patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and dangers of misuse.

THREATS – Recently, there have been developments of new antibiotics, but none are expected to be effective against the most dangerous forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The greatest impact on humans worldwide is that when infections can no longer be treated by first-line antibiotics, more expensive medicines must be used. This can also lead to a longer duration of an illness and treatment, often at hospital which increases healthcare costs on families and society. Organ transplantations, chemotherapy, and surgeries such as C-sections are becoming more dangerous without effective antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections.

Sienna (Head Girl)

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