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Are you Antimicrobial Resistant? Are you Antimicrobial Resistant?

Antibiotic Resistance or Antimicrobial Resistance

Have you ever gone to the doctor with a fever and were sent home with an antibiotic to make you feel better? The next time you went with a cough-it’s another antibiotic. Does this sound familiar? Ever given a thought to how many antibiotics you must have taken to date? Maybe at least 25-50!! So chances are that you are also possibly antimicrobial resistant.

Prescribing broad spectrum antibiotics for everything like simple fevers, cold, sore throats, flu, and ear aches is the ‘in-thing’ to do in medicine today. This has resulted in bacteria becoming resistant to the drugs being used on them. Bacteria and other microorganisms that cause infections can develop ways to survive drugs meant to weaken or kill them.
This antibiotic resistance, also known as antimicrobial resistance or drug resistance is largely due to the increasing use of antibiotics.
To address this worrying trend, the theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Antimicrobial Resistance - no action today, no cure tomorrow”. Antimicrobial resistance or drug resistance is not a recent problem but one that is becoming more dangerous; immediate and consolidated efforts are needed worldwide to avoid regressing to the pre-antibiotic era. 

Now let us understand what exactly antibiotics are and how do they work?

Antibiotics are very powerful medicines that can fight bacterial infections. When used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They work by either killing the bacteria or keep them from reproducing.
So how does antibiotic resistance happen? If antibiotics are prescribed for everything and anything they can′t treat like colds, flu or other viral infection their potential against the bacteria they′re intended to treat nullifies. It is important to note that not taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed for the full course of time also is not a recommended thing to do. In such cases the antibiotic may wipe out some but not all of the bacteria. Hence, bacteria that survive become more resistant and are known as Antimicrobial resistant or ‘super bugs’.
Experts warn that antibiotics have been misused. They are often unnecessarily prescribed for viral infections, against which they have no effect. That is how the overuse of antibiotics has affected all of us. It doesn’t matter if you as an individual have not taken a lot of antibiotics over the years; the bacterial bugs are changing into super bugs because everyone has taken so many antibiotics over a period of time. And if even one of these super bugs tries to infect us, a normal antibiotic might not work. Super bugs now call for super antibiotics.

Understanding the mechanisms behind the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, here are a couple of tips to fight it:

  • Use antibiotics ONLY when it is necessary and against bacteria and not viruses.
  • As a patient, do not suggest the doctors to prescribe antibiotics when it is not necessary.
  • When antibiotics are prescribed, please make sure that you complete the entire course and not stop taking the medicines when you feel ‘much better’.
  • Do not take antibiotics on your own or without a prescription-this is especially important in countries like India, where drugs can be purchased without a valid prescription.

It is time that we take some responsibility in how we use antibiotics to protect our health and that of our family and help combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
For more information on diet, nutrition, health,
weight loss or fitness contact DesiDieter Health and Diet Experts.

Dietitian, DesiDieter

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