One of the biggest milestones in the history of medicine is the discovery of antibiotics. When penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming, it has been widely used in wars and has saved countless lives by treating bacterial infections. However, the widespread use and misuse of antibiotics in medicine has led to the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
To raise awareness about this issue and to promote knowledge regarding proper antibiotic usage, Antibiotic Awareness Week is held in Canada from November 18th to 24th.
The Problem With Antibiotic Misuse
According to recent studies, 30% of prescription cases are reported to be antibiotic misuse by the Canadian population. When misused, antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance; thus, making bacteria able to survive even after administering a reasonable dosage of antibiotics. Huge exposure to antibiotics accelerates the process of how they mutate and multiply rapidly. Once they turn into a drug-resistant bacteria, they will be harder to kill. Making infections also harder or even impossible to treat.
In dental care, the misuse of antibiotics is still observed. Some people still believe that antibiotics can alleviate toothache and you can often observe how they will grab any antibiotic they can get their hands onto, without considering the risks of taking them. Taking un-prescribed antibiotics can cause great harm to one’s health because a specific antibiotic is made to cure a specific disease. If you were prescribed antibiotics for acute pneumonia, you cannot use them to relieve pain from a toothache. Aside from being ineffective, this practice will just put you at risk of infections that, in the long run, will be harder to treat.
Due to people neglecting proper oral care, various bacterial infections can happen inside the mouth. To begin with, there are already billions of bacteria living inside the oral cavity. Some are good, and they help in keeping the mouth by fighting bad bacteria. However, some are bad bacteria and they cause tooth decay, tooth erosion, and gum infections. Antibiotics are sometimes needed to treat these ailments, but take note that it is not always needed.
Back in the day, the longest lifespan of a man was only 46 years. This is because of the high rates of death caused by infections. The emergence of antimicrobial resistance threatens to bring us back to this era. In projections done by scientists, it is made known that by 2050, 10 million people will be dying annually because of infections that are caused by drug-resistant organisms. This is bound to happen if people do not practice proper antibiotic use now. There are already numerous bacterial infections that are hard to treat such as pneumonia, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, salmonellosis, and typhoid.
If antibiotics become ineffective in the future, people undergoing medical treatments will be at high risk. Those who will be required to undergo chemotherapy and surgery are prone and at risk of acquiring life-threatening infections. This is not the goal of antibiotics: they were developed to save lives and not help in making bacteria stronger. If we continue the massive misuse of antimicrobial drugs, it will only be a matter of time before it comes running after us. That is the reason why Canada is holding its Antibiotic Awareness Week. This complicated issue definitely needs immediate action. This should be done not only by healthcare workers but also by different sectors of the society — ecologists, microbiologists, legislative bodies, educators, policymakers, agricultural and pharmaceutical industry workers, and most importantly the public.
Dealing With Antibiotic Resistance
It is proven that antibiotic resistance has grown to be one of the biggest health-related problems people from all walks of life will encounter. To help raise awareness about this problem, you can first start with yourself. It is of great importance that we educate ourselves. When you are sick, it is a must that you visit and consult your physician before consuming any type of medicine and undergoing any treatment. When you are prescribed to take antibiotics, follow the instructions, dosages, and take note of the time to make sure you do not miss one. If you do miss one medicine, do not double the dose because it will be ineffective. Also, do not use medicines prescribed for other diseases to other people. This will not treat other diseases like fever and toothaches. Antibiotic misuse is a common mistake that most of us do, and it will cause great harm in the long run.
Everything is almost accessible through the web. Thanks to our gadgets, lots of information can be accessed in just a few clicks. Browse through the web and you will have tons of options, from news, scientific journals, blog articles to interesting quizzes. All of these can help you understand and know more about the repercussions of antibiotic misuse. Share these bits of antibiotic information with your family and friends. No matter how big or small those actions are, they can improve the future of the younger generations. To know more about antibiotic misuse and its risks, check out antibioticawareness.ca.