Antibiotic resistance is known to be one of the utmost civic health challenges of our time and there are very fewer treatment options available for the ones who are suffering from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. First of all, we need to understand the terms bacteria and antibiotics, so that we can collaborate their meanings to get the simpler definition of antibiotic resistance.
What is bacteria?
Bacteria and fungi are the tiny germs that are generally present inside or outside our bodies. Mostly the germs are harmless in our body, and they tend to help the humans in one or the other way. But this is not the case always as some bad bacteria are the creators of serious infections, for example, sore throat or urinary tract infections.
What is an antibiotic?
Antibiotics are the critical tools of treatment that helps you to fight with the infections caused by the harmful bacteria that may infect anyone. It may infect people, animals or crops. In the health care sector, antibiotics are considered as one of the most dominant drugs for fighting deadly bacterial infections.
More about antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is the term given for that situation when these harmful germs in our body are no longer reacting to the antibiotics specially designed for killing them. This means that the germs are not being slain in our bodies. They continue to grow and nurture inside our bodies. The meaning of this term is not that our body is resistant to antibiotics but sometimes our body stops reacting to certain salts present in antibiotics or the bacteria or fungi find some new ways to control our bodies. Bacteria and fungi are always in the search of discovering new ways to escape the effects of the antibiotics used to prevent and treat the bacterial infections they origin.
Infections that are triggered by these antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to cure. In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections may even require you to be in the hospital for a few days, also multiple follow-up doctor visits after hospitalization and really costly and toxic alternatives of medicines and other treatment options.
Facts about antibiotic resistance:
- Antibiotic resistance has almost increased by two times in the last 20 years.
- It was also found by a new study that a patient experienced resistance to a last-resort antibiotic in just a matter of weeks.
- According to the health and medical experts, taking antibiotic prescriptions should only be specified when the patient is really in need of it so that to avoid growing resistance of antibiotics.
As per the research done by trusted sources, it is seen that over the past decades, antibiotic resistance has appeared as one of the chief public health concerns. Antibiotics are helpful to stop and treat them both severe and mild bacterial infections from the last so many years, at the time when the doctors first discovered these powerful drugs named as antibiotics that could save the people’s lives.
But recently there are cases when the people are developing the antibiotics resistance from the most common and general antibiotic drugs.
According to the new research that was published in a journal it was found that in reality resistance to one of the last resort drugs can be helpful and may also be used to cure the extremely drug-resistant that is Pseudomonas aeruginosa can progress a lot more rapidly than we must have thought.
There was a case of a patient who was found to be infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa — a bacteria responsible to cause a wide range of infections, inclusive of urinary tract infections, bone, joint or respiratory infections. That patient developed an aversion to a certain pivotal antibiotic (ceftolozane-tazobactam) in just 22 days of infection.
This typical case of research is also followed by a European study, where the resistance to antibiotics responsible for the treatment of stomach infections is nearly doubled in the last 20 years.
In fact, the cases of such resistance that is to the commonly used antibiotics is increasing day by day and has become an issue of great concern.
Increase in Resistance
As already discussed that no medicine can take the place of antibiotics are much helpful and even life-saving when it is used by the doctor for the infection appropriately. Still, there are many health experts who are concerned about its overuse and misuse if we take it continuously for a long time, as then they will most probably lose their abilities to cure the infections.
As per the medical experts using antibiotics for a longer period of time could ultimately lead us to various incurable infections which can create the situation of great epidemic in the near future. This problem has also been mentioned globally as a major threat to public life
To quantify the population who has just become resistant to the antibiotics and categorize that treatments can be used by them in the future time, many surveys related to antibiotic resistance has been conducted by researchers on how successfully the people have responded to various kinds of antibiotics in 1998, 2008, and most newly, in 2018.
According to the survey conducted in 2018, the researchers have done the study on 1,232 patients from 18 countries in Europe who had slandered a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection that is an injurious bacterium connected with the gastric ulcer, lymphoma or gastric cancer.
In addition to these common antibiotics, there has been a great increase in resistance to other powerful antibiotics significantly as well. As per the latest research, the resistance rate for the antibiotic levofloxacin has climbed to 17 percent whereas the percentage for metronidazole antibiotics has risen to nearly 42 percent.
Last, of all, the researchers also observed that resistance to amoxicillin, tetracycline, and rifampicin compounds has increased in recent times.
It has also been found that rates of resistance in the United States have also boosted, according to some health experts.
It is sure that if the United States doesn’t become more judicious with the usage of antibiotics, the situation and scenario of the United Nations will become uncontrollable and will create an issue of great public health concern.
Consumption of antibiotics affect the antibiotic resistance:
Every time you consume antibiotics for the treatment of infections, there are chances that they can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance in your body. The reason for this condition of increase in the cases of antibiotic resistance is driven by a blend of germs that are exposed to antibiotics. Also, the blowout of those germs and the way these germs react to the antibiotics to save themselves inside their host is also responsible for the development of antibiotics resistance.
When certain antibiotics are needed inside our bodies to kill these harmful bacteria, the doctor tends to focus on the benefits of that medicine for the sick and not on the risks associated with the over consumption of these antibiotics that is antibiotic resistance. But nowadays, taking too many antibiotics for the one or the other reason is a serious problem as they are being used needlessly and then misused in our bodies, which usually hovers the usefulness of these significant drugs.
You will be shocked to notice the stats related to the misuse of antibiotics. For example, a large number of antibiotics have been prescribed unnecessarily to the patients in the United States. As per CDC estimate, around 47 million antibiotic courses have been prescribed for those infections that in real terms don’t need any antibiotics that are for colds and the flu, in U.S. doctors’ offices and emergency departments every year. That’s around 30% of all antibiotics recommended in these settings.
Everyone in this world has a role to play in improving the use of antibiotics. Appropriate antibiotic use will not only aid in fighting antibiotic resistance but also ensure that these lifesaving drugs will be sustainable that is available for future generations.
Why to concern about antibiotic resistance
First of all, it must be clear in our minds that antibiotic resistance can distress any person whether the person belongs to any stage of his life. But the risk of getting an infection and further development of this disorder is more found with the people who are currently receiving some health care or those with debilitated immune systems.
Antibiotic resistance endangers advancements in current health care that we have come to depend on, for instance, joint replacements, organ transplants, and cancer therapy. These procedures are very risky and can have a significant risk of developing this disorder or infection. And if the patient develops antibiotic resistance it would become very difficult for his body to come back from these serious health hazards as the patients would not be able to obtain them if operative antibiotics are not available.
This problem not only affects the healthcare industry but also has a great impact on the veterinary and agriculture industries.
Antibiotic Resistance Protection
There is no one that can get complete protection against this antibiotic resistance. But to avoid getting an infection and then developing this disorder can be reduced by taking these additional steps so that you and your family are well protected against such disorders.
Below is the list of certain measures that can be done easily at home and is going to surely help you to protect yourself and your family from antibiotic resistance:
- doing your best to stay fit and keep others fit as well,
- eating healthy and nutritive food,
- cleaning the hands more often,
- covering the mouth and nose while you cough or sneezes,
- remaining at home when you are not well and avoid public places, and
- Taking the recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.
But most importantly, consuming antibiotics only when they are actually needed is an important way you can adopt to protect yourself and your family from antibiotic resistance.
For further assistance and queries, you can also have a talk with your doctor so that you are informed about the best and latest treatment available in case you are sick or develop the bacterial infection. Never try to pressurize your doctor if he does not prescribe you an antibiotic and try to cure your infection with other treatment options.
When antibiotics are not needed, they won’t help you, and the only thing they will do is to harm you with its probable and serious side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to prescribe you about steps you can follow to feel better when an antibiotic is not required.
Don’t challenge your doctor’s decision, if your doctor decides that you need an antibiotic treatment when you are sick.
Consumption of antibiotics
- Take the dose of antibiotics exactly in the same quantity as your doctor tells you.
- Never try to share your antibiotic with others as everyone’s situation and health concern are different. Otherwise, it may damage the bodily system of others if they take the wrong antibiotics. Also, you may develop the risk of getting allergic reactions.
- Do not save the antibiotics for later use and consume it at the same time when it is prescribed to you as that antibiotic was the need for your good health at that time only. Talk to your pharmacist or medical expert if you think that at some other time you can be helped by that antibiotics. But don’t take the risk of taking it yourself. You must learn how to safely discard the leftover medicines.
- Do not risk your life by taking the antibiotics prescribed by someone else and not a professional expert. This may cause serious problems and will surely delay the best treatment for you. It can make you even sicker, or affect you with the side effects.
- It is always better to have a consultation with your doctor and pharmacist if you are having any questions or doubts about your antibiotics.
According to all the medical organizations and experts, gradually we all need to slow down the use of antibiotics and look for safer alternatives for the treatment and use them only when there is the utmost requirement. There should be an awareness among all the people at global levels about this health concern and all of us should together recognize the limitations of antibiotics. Also, the patients are advised to use them as and when prescribed and should return or discard any unused antibiotics to their pharmacy.
It is well said that “Antibiotics are required in case if they are given for curing specific bacterial diseases and should be of the appropriate type, in the appropriate dose, and must be taken for some point of time only.
Reason for such resistance
There is a simple and direct relationship between the use and development of the antibiotic of antibiotics resistance that is the more we use antibiotics, the higher is the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance. So be careful while taking any medicine especially when it is the case of antibiotics.
As said by an expert named Martinello, “The use of antibiotics forces the evolution of resistant bacteria, and growth of these resistant bacteria are favored when antibiotics are present”. It is true in all sense as the work of antibiotics is limited to help the immune system by discharging the antibodies or also called as resistant bacteria inside our body that can be done efficiently only when the antibiotics are there for help.
But nowadays the bacteria has become much smarter than before and it adapts itself into a version that has developed resistance which in turn allows them to survive and multiply inside our body easily. They can grow in our bodies even if the antibiotics are present. They literally adapt themselves to live in their host body.
And if the microbes become more resistant to antibiotics, doctors come across a higher number of cases where the patients with infections cannot be cured with antibiotics. This can be so dangerous that adding this can further lead to death or some other potentially everlasting health complication.
At last, we can conclude this article by saying that even though Antibiotic resistance has appeared as one of the extreme threats to public health in recent years. But its prevention can be done by having proper lifestyle habits and having a nutrient-rich diet. Also following good personal hygiene can be helpful.
As per the new researches, the degree of threat has already been discussed in the article.
A new study stated that this antibiotic resistance (mainly for the commonly used antibiotics) has approximately doubled in the past 20 years. Another study found that resistance to antibiotics is developing at faster rates than ever.
Health experts approved that in order to alleviate the ill effects of this major issue, people need to be very careful while using the antibiotics.