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Antibiotic Resistance Affects Everyone, Here's How To Prevent It

Antibiotic Resistance Affects Everyone, Here's How To Prevent It

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to public health. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSPHIL) also said that antimicrobial resistance kills people, hampers the control of infectious illnesses, increases the cost of healthcare, and has the potential to threaten health security1. In this article, we will discuss the guidelines on how to prevent antibiotic resistance.

Antimicrobial Resistance vs. Antibiotic Resistance

Before we talk about the guidelines on how to prevent antibiotic resistance, let’s first discuss its difference from antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop mechanisms to protect themselves from the medicine (antibiotic) designed to kill them. It is a subset of antimicrobial resistance, which points to the resistance of any microbe (bacteria, virus, fungi, etc.) against the medicine created to destroy them.

For now, we’ll focus on antibiotic resistance because many Filipinos tend to self-medicate with or misuse antibiotics when they are sick2.

How to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

Experts say preventing antibiotic resistance requires a collective effort between individuals, health professionals, policymakers, the healthcare industry, and even the agriculture sector.

Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance:

1. Only take antibiotics when they are prescribed to you by a certified healthcare professional

The first guideline on how to prevent antibiotic resistance is to never self-medicate with antibiotics when you feel unwell, even when you have a cough or cold and fever.

Please keep in mind that most respiratory illnesses are viral in nature, and antimicrobials don’t work on them. Besides, while fever may be a sign of infection, the doctor still needs to determine if it’s bacterial and what type of bacteria is causing the ailment. Only then will they give you antibiotics.

Finally, please do not take an antibiotic prescribed for someone else or share medicines just because you notice you have the same symptoms.

2. Do not request antibiotics during check-ups

If the doctor doesn’t prescribe antibiotics for you, that’s because you don’t need them. Please do not “demand” that they give you one.

Case in point: When a doctor only recommends plenty of rest, increased fluid intake, and medicine for your cough, chances are, your illness is viral and will resolve within a few days.

3. Strictly follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to antibiotic therapy

If the doctor orders you to take your antibiotic three times a day for seven days, be sure to do so. Don’t stop the therapy even if you feel better on day three. Completing your treatment ensures you eliminate all the bacteria and reduces the risk of them building resistance to the drug.

4. Be proactive in preventing infections in general

One of the reasons antibiotic-resistant is a public health concern is that resistant bacteria can spread the same way any microbes do. For this reason, protect yourself by:

  • Regular handwashing
  • Preparing foods hygienically
  • Keeping vaccinations up to date
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Practicing safe sex

It will also help if you strengthen your immune system through a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Final Reminders

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to public health. When a bacteria resists a medicine, that means the patient might need a more potent and more expensive antibiotic. Not only does it add up to the personal expenses, but it also prolongs the illness.

The guidelines on how to prevent antibiotic resistance include:

  • Taking antibiotics only when they are prescribed by a doctor.
  • Not requesting or demanding an antibiotic during check-ups.
  • Strictly following the doctor’s orders when it comes to antibiotics.
  • Being proactive in preventing infections.

Learn more about Health here.

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Sources

Antibiotics abuse: Saving money at the expense of one’s health, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1082194 Accessed September 15, 2021

Philippine Action Plant to Combat Antibiotic Resistance, http://pidsphil.org/pdf/2016/16LEC-09-Philippine-Action-Plan-to-Combat-Antibiotic-Resistance-Celia-Carlos.pdf Accessed September 15, 2021

What is Antibiotic Resistance?, https://www.nfid.org/antibiotic-resistance/what-is-antibiotic-resistance/ Accessed September 15, 2021

Antibiotic resistance, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antibiotic-resistance Accessed September 15, 2021

Antibiotic resistant bacteria, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/antibiotic-resistant-bacteria#bacteria-resistant-to-antibiotics Accessed September 15, 2021

Antibiotic Resistance, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/a/antibiotic-resistance.html Accessed September 15, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 5 days ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza
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