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Overuse & misuse of antibiotics can jeopardize your health

05 Feb, 2018

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Antibiotics are usually prescribed to solely treat infections caused by bacteria & parasites that either kill or inhibit the growth of micro-organisms.

Bacterial infections are not the only common one, but also the overuse & misuse of antibiotics is adversely affecting the humankind.

Infections caused by viruses cannot be treated via use of antibiotics. But due to lack of awareness many of us are a sufferer of antibiotic resistance .i.e. the drug is no longer effective to combat against the bacteria/infection.

Antibiotic resistance & how it happens

One of the noteworthy consequences of antibiotic misuse is antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic misuse/ overuse/ abuse lead to potentially serious complications on one’s health.
Apparently, their inappropriate use like skipping doses of antibiotics, avoiding the intake at regular intervals, sharing your doses with others etc, has led to decline in the efficiency of antibiotics.

The resistant bacteria holds the capability to multiply in the existence of numerous therapeutic levels of an antibiotic. There are numerous ways via which bacterias resist the effectivity of antibiotics. sometimes, some bacteria counteract the antibiotic before it can kill or ihibit their growth, change the antibiotic attack site, and also, others prevent the entry of antibiotic into the cell.

At times, in cases of severe infection, increasing the dose of an antibiotic can help one intercept the infection but— in few cases. But, once bacteria are resistant to the actions of multidrug, the infections can’t be controlled or cured & eventually affect one’s well being.

Also, the misuse of antibiotics causes deleterious effect on the favourable bacteria in the gut & the intestinal flora. More & more misuse of antibiotics kills the essential bacteria in the gut which further affects the normal digestion & absorption of food & multiple nutrient deficiencies.
MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) infection is the consequence of unnecessary use of antibiotics & had led to many casualties in the past. This bacteria lead to infections in different parts of the body. It is quite tough to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus because of its resistance to some common antibiotics like methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin etc.

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Factors contributing to antibiotic resistance

  • Antibiotics misuse .i.e. use with no clinical indication.
  • Use of broad spectrum antibiotics when not even indicated.[Narrow spectrum: kill limited number of bacteria. Broad spectrum: Antibiotics that work against different bacteria including the one’s resistant to narrow spectrum antibiotics].
  • Antibiotics overuse.
  • Lack of infection control.

How one can combat antibiotic resistance?

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As antibiotic misuse is the significant consequence of antibiotic resistance, it is our responsibility as a person & doctors to alter & reverse this life-threatening global cause.

As doctors:

  • Prescribe antibiotics only when required- do not prescribe antibiotics for cold or flu, since cold is not due to bacteria, it is because of viral infection.
  • Before prescribing the antibiotics get cultures as it’s of vital importance for us to identify the causative micro-organism & then prescribe the right antibiotic to target the specific infection.
  • Explain the dose, duration & indication of the prescribed antibiotic.
  • Follow infection control protocol with each & every patient.

As individuals:

  • We need to stop ourselves from self medication or self prescribing antibiotics. As self medication can put your health at risk. People usually take antibiotics for cold & flu. Just to add up to your knowledge cold & flu are viral infections & use of inappropriate antibiotic contribute to ineffective use & thus increases the likelihood of resistance.
  • It’s been noted that patients usually discontinue their course of antibiotics once they notice the symptoms are subsiding. This eventually increases the resistance. Hence, as a patient do not skip or discontinue your dose.
  • Never use leftover antibiotics
  • Do not share your doses with others.

To sum it up, it’s highly important not to self-prescribe medications as this has a deleterious effect on one’s health. For effective treatment & accurate diagnosis, always make sure to see your healthcare provider.

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Also, make sure you do not skip the dose & take as prescribed by your healthcare professional. If not certain of any medication, always contact your dentist in north delhi.

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