Do you know the importance of completing your antibiotics course?
People all over the world are becoming resistant to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines. This is mostly a result of taking the medication in ways which aren’t recommended. There’s a big need to educate the public about antimicrobial resistance to try and preserve this very important health treatment.
Antibiotics target bacterial infections and are not effective against viruses. It's important to know whether your infection is caused by bacteria or a virus, which should be confirmed by your doctor. Infections like the common cold and sore throats are generally caused by viruses - antibiotics do not work against these viruses so it should not be used to treat these types of viruses.
If antibiotics are overused or used incorrectly there is a risk that the bacteria will become resistant and result in the antibiotic becoming less effective against that type of bacterium in future. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause.
According to pharmacy manager for the Overberg, Hanlie Brits, the prevention of Antimicrobial resistance is everyone’s role. “If we all work together, we can stop antimicrobial resistance, otherwise we will have an epidemic, more devastating than COVID-19,” says pharmacist Hanlie Brits.
Causes of antibiotic resistance include:
- The over-prescribing of antibiotics.
- Patients not finishing their treatment.
- Over-use of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming.
- Poor infection control in hospitals and clinics.
- Lack of hygiene and poor sanitation.
- Lack of new antibiotics being developed.
These are the ways you can help prevent antibiotic resistance:
- Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
- Always complete the antibiotic course, even if you feel better.
- Never use left-over antibiotics.
- Never share antibiotics with others.
- Prevent infections by regularly washing your hands, avoiding contact with sick people and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
We can make a difference to prevent antibiotic resistance. Ask your doctor if antibiotics are really necessary to treat your infection. Follow the instructions of your health care practitioner carefully to make sure that you use the prescribed medicine correctly.