Why antibiotics should be used wisely

Why antibiotics should be used wisely

Originally published on Randfontein Herald

Antibiotics are among the greatest discoveries in medical history. They have led to increased life expectancy and a better quality of life.

Unfortunately, the belief has been created that the only way to cure illness is by taking antibiotics. This is not true, as antibiotics can only kill bacteria and are ineffective against viruses, fungi and other form of infections, said a spokesperson for Life Robinson Private Hospital.

In a statement released by Melanie van Staden, Marketing and communications co-ordinator at Life Robinson Private Hospital, she said that bacteria is becoming resistant to antibiotics at an alarming rate. This is a big global concern. Antibiotic resistance can affect any person of any age, which makes treatment of common infectious diseases difficult or even impossible. It causes prolonged illness and longer hospital stays.

The World Health Organisation creates awareness regarding antibiotic resistance through their annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 12 – 18 November 2018.

“In support of this global concern, Life Robinson Private Hospital has an Anti-Microbial Stewardship Programme in place. The programme is actively supported by our medical practitioners and helps to guard, advise, lead and monitor antibiotic usage,” said Dr Marinda Overbeek, the hospital manager.

“It is however also important for the community to be well-informed about using antibiotics wisely”.

Taking antibiotics incorrectly or when not required causes the bacteria to develop into superbugs. This makes the next infection much harder to treat.

The use of antibiotics is generally not required for:

• Cold and flu

• Most coughs and bronchitis

• Sore throats not caused by streptococcus bacteria

• Runny noses and most ear-aches

How can we help prevent antibiotic resistance?

• Only use antibiotics when necessary

• Do not share or take antibiotics not prescribed to you by a healthcare professional

• Ask a healthcare professional’s advice before taking antibiotics

• Hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of infections. Wash your hands regularly.

'The more you expose bacteria to antibiotics, the more it develops a resistance'

'The more you expose bacteria to antibiotics, the more it develops a resistance'

Antimicrobial resistance: A new epidemic

Antimicrobial resistance: A new epidemic