The world is facing another health threat as antibiotic resistance caused by superbugs is spreading rather quickly. However, there are really simple ways we can do to fight it and protect ourselves.
There are already a lot of things on top of our heads right now, especially when it comes to our health. It is easy to be paranoid when thinking that we might contract diseases easily everywhere from the many types of cancer to other numerous infections and disorders.
Additionally, we have another thing to be mindful about and that is antibiotic resistant superbugs. What makes this health threat frustrating is that it is avoidable yet when it occurs, it can greatly affect human health which may eventually lead to death.
What is Antibiotic Resistance?
There are good bacteria and there are bad, disease-causing ones. Viruses, on the other hand, are different as they are microbes even smaller than the bacteria that cause illnesses through invading healthy cells in our body.
To fight infections caused by bacteria, we can take antibiotics which are also known as antimicrobial drugs. They combat bacteria by either killing them or stopping them from multiplying.
However, there are times when we take antibiotics at the slightest signs of illnesses even when they are not caused by bacteria. This can cause a person to have antibiotic resistance as the drug no longer affects the bacteria while it may advance to becoming even more harmful “superbugs.”
This resistance has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. The United Nations General Assembly even listed it as a global threat which only underscores how urgent the issue is. The only other three in the list considered by UN are HIV, Ebola, and noncommunicable diseases.
Just recently, a woman from Nevada died because of her resistance to antibiotics caused by superbugs which seemed to have rendered every antimicrobial drug in the U.S. ineffective. This is only one of the many cases we will hear about as it is predicted that by 2050, 10 million people will die each year from these antibiotic resistant superbugs.
What Can We Do With These Superbugs?
Overuse of antibiotics and inappropriate use accelerates the resistance of the bacteria. Because the bacteria are killed (including the good ones that protect our body from infection), the drug-resistant bacteria are freed to grow.
Meanwhile, there is reportedly around 50 percent antibiotic prescriptions for diseases such as acute respiratory conditions that are not needed. This leads to 23,000 million deaths from the 2 million patients infected with the superbug that is supposedly treatable and avoidable.
That is why awareness of this resistance is important, especially for those who are self-prescribing medications. Antibiotics do no harm to viruses. Therefore, viral infections such as common cold, influenza, sore throats, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections should not be treated with antibiotics.
Efforts of finding a solution for this health threat are top priorities in the medical field. Recently, a study has shown potential in fighting an enzyme responsible for coding the resistance to the genes. However, further trials for it will still require a couple of years.
In the meantime, a collective effort for both the patients and healthcare professionals are needed to battle the global pandemic. So as not to develop antibiotic resistance, taking in the drugs and prescribing it should be done with more consideration.