Antibiotics are medicines which are used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Antibiotics are a precious resource, so it is important to get the right advice before taking them. This not only ensures you and your family get the best treatment, but responsible use of antibiotics will also help reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.
It is bacteria and not humans or animals that becomes resistant to antibiotics. The resistant bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased rates of mortality. Resistant bacteria already cause more than 750,000 deaths worldwide every year with 165 new cases everyday in the UK alone.
This is not just a national issue; the world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. Even if new medicines are developed, antibiotic resistance will remain a major threat if we do not make changes to our behaviour.
This includes preventing and controlling the spread of infections by practicing the following:
- Only use antibiotics which are prescribed by a healthcare professional. This can be your GP, Consultant or Nurse Prescriber.
- Always follow the advice given.
- Follow correct hand washing procedures to prevent infection.
- Do not share your prescription with anyone.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Prevent infections by keeping vaccinations up to date.
- Prepare food hygienically according to the guidelines of the Food Standards Agency.
- Practice safer sex.
Dr Philip Veal, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Research has shown that a continued rise in antibiotic resistance would, by 2050, lead to 10 million people dying every year as a result at a cost of £1 trillion dollars to the world economy.”
At One Ashford Hospital, we take antibiotic resistance very seriously, and so our objectives are:
- To make antibiotic resistance a globally recognised health issue.
- To raise awareness of the need to preserve the power of antibiotics through appropriate use.
- To increase the recognition that individuals, health and agriculture professionals, and governments must all play a role in tackling antibiotic resistance.
- To encourage behaviour change and convey the message that simple actions can make a difference.
Further information can be found on the NHS website by following the link here