Beware of taking medicines randomly

Antibiotic Overuse

Next time you reach out for antibiotics when you have cough or a runny nose be extra careful. Better still do not resort to self-medication and pop in random tablets, even if you know that it helps ease your condition.

While a doctor’s prescription is definitely necessary, do remember that frequent consumption of medicines can make your body accustomed to that particular medicine and the bacteria in your body more resistant to those drugs.

Antibiotics are the most important tool that we have to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases. But antibiotics can have side effects. They are powerful tools for fighting illness, but overuse of antibiotics has helped create a new strain of infectious disease. Antibiotic overuse increases the development of drug-resistant germs. It occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics.

To highlight this aspect, doctors of Batra Hospital recently organised an awareness camp and observed the Antibiotics Week. 

“Antibiotic resistance is not just a problem for the person with the infection. Some resistant bacteria have the potential to spread to others- promoting antibiotic resistant infections,” Dr Neelam Khanna, Infection Control Programme officer, Batra Hospital and Research Centre.  

“Antibiotics can cure bacterial infection not viral infections. Treating viruses with antibiotics does not work and it increases the likelihood that you will become ill with antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection,” she told Metrolife.

It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed in for upper respiratory infections (URIs) like cough and cold illness. Most of which are caused by viruses.

Infections with resistant bacteria have become more common in healthcare and community settings, and many bacteria become resistant to more than one type or class of antibiotic.

So, is it a major problem in hospitals?  “Hospital is one place which is flooded with patients suffering from different diseases. If one patient is suffering with any specific antibiotic resistant bacteria and that is transferred to somebody else who is taking a medicine to which the bacteria is resistant, then the whole treatment process is affected.

Considering the fact that people are using antibiotics without any consideration it will increase the percentage of people resistant to drugs in coming years,” says Dr Khanna.
Dr DK Gupta advises that one should take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes.

“Never skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your doctors tell you to do so. Antibiotics treat specific type of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply which leads to complications,”
cautions Gupta.

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