By Cody Randel
Antibiotics save and improve countless lives every day. However, antibiotic resistance is something we need to understand and face together. November 18 – 24 is Antibiotic Awareness Week in the U.S. and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week on a global scale. Antimicrobial resistance of any kind can impact everyone.
Antibiotics are part of the antimicrobial family, which also includes antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics. These medicines kill infections and diseases. Without them, humans will have a much more difficult time fighting and surviving diseases. Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) saw this growing problem and has made it a priority. Because diseases become more difficult to treat as antibiotic resistance increases, it will make all antimicrobials less effective.
WHO’s Five Goals to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
- Raise awareness
- Increase monitoring and research
- Reduce infections
- Maximize the use of antimicrobial medications
- Sustainable investment in new medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines, and other interventions
We rely on antibiotics to help us recover from what may seem like minor illnesses today. But these illnesses could become life-threatening if antibiotic resistance increases.
Preventing Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is increasing in all parts of the world. Changing this is a big job that requires all of us to do our part. Here are six ways you can help:
- Only use antibiotics prescribed to you by a certified health professional.
- Never demand antibiotics from your health worker. If you need them, they will prescribe them.
- Always follow directions for taking medications.
- Never share any prescriptions.
- Prevent illnesses by washing your hands and staying away from people who are sick.
- Get vaccinated and stay up to date on seasonal vaccines like flu.
If you have questions about medications you are taking, or about vaccines you may need, talk to your healthcare provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, request an appointment with one of our providers.