The Importance of Using Antibiotics Responsibly

The Importance of Using Antibiotics Responsibly

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)¹ is a growing global health concern. It refers to the ability of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, to resist the effects of antimicrobial drugs. This means that the medications that were once effective in treating infections become less or completely ineffective, leading to prolonged illnesses, increased healthcare costs, and even death.

Why is AMR a Problem?

The misuse and overuse of antimicrobial medicines are the main drivers of AMR. When antibiotics² are used unnecessarily or inappropriately, bacteria can develop resistance to them. This resistance can then be passed on to other bacteria, making infections harder to treat. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)³, AMR is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.

The Importance of Using Antibiotics Responsibly

Using antibiotics responsibly is crucial in order to preserve their effectiveness for future generations. Here are a few key reasons why it's important to save antibiotics for when you actually need them:

1. Preventing the spread of resistant infections: By using antibiotics only when necessary, we can reduce the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This helps to protect both individuals and communities from the threat of untreatable infections.

2. Preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics: Antibiotics are a precious resource, and their effectiveness is diminishing due to AMR. By using them judiciously, we can help ensure that they remain effective for treating serious bacterial infections.

3. Reducing the risk of side effects: Antibiotics can have side effects, ranging from mild to severe. By avoiding unnecessary antibiotic use, we can minimize the risk of experiencing these side effects and protect our own health.

How to Use Antibiotics Responsibly

Here are some practical tips to help you use antibiotics responsibly:

1. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions: Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed and complete the full course of treatment, even if you start feeling better. This ensures that all the bacteria causing the infection are eliminated.

2. Avoid self-medication: Do not use antibiotics without a prescription from a healthcare professional. They are the best judge of whether antibiotics are necessary for your condition.

3. Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before handling food and after using the restroom. This helps prevent the spread of infections and reduces the need for antibiotics.

4. Get vaccinated: Vaccines are a powerful tool in preventing infections. By staying up to date with recommended vaccinations, you can reduce the risk of certain infections and the need for antibiotics.

Remember, antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold or flu. Using them for such conditions not only contributes to AMR but also exposes you to unnecessary risks. Let's all do our part in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics and protecting our health.

process of antimicrobial resistance



1. Antimicrobial resistance | WHO

2. About antibiotics | NPS MedicineWise

3. World Health Organisation

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