Antibiotic Resistance – What It Is And Why It’s A Problem

Antibiotics are a type of medicine that can help treat infections caused by bacteria. They can also help prevent infection and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. However, overuse and misuse of antibiotics can cause bacteria to become resistant to these medicines. This is a big problem because it means that these medicines will no longer work to treat infections. 

What Is Antibiotic Resistance? 

Bacteria can be found everywhere – in water, soil, and food; on our skin (and animal fur) and inside our bodies. Most are not harmful or cause problems, but some can make us sick. A small number of bacteria can become very resistant to antibiotics. These are called “superbugs.” 

Antibiotic resistance is when these bacteria get smarter and start to resist antibiotic medicines that used to work. There are a few things that can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, including: genetic changes (mutations), horizontal gene transfer, and the use of antibiotics in a way that’s not intended. Some people may also get a drug-resistant infection from someone who’s already been infected with it. This is why the public healthcare providers and hospitals all need to take steps to ensure that antibiotics are used correctly. 

What Can I Do To Help Deal With Antibiotic Resistance? 

It can take time for resistant bacteria to develop. This is called “spontaneous resistance.” Sometimes the bacteria mutate on their own, or they are exposed to antibiotics that they can’t use because they are resistant. The first step to deal with resistance is to take antibiotics as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Don’t skip doses or share antibiotics with others. 

What Can I Do To Prevent Antibiotic Resistance? 

If you have a bacterial infection and your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, make sure to take it exactly as directed. Don’t stop taking it before you’re feeling better or it could cause a new infection. Another important part of preventing antibiotic resistance is getting vaccinated against common illnesses. Vaccinations can help prevent illnesses such as whooping cough and tetanus, which often require antibiotics. It’s also important to follow good hand hygiene, such as washing your hands with soap and water before eating and using the bathroom. This helps to keep bacteria from spreading between people and between communities and can help prevent infections in hospitals or other health care facilities.