The impact of Irrational use of Antibiotics

Each Antibiotic that we use irrationally has an impact not only on us but also on our communities. Please read the below article to understand the implications of irrational use of Antibiotics.

Anju Thakur’s daughter, born prematurely a year ago, was one of the antibiotic resistance epidemic’s victims in Amravati, a city in central India. Doctors assured Ms. Thakur that her daughter, despite weighing just four pounds, would be fine. Her husband gave sweets to neighbors in celebration.

Three days later, Ms. Thakur knew something was wrong. Her daughter’s stomach swelled, her limbs stiffened and her skin thickened — classic signs of a blood infection. As a precaution, doctors had given the baby two powerful antibiotics soon after birth. Doctors switched to other antibiotics and switched again. Nothing worked. Ms. Thakur gave a puja, or prayer, to the goddess Durga, but the baby’s condition worsened. She died, just seven days old.

“We tried everything we could,” said Dr. Swapnil Talvekar, the pediatrician who treated her. Ms. Thakur was inconsolable. “I never thought I’d stop crying,” she said.

This information has been extracted from the following article: ‘Superbugs’ Kill India’s Babies and Pose an Overseas Threat

The coming crisis in Antibiotics

Antibiotics save lives. But we simply use them too much — and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the Flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, is that the drugs will stop working for everyone, as the bacteria they target grow more and more resistant. He calls on all of us (patients and doctors alike) to think of antibiotics — and their ongoing effectiveness — as a finite resource, and to think twice before we tap into it. It’s a sobering look at how global medical trends can strike home.

A highly informative talk by Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan on: The coming crisis in Antibiotics.

5 Questions to Ask your Doctor before you take Antibiotics

5 Questions to Ask your Doctor

5 Questions to ask your doctor about Antibiotics – from Choosing Wisely

Use the following 5 questions to talk to your doctor about when you need antibiotics – and when you don’t. Antibiotics can help prevent or treat some infections. But if you use them for the wrong reason, they may cause unnecessary harm. Talk to your doctor to make sure you only use Antibiotics for the right reasons and at the right time, and say I’M Wise!

1. Do I really need Antibiotics?

Antibiotics fight bacterial infections, like strep throat, and symptomatic bladder infections. They DON’T fight viruses—like common colds, flu, or most sore throats and sinus infections. Ask if you have a bacterial infection.

Misusing Antibiotics when they are not required, is one of the leading causes of Antibiotic Resistance, which is the ability of bacteria to resist to the action of an Antibiotic.

2. What are the risks?

Antibiotics can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and many more side effects. They can also lead to Antibiotic Resistance — if you use antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may not work when you do need them.

3. Are there simpler, safer options?

Sometimes all you need is rest and plenty of liquid. Instead of oral Antibiotics, which are more likely to have unwanted side effects, you can also ask about Antibiotic ointments and drops for eye and ear infections. For more details refer: American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (February 2013), “Clinical practice guideline: Acute otitis externa”. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 134 (4): S4–23.

4. How much do they cost?

Antibiotics are usually not expensive. But if you take them when you don’t need them, they may not work for you in the future – and that may cost you a lot of time and money, in the form of stronger treatment – which might be more toxic and expensive – and possibly a hospital stay.

5. How do I safely take antibiotics?

If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take them exactly as directed, even if you feel better. Always complete the course, as directed by your doctor, and do not take more doses, unless directed by your doctor.