World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 2017

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World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global campaign to step up the fight against bacterial infection and help reduce the disease burden of sufferers through the use of antibiotics.

Observed every 13th to 19th of November each year, a special theme is chosen to mark the weeklong celebration. In the case of this year, however, the theme: “Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics” has been chosen for the World Antibiotics Awareness Week celebration.

The theme focuses on the role of healthcare workers in reducing antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria changes in a way that reduces the efficacy of drugs, chemicals, or other substances administered to cure or prevent infections. Hence, pointing to the fact that we all need to know what to expect when we visit our health care provider.

What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are drugs used to fight bacterial infections. They come in different forms; for example, syrups for young children and tablets and injections for adults.

When we use antibiotics indiscriminately we encourage the development of “superbugs.” These are bacteria that have developed resistance to the drugs and therefore do not get destroyed when we use the drug. As a result minor infections will eventually become untreatable.

How can we be Antibiotic Aware?

We all have a part to play to create awareness about preventing the indiscriminate use of antibiotics:

  • Do not take antibiotics when you do not need them. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections like colds so do not put pressure on your doctor to prescribe this for you. Antibiotic resistant infections are a lot harder to treat and a lot more complex
  • Never share antibiotics with another person, not even a family member.
  • Do not use antibiotics beyond the prescribed duration. If you do not feel better return to your doctor.
  • Try to take the full prescription even if you feel better.
  • Reduce your risk of infections by washing your hands, preparing foods hygienically, practicing safe sex and reducing contact with other people when you are sick.
  • Ensure your health provider prescribes and dispenses the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration.
  • Encourage your health worker to take blood samples before treating you.

We can all make a difference, use antibiotics wisely!

Courtesy: Medifem Hospital Wellness Team – Priscilla Adjei (Pharmacist) and Dr. Wereko-Dankwa