How are antibiotic misuse and resistance becoming severe problems in the country?

Antibiotics like cephalexin and azithromycin may sound like familiar names because we have seen their prescription bottles in the bathroom cabinets while growing up. You might have variants of penicillin or erythromycin lying around the house somewhere. Doctors have always prescribed some of these well-known antibiotics for pink eye, strep throat or ear infections in kids, bronchitis, diarrhea, skin infections urinary tract infections, or STDs, in adults.

Why should you always stick to your doctor’s advice on antibiotic courses?

The reason you still see them lying around while no one is sick is due to our habit of “saving” medicines for later or because the person forgot to complete the prescribed course of antibiotics! Failing to finish the prescribed course of antibiotics increases the risks of developing antibiotic resistance. It is the patient’s responsibility to take precisely the number of antibiotic pills his or her doctor has prescribed. Some antibiotic prescriptions come with details specifications of how and when the patient should take their medicines. The patient should follow these instructions to the T even when they start feeling better. Therefore, always furnish your prescription while buying antibiotics. If you have any doubts about the length of time or repetition of dosage, the pharmacist can help you with that.

Why shouldn’t you take antibiotics for viral diseases?

Antibiotics are potent compounds that can treat bacterial infections. They do not affect viral infections. The only time a doctor prescribes antibiotic medication to someone with a viral infection is when they develop a secondary bacterial infection after their initial illness persists for over seven days. Antibiotics do not affect common cold and sore throats resulting from it. Taking these strong medicines during viral infections may result in the development of antibiotic resistance for diseases that need antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic resistance occurs when the patient does not complete the course of the medication.

Who is prone to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections?

Certain people are more prone to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, including –

  • The elderly
  • Premature infants and children
  • Burn victims
  • Bone marrow transplant patients
  • People with weak immune systems

There was a time when one could find antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the hospitals only. However, right now, antibiotic resistance is beginning in communities as well. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics before and after surgeries. Sometimes, simple dental procedures also require completing antibiotic courses. It is imperative that you take the medicine during the advised course of time only. Do not save them or dispose of them with household waste.

How to dispose of antibiotics wisely?

Throwing antibiotics with your household waste is not wise since scavenger animals can find their way to them and consumer them. Further increasing the concerns regarding the spreading of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. To dispose of medicines do not crush them or break them. Keep them in their bottle or strip. Mix them with something unpalatable like used up coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter. Place the entire mixture inside Ziploc bags. Then, proceed to throw the whole container in the household trash.