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 Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

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RašytiTemos pavadinimas: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria   17/08/11, 09:53 am

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Antibiotics – What are they?

Antibiotics are drugs that fight infections that are caused by bacteria. The first antibiotic, penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1927. It was the discovery and use of antibiotics that dramatically reduced illness and death caused by infectious diseases.

Originally the term "antibiotic" was used to refer to a natural compound that was produced by a fungus or another microorganism that kills bacteria which causes disease in animals and humans. Antibiotics can also be synthetic compounds that also kill or inhibit the growth of microbes. "Antimicrobial agent" was the term that was technically coined for both natural and synthetic compounds, though many people use the term "antibiotic" to refer to both.

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

When bacteria and other microbes resist the effects of an antibiotic, it is termed as antibiotic resistant bacteria. This scenario usually takes place when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals or other such agents that are designed to cure or prevent infections. This is when bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm.

What are the causes responsible for bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?

What happens is that every time an antibiotic is used it promotes the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, thus when a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant germs may be left to grow and multiply. Improper and repeated use of antibiotics is the main cause of the increase in drug-resistant bacteria. Excessive use of antibiotics promotes the spread of antibiotic resistance. It is thus essential to use antibiotics smartly in order to control the spread of resistance.

Why should I be worried about antibiotic resistant bacteria?

Today antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most important public health problems. This is because over the last decade, almost every kind of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really required. The community is thus threatened by the fact that antibiotic resistant bacteria can quickly spread to family members, schoolmates and co-workers, giving rise to a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure as well as expensive to treat.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria can cause damage and suffering for children and who suffer from common infections that once could be cured by antibiotics. This is because microbes can develop resistance to specific medicines and when this happens treating the infections caused by them becomes difficult and even impossible.

How can I avoid antiobiotic resistant infections?

You can avoid antibiotic resistant infections by following the steps listed below:

* Use antibiotics only when you feel they are likely to be beneficial.
* Ask your healthcare provider whether the antibiotic is likely to be beneficial for your illness.
* Avoid taking antibiotics for a viral infection such as a cold or the flu.
* Avoid saving antibiotics for the next time you are ill. Get rid of leftover medication once you have completed your prescribed course of treatment.
* Take antibiotics according to the prescription provided. Take care not to skip doses. Also take care to complete the prescribed course treatment even if you are feeling better. This step should be followed because if you stop the treatment too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect.
* Avoid taking antibiotics that have been prescribed for someone else as the antibiotic may not be appropriate for your illness.
* If your healthcare provider is sure that you do not have a bacterial infection, ask him/her for ways to relieve the symptoms. Do not pressurize your healthcare provider to prescribe an antibiotic.

What steps can healthcare providers take to help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance?

Healthcare providers can help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance by:

* Prescribing antibiotic therapy only when it is to be likely to be beneficial to the patient.
* Using an agent that targets the pathogens that cause the illness.
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