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How can we prevent antibiotic resistance as an individual?

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross Việt Nam

Antibiotic resistance is spreading dangerously at high levels in some countries, including Vietnam. Anyone affected by this phenomenon would suffer a long-duration illness, expensive alternative treatments, and even be in danger in some cases. So, why does antibiotic resistance occur? What can we do to prevent it? Pacific Cross Vietnam gives you the answers below.

 

What is antibiotic resistance?

As we all know, antibiotics are a type of drug used to treat and prevent bacterial infections. Under its effect, bacteria die, but some can resist. They reproduce and pass their genes on to their offspring over time.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when the resistant bacteria can bypass the drug effects, resulting in hard-to-treat bacterial infection. If you have antibiotic resistance, it does not mean that you are unaffected by all antibiotics but specific ones.

how to prevent antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria reproduce and pass their genes on to their offspring over time

 

Its impacts

Antibiotic resistance is supposed to be a global threat, not only because of difficulty in treatment but its quick spread. In the United States, this phenomenon leads to more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths each year (according to CDC’s report in 2019). While in Vietnam, people have recently witnessed an increasing threat.

From a healthcare perspective, antibiotic resistance threatens the advancement of modern medicine. Surgery, such as organ transplantation, chemotherapy, and cesarean section, becomes even more dangerous without effective antibiotics to prevent and treat the infection.

From an individual perspective, this phenomenon can put patients in a difficult situation because of expensive medical costs, prolonged hospital stay, and high mortality risk. The problem is that when drug resistance happens, patients don’t know until they treat the infection.

antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance can put patients in a difficult situation

Why antibiotics resistance occurs

Although antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in medication and agriculture are considered the accelerating factors. Specifically, agriculture – the largest consumer of antibiotics – uses these drugs not only to treat infections but to stimulate the growth of food animals. The resistant bacteria from animals can be transmitted to humans via food. Meanwhile, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are easy to spread if there is a lack of hygiene and sanitation. They can enter your body through a cut on your skin, in the air when a person near you sneezes or coughs, by sharing food with an infected person, etc.

 

How to prevent antibiotics resistance

By reading this blog, you are making the first step to help reduce the risk of getting antibiotic resistance. Although antibiotics are powerful, they are designed for certain infections, not for all. To protect yourself against this phenomenon, you can take these tips:

  • Only use antibiotics prescribed by doctors (no self-medication)
  • Complete antibiotic course even if you feel recovered
  • Do not use leftover antibiotics or share them with anyone
  • Wash hands regularly, avoid close contact with sick people
  • Prepare food hygienically, following the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food (keep clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, use safe water and raw materials) and choose foods that have been produced without the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention in healthy animals).

Protecting yourself is protecting your loved ones and helping save the world from the antibiotic resistance crisis.

In short, we cannot deny that antibiotics have been the most effective life-saving drugs. But think again before considering it a panacea for all ailments!

If you care about your health, you can consider Pacific Cross Vietnam. We are a specialist provider of global health and travel insurances, designed to provide not just basic health cover, but also a wide range of benefits providing peace of mind for you, your family, and your employees.

 

References:

https://www.who.int/vietnam/health-topics/antimicrobial-resistance

https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html

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