As popularly known, antibiotics are prescription medications that are used to treat bacterial infections of various kinds. However in Nigeria, these prescription drugs are gotten like any over-the-counter medications that are available. This make them prone to side effects and resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon whereby a microorganism overcomes the effects of an antibiotic by becoming resistant to it. This is not as a result of the drug being ineffective but the microorganisms have found ways to adapt to the presence of the drug set to kill them. It's just like the concept of survival of the fittest. In as much as they are living things, they must possess adaptability which is one of the characteristics of living things. Antibiotic resistance can also be called Antimicrobial resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) can occur by mutations in the DNA of the microorganisms leading to its increased ability to destroy the drug, ability to pump it out of the cells, cross resistance from other classes of antibiotics due to similarity in structure and /or function or site of action, etc.
What leads to AMR?
- Abuse of antibiotics;
- Not completing the medication course of antibiotics;
- Not listening to the health professionals instructions before taking antibiotics leading to inappropriate use of the antibiotics, etc.
Consequences Of AMR
- Failed treatment because antibiotics cannot eradicate the bacteria causing the infection.
- Using stronger antibiotics for minor infections. This can lead to unavailability of effective antibiotics to treat very severe infections.
- Higher cost of treatment and prolonged treatment.
- Reduction in the number of available antibiotics for a particular infection.
- Death from treatment failure and complications, etc.
Preventing or reducing AMR
The following are some ways to prevent AMR which include:
- Always completing the course or dosing regimen of antibiotics
- Avoiding the abuse of antibiotics
- Always using only antibiotics prescribed by a physician.
- Not sharing your drugs with our people even if their symptoms is the same as yours, etc.
Preventing AMR is our collective responsibility. Till next time, stay healthy and safe.
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