Nowadays, the majority of the public still believes that antibiotics can cure everything from common colds to upper respiratory tract infections and take antibiotics without proper dosages and prescriptions. This is a common mistake that resulted in a worldwide health problem — antibiotic resistance. To raise awareness about this issue and to promote knowledge regarding proper antibiotic usage, Antibiotic Awareness Week is held in Canada from November 18th to 24th.
According to recent studies, about 30% of all prescriptions released in Canada are considered inappropriate and unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. The numbers presented are proof that Canadians need to be more cautious and concerned about the medicines they are consuming. The country’s healthcare is one of the best in the world, but we need to reconsider the use of antibiotics and use them only when necessary.
Antibiotics are indeed powerful at curing various bacterial infections. However, bacteria are powerful too. They can adapt, and overusing antibiotics are the main reason why bacteria are now drug-resistant. Large exposure to antibiotics accelerates the process of how they mutate and multiply rapidly. Once they turn into drug-resistant bacteria, they will be harder to kill; thus, infections will also be harder to treat.
In dental care, the use of unnecessary antibiotics is still rampant. Some people still believe that antibiotics can alleviate toothache. They will often grab any antibiotic they can get their hands onto, without considering the risks of taking them. A specific antibiotic is made to cure a specific disease. If you were prescribed antibiotics for urinary tract infection, you cannot use them to relieve pain from a toothache. Aside from not being effective, this practice will just put you at risk of infections that are hard to treat.
Various bacterial infections can happen inside the mouth when a person neglects proper oral care. There are a lot of bacteria living inside the oral cavity. Some are good, and they help in keeping the mouth healthy and clean. While some are bad bacteria that cause oral problems and diseases. Antibiotics are sometimes needed to treat these ailments, but take note that it is not always the case and should only be done when instructed by a dentist/doctor.
For example, infections like tooth abscess does not really need antibiotic treatments. With this condition, pus is found in and around the tooth, and infection can quickly spread to the mouth and the neck when left untreated. The best way to treat this is to extract the tooth and drain all the pus. Though it is an infection, antibiotics are not really necessary and not effective in curing tooth abscess. This does not mean that antibiotics are not needed anymore in dental procedures and surgeries. When a person has certain heart conditions, antibiotics are required before undergoing certain dental procedures. When an implant needs to be done, using antibiotics is recommended before dental procedures. The usage of antibiotics depends on the person, the situation, and the disease.
The goal of Antibiotic Awareness Week is to spread awareness about the consequences and risks of improper antibiotic use. There are already numerous bacterial infections that are hard to treat. Some of these are pneumonia, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, salmonellosis, and typhoid. If people continue using antibiotics the wrong way, an estimated number of 10 million people all over the world will die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year in the near future.
If antibiotics become ineffective in the future, people undergoing medical treatments will be at high risk. Those who are required to undergo chemotherapy and surgery are prone and at risk of acquiring life-threatening infections like chronic pneumonia. Antibiotics were made to save lives, not end them. That is why antibiotic awareness is really important not only for ourselves but also for future generations.
Antibiotic resistance is continuously growing to be one of the biggest health-related problems people all over the world will encounter. To help raise awareness about this issue, you can first start with yourself. When you are experiencing an ailment, visit and consult your physician before consuming any type of medication. When you are prescribed to take antibiotics, follow the instructions and take them diligently. If you miss one, do not double the dose the next time you take it. When there are leftovers, do not use them to treat other diseases like flu and toothaches.
The internet has a lot to offer, and information can be accessed a lot easier now. Browse through the web and you will see lots of sources, from scientific journals to interesting quizzes, which can help you understand and know more about antibiotic misuse. You can also include your parents and family, and share useful information about antibiotics. Big or small, these actions towards antibiotic awareness can improve the future of medicine and humankind.