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World Antibiotics Awareness Week 2017 By Frank Ugwuzor, RN.CIEH.
Date Posted: 17/Nov/2017
Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medications.
Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stay and increased mortality.
The world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. Even if new medicines are developed, without behavior change, antibiotic resistance will remain a major threat. Behavior changes must also include actions to reduce the spread of infections through vaccination hand washing, practicing safe sex and good food hygiene.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious global threat: every year, at least 700,000 people around the world die from infections with superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics – and this is predicted to rise to 10 million by 2050 if necessary actions are not taken.
An estimated 50 percent of antibiotics worldwide can be bought without a prescription, this contributes to the overuse of antibiotics and the growing threat of superbugs.( strains of bacteria that are resistant to several types of antibiotics).
Preventing antibiotics resistance, Individuals;
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, individuals can:
Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
Never demand antibiotics if your health worker says you don’t need them.
Always follow your health worker’s advice when using antibiotics.
Take it exactly as directed. Always take the exact amount that the label says to take. If the label says to take the medicine at a certain time, follow these directions.
Take it for as long as prescribed. You might feel better after you take it for a few days. But it is important to keep taking the antibiotic as directed. You need the full prescription to get rid of those bacteria that are a bit stronger and survive the first few days of treatment.
Bacteria that an antibiotic cannot kill (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) can develop if you (and many other people) take only part of an antibiotic prescription.
Never share or use leftover antibiotics.
Prevent infections by regularly washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practicing safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
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.
If you need to take antibiotics, always tell your healthcare professional about other medicines or dietary supplements you are taking. 
Be sure to talk about any special diet you may be following, any food or drug allergies you may have, and any health problems you have.
And make sure your healthcare professional knows if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Questions to ask your healthcare professional
Why do I need antibiotics?
What are the side effects of this antibiotic?
Can I do anything to prevent the side effects?
How do I take the antibiotic? 
Do I take it at a certain time of day? 
Do I take it with food?
Will the antibiotic interfere with any other medicines?
Will anything happen if I take this with other medicines, certain foods, or alcohol?
Do I need to refrigerate antibiotics? 
Are there any special storage instructions?
Preventing antibiotics resistance, Healthcare professionals
To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, health professionals can:
Prevent infections by ensuring your hands, instruments, and environment are clean.
Only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are needed, according to current guidelines.
Report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams.
Talk to your patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse.
Talk to your patients about preventing infections (for example, vaccination, hand washing, safer sex, and covering nose and mouth when sneezing).
Important Notes for all! 
"If you take antibiotics when you do not need them, they may not work when you do need them".
Antibiotics are powerful medicines, but they cannot cure everything. Antibiotics do not work against illnesses that are caused by a virus. They do not help illnesses such as:
Common colds.
Influenza (flu).
Most cases of acute bronchitis.
Most sore throats not caused by strep.
Runny noses.
Most ear infections.
These illnesses usually go away by themselves. Ask your doctor what you can do to feel better.
Each time you take antibiotics, you are more likely to have some bacteria that the medicine does not kill. These bacteria can change (mutate) so they are harder to kill. Then, the antibiotics that used to kill them no longer work. These bacteria are called antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
These tougher bacteria can cause longer and more serious infections. To treat them you may need different, stronger antibiotics that have more side effects than the first medicine and may cost more.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria also can spread to family members, children, and fellow workers. Your community then will have a risk of getting an infection that is harder to cure and costs more to treat. Some antibiotics that doctors prescribed in the past to treat common infections no longer work.
Taking antibiotics you do not need will not help you feel better, cure your illness, or keep others from catching your infection. But taking them may cause side effects such as:
Stomach pain.
An allergic reaction. 
In rare cases, this reaction can require emergency care.
Antibiotics also can cause Clostridium difficilecolities (also called C. difficilecolitis), a swelling and irritation of the large intestine, or colon. This happens because the antibiotics kill the normal bacteria in your intestine and allow the C. difficile bacteria to grow.
This problem can cause diarrhea, fever, and belly cramps. In rare cases, it can cause death.
Women may get vaginal yeast infections from taking antibiotics.
Become an Antibiotic Guardian in Nigeria Today!
Your health is your responsibility!

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