It is World Antibiotics Awareness Week and seniors and professionals are taking a refresher. The topic is antibiotic resistance.
Let’s begin with a quiz question. What is the connection between “30%” and “use of antibiotics”? The answer is: the CDC
says that at least thirty percent of the antibiotics prescribed for patient outside of hospitals are given for no good reason.
The Question Mark Hangs over Antibiotics
Many seniors use antibiotics. Antibiotics help cure so many illnesses and it’s a medicine that saves lives. Antibiotic medicines are the main way to fight infections.
So, why do seniors need to use antibiotics with care? Isn’t every senior careful to take their medicine carefully?
The point of World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW) is much more than managing your medicine.
World Antibiotics Awareness Week takes place on: 13 – 19 November, 2019
U.S. Antibiotics Awareness Week takes place on: 18 – 24 November, 2019
World Antibiotics Awareness Week and Seniors – Aims and Activities
The aim of WAAW, is to fight the world wide problem of antibiotics resistance. This can be done through:
- Improve how doctors offer antibiotics. For example, only when it is really needed, and only for bacterial infections, most importantly, giving clear instructions.
- Make progress in the way patients take antibiotics – more on this, further on in this article.
- Use social media to spread the message with #USAAW19 and #BeAntibioticsAware
- If you have an organization with a newsletter, include a message in your newsletter.
- Download and print resources from the CDC or call 1-800-CDC-INFO to order resources.
- Find out if there is an event near you. There might be a parade an exhibition, or a seminar. Why not take the opportunity to join in and learn more? Alternatively, you can request that someone make an event in your area.
What is Antibiotic Resistance?
Antibiotics work by killing microbes in a person, that caused an infection.
When antibiotics are overused, the bacteria in the body develop resistance to the antibiotic medicine. That brings about “antibiotic-resistant infections”. The CDC provides that many people fail to recover each year, even though they used antibiotics. The antibiotics we have are no longer effective for those infections.
Is the Answer: Development of Newer, Stronger Antibiotics?
Scientists suggest that we can respond by:
Firstly, finding new, effective types of antibiotics
Secondly, treating disease differently, not by killing microbes
Thridly, setting aside money for grants for R&D
Fourthly, not using up the limited supply of antibiotics
Fifthly, finding better ways to prevent infection spreading
Finally, developing new tools for ‘rapid diagnosis’ of infection
Getting Practical with Antibiotics – Safe Practices for Patients
So, let’s get practical about world antibiotics awareness week and seniors in the world of antibiotics.
Here are some tips for taking antibiotics with awareness:
- Follow best practices to avoid infection at all times, also when in health. For example, hygienic practices include washing hands frequently.
- Seniors can ask the doctor whether they really need antibiotics, since not all illnesses are caused by infection. Viral illnesses will not respond to antibiotics.
- Therefore, most cold and flu illnesses do not need antibiotics.
- If taking antibiotics let it work its best. So, you should eat well and get enough sleep.
- Finish the entire course of antibiotics. Don’t ‘save some for next time’.
- Certainly, don’t share your medicine with a family member or friend.
- Follow normal safe medicine practices. For example, wear glasses if you need them when taking the medicine.
- Above all, avoid spread of bacteria, if ill. Hygienic practices are very important.
So, we see the relevance of World Antibiotics Awareness Week and seniors can become aware. We can all learn ways to protect ourselves and our environment. Meanwhile let’s begin to handle antibiotics with awareness. Let’s hope, additonally, that all of the readers stay in good health, with no need for antibiotics!