Dr. SHEKHAR BISWAS
The use of antibiotics in India and globally has increased immensely in the recent times. With the prolonged use of antibiotics, many people have become anti-antibiotic that even the primary diseases have become difficult to treat and transforming into fatal diseases. If such issues continue to progress, no antibiotics will be left even for the simplest infections by 2030.
Antimicrobial Resistance or AMR happens when the bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites evolve and become resistant to these medications, making it hard to treat them which makes these bacterial infections even more dangerous because it increases the risk of the disease spreading, severe illness and in some major cases even death.
Antibiotics are not preventive but curative medications
Have you ever advised your friends, family, most importantly your children to take antibiotics because you were in a rush to go somewhere or because they had an exam or maybe it was night time and the clinic must be closed? It is highly disapproved because over the counter (OTC) use of antibodies by people can lead to them having Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the long run. In the recent times, this is one such mistake made by parents where in an endeavour to protect their children from ailments, parents tend to provide them with antibiotics, expecting a swifter recovery. But in this process seldom do they realize how harmful it can prove to be in the long run.
Misuse or Overusing Antibiotics puts everyone at risk because by taking antibiotics when not needed you are accelerating your chances of having Antibiotic Resistance which is one of the greatest threats to the global health at present because these infections can affect anyone from any country from any walk of life. Antibiotic resistant infections also cause for a patient to have a longer stay at the hospital, higher medical costs and in some cases death. The overuse will cause bacteria to become resistant which means that the current treatment for these bacterial infections won’t work.
According to the recent reports published by SAGE, India has turned out to be the largest consumer of Antibiotics with or without prescription due to which the cases of Antimicrobial Resistance have been surging in India in the recent past and even across the globe because people have been avoiding going to the doctors and trying to treat themselves or their children at home.
Though amid the recent pandemic, the usage of analgesics like paracetamol has rapidly grown, but certain medications including antibiotics, anti-diabetics, anti-hypertensive and narcotics should be taken under a valid prescription because improper usage of antibiotics leads to Antimicrobial Resistance which is turning out to be a big problem as per World Health Organization (WHO).
Antibiotics do not treat viral infections
As the summer season continues, the cases of Hand Foot Mouth disease (HFM), herpangina, dengue fever and swine flu are on the rise, which are treated under the supervision of Doctors. In such cases, self-decision to treat it with antibiotics can have harmful side effects and long term problems for the patient. The most common bacterial infections in the summer season are Typhoid and Ecoli Diarrhoea, which require only symptomatic treatment as per the doctor’s advice. Antibiotics are taken under protocols with reference to the patient treatment plan.
It is actually necessary to consult a doctor before taking the dosage of antibiotics as not always there is a chance that a fever is attributed to infections. Hospitals have a vital role to play in maintaining the public health. Maintaining the permitted stock and promote the appropriate usage of antibiotics will not only prevent antibiotic resistance but also preserve a wide variety of antibiotics even for the life- threatening complications.
It has also been seen that most cases during this time are viral but people have started taking antibiotics without doctor consultation which may not cause problems straight away but are harmful to a person’s body in the long run. Fortunate for us, the most common infections in children are Diarrohea, Cold or Cough are due to viral causes and not bacterial because bacterial infections mostly occur when a child has poor immunity, malnutrition, etc. Parents are requested to get proper consultation from a paediatrician before taking any antibiotics.
(The Author is Consultant Paediatrician and New Born specialist, Director Kindergarten clinics, New Delhi)