A Call to Action! by Macie Y.
Updated: Apr 17
Bacteria are developing resistance to our antibiotics at a faster rate than we can develop new ones. Before the discovery of penicillin, many people died from infection. Strep throat, Pneumonia, some STIs, or even a simple infection developing from a wound were all potential death sentences. There were no treatments. If we lose the ability to use antibiotics effectively, we would be losing surgeries. We would lose protection for those with weak immune systems such as babies, elderly, and those that are immunocompromised.
Now, we may return to this world of common diseases turning into potential death sentences. Bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria are developing resistance so rapidly that one of the most recent antibiotics, Daptomycin, was developed in 2003 and bacteria developed resistance by 2004!
Bacteria are developing this resistance by creating mutations in their DNA. But we are helping them to develop these mutations. We are the ones at fault for this antibiotic resistance. We use antibiotics to an excess!
In agriculture, we use antibiotics almost daily on animals intended for consumption simply to get them to gain weight and keep them healthy. Not to cure anything. This creates resistant bacteria that can shed into water, the air, and the meat of the animals. Even growing fruit relies on antibiotics to keep fruit healthy.
In hospitals, we have oversold and overprescribed antibiotics to the point where it is unbelievable. In fact, 45% of the antibiotics given in hospitals are for conditions that antibiotics CAN’T help!
In order to stop this evolution of antibiotic resistance we need to make changes. Now.
We need to stop asking, prescribing, or taking antibiotics when we are unsure of what the disease is.
We need to be sure that the right type of antibiotic is prescribed when it is needed and that the correct dosage is prescribed.
We need to finish our antibiotics as prescribed and do not skip any doses, to kill all bacteria, not leave some lingering.
We should have a second line of quality control checking antibiotic prescriptions to ensure they are necessary and correctly prescribed.
We need to tighten restrictions in agriculture to limit their antibiotic use to the minimum.
Do not buy meat or fruit that has been frequently treated with antibiotics.
We all need to make changes to stop antibiotic resistance. We need to keep antibiotics effective to protect everyone on this planet. We can do this by working together!
Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs | Antibiotic Use | CDC. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/core-elements/hospital.html
McKenna, M. (n.d.). What do we do when antibiotics don't work any more? TED Talks. https://www.ted.com/talks/maryn_mckenna_what_do_we_do_when_antibiotics_don_t_work_any_more