Causes of Antibiotic Resistance

Danger Associated with Antibiotic Resistance

What Is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotics are prescribed aiming at preventing or treating various bacterial infections. Bacteria may change in response to the use of such medicines, causing antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect both animals and humans, and they are much harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance is associated with a range of problems, including higher expenses, increasing the length of stays at a hospital, and a higher risk of mortality.

Today, antibiotic resistance is presented in many bacteria, some of which are able to cause common health problems, such as STIs, food poisoning, or pneumonia. Some bacteria are not fought with a particular drug. Germs can become resistant to a certain antibiotic, or they can use resistance genes.

Bacteria may become insensitive to the antibiotics that doctors usually for the treatment. This makes them prescribe more potent medicines, which may cause a range of side effects and severe health problems, such as kidney damage. Some bacteria have genes allowing them to survive the use of the newest antibiotics.

Why Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur?

Antibiotics helped save lots of lives, but today since they often are not used properly, the risk of antibiotic resistance is much higher. So, what the causes of antibiotic resistance are and whether it is possible to avoid this condition. Since antibiotics have often been prescribed for the treatment of minor or even viral infections, the massive overuse of them took place. Antibiotics should be used to treat certain bacteria, but it is not always clear whether it is bacterial or viral infection without using pretty expensive tests. That is why sometimes it is considered time-consuming and more effective just to prescribe antibiotics.
Another problem associated with the use of antibiotics is difficulties with monitoring patient intake. Antibiotic dosages are chosen to destroy all pathogens. If antibiotics are not taken as prescribed, pathogenic bacteria just adapt to the low dosage of antibiotics or dose that has been taken for a shorter period of time than recommended. This leads to the forming of the population of bacteria that is fully resistant to the antibiotic. This means that they will not be fought with the antibiotic even if it is used in high dosage.

Antibiotics are not only used by humans, but they can also treat fish and livestock, which is also often associated with the overuse. Uncontrolled use of antibiotics leads to the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which makes antibiotics useless.

Another reason for the problem is the lack of new antibiotics. New potent medications are not developed as they should be which does not allow controlling the situation.

All in all, the following six factors are the main causes for the occurrence of antibiotic resistance:

• Poor infection monitoring;
• Wrong use of antibiotics by humans;
• Poor sanitation and hygiene;
• Wrong use of antibiotics in fish and livestock farming;
• Not following the recommendations of healthcare provider (taking medications within a shorter period of time);
• The lack of new potent antibiotics.

Why Antibiotic Resistance Must Be Fought

Cities are highly populated, which means that people are attacked by various pathogens constantly. The number of patients with bacterial infections is increasing all the time.

Sometimes, it is really hard to stop the spread of a pathogen in a population. Isolation and treatment of infectious diseases do not often bring the needed results. Since cities suffer from poor sanitation and hygiene, the development of various bacteria is massive.

It is extremely important to start doing something about this problem as soon as possible because the inability to treat bacterial infections will lead to massive diseases and a range of negative consequences associated with them.

Bacterial infections differ one from another by various parameters, including their severity. Some infections can be even deadly. Today, lots of infections are treated thanks to the use of antibiotics, but antibiotic resistance can change the situation dramatically.

Hundreds of years ago, people died from a simple bacterial infection because there were no antibiotics to fight it. The risk to come back in those hard times is pretty high because of antibiotic resistance. These infections may become a threat again if antibiotic resistance is not prevented.

How to Fight Antibiotic Resistance?

There are several steps that should be taken in order to stop or at least limit antibiotic resistance, and all of them are based on those factors, causing this problem.

It is extremely important to stop the overuse of antibiotic and only prescribe them when they are clearly needed. Although it may cause certain difficulties, the use of antibiotics should be only based on the exact tests and other results confirming the presence of bacterial infection.

People should follow the basic rules of sanitation and hygiene, which can prevent the occurrence of various infections and the need to treat those using antibiotics, including regular washing their hands, using condoms, avoiding sharing personal things, etc.
It would also help if more people knew that the problem exists, that it may have pretty severe consequences, and what they can do to stop it. Each healthcare provider prescribing antibiotics should explain in details why it is so important to follow all recommendation regarding the dose and the length of the treatment.

Finally, it is essential to support prospective developments of new potent antibiotics. This means that bright scientists should be employed for working under this problems and relevant financing should be provided.

Every day that we spend without doing anything about antibiotic resistance increases the risk of us suffering from an untreated bacterial infection in not very distant future. At the same time, the actions that we do today to overcome this situation will help to get rid of this problem significantly.