What is an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance?

Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

An­tibi­otics work by killing bac­te­ria, slow­ing their growth and stop­ping their abil­ity to cause in­fec­tion. They’re the front­line treat­ment for re­duc­ing the risk of in­fec­tion dur­ing or­gan trans­plan­ta­tion, chemo­ther­apy treat­ment, cae­sarean sec­tions and other sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures. In less se­ri­ous cir­cum­stances, they’re a vi­tal back-up for our own im­mune sys­tems, but the more we use them, the more bac­te­ria change and be­come re­sis­tant to their ef­fects. Bac­te­ria no longer die − in­stead they sur­vive and mul­ti­ply. Scientists say a grow­ing num­ber of in­fec­tions, such as pneu­mo­nia, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and gon­or­rhoea, are be­com­ing harder to treat as they change and fight back against the pro­tec­tive power of an­tibi­otics.

Health ex­perts agree that the overuse and in­cor­rect use of an­tibi­otics is the key rea­son be­hind the an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tance cri­sis we’re now fac­ing.

“An­tibi­otics aren’t Tic Tacs, but that’s how we have been treat­ing them. We’ve been pop­ping them, and now we’re in this mess,” says Dr Tony Velkov of the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne’s Depart­ment of Phar­ma­col­ogy and Ther­a­peu­tics.

“If you keep us­ing some­thing, bugs even­tu­ally get re­sis­tant. Peni­cillin is now pretty much use­less. There are some good de­riv­a­tives, but we need to keep mak­ing new an­tibi­otics be­cause the bugs keep be­com­ing re­sis­tant.”

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