- Preserve the effectiveness of current antibiotics
- Extend the life span of current antibiotics
- Protect people from antibiotic-resistant infections
- Avoid side effects from using antibiotics inappropriately
New diagnostic and treatment guidelines have been implemented by many hospitals and medical associations to ensure effective treatments for bacterial infections and decrease inappropriate use of antibiotics.
Antibiotic stewardship is not only limited to medical professionals but it also involves the public who are the patients in this case. As a patient, you can participate in reducing the development of antibiotic resistance if you:
Avoid putting pressure on your doctor to give you an antibiotic prescription
Symptoms of common cold or any upper respiratory tract infection are quite uncomfortable. These may tempt you to seek an easy way out to relieve the symptoms. Because of the misconceived notion that all upper respiratory tract infections are caused by bacteria, many have ended up pressurizing their doctors for prescriptions whenever they have signs of common cold.
Seek advice from your doctor on how to treat symptoms of common cold or upper respiratory tract infection. You will be suprised that some of the symptoms can be well managed by alternative means other that using antibiotics.
Exercise good hygiene
Maintaining good standards of hygiene is important in curbing spread of infections that may need treatment using antibiotics. This will minimize its use consequently reducing chances of bacteria building resistance against it.
Receive recommended vaccinations
Some recommended vaccines protect against bacterial infections, such as diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis).
Ensure both you and your children are vaccinated as per the vaccination guidelines approved by the ministry of health.
Reduce your risk of getting a foodborne bacterial infection
Contaminated food and water can be a source of bacterial infections. Be keen on the source of your food, and how it is prepared. This will help you minimize chances of getting foodborne bacterial infection.
You can do this by avoiding drinking raw milk, washing hands, and cooking foods to a safe internal temperature.
Use antibiotics only as prescribed by your doctor
Sometime people have the tendency of stopping to take medication once they feel better. For antibiotics, it is strongly adviced to take the full dose of prescribed medicines, even when symptoms disappear or you feel better.
Take the prescribed daily dosage, and complete the entire course of treatment.
Avoid taking leftover antibiotics for a later illness
Avoid self-treatment. Many people who have followed this path have ended up developing resistance and/or complications simply because they took the wrong medicines for a certain infection.
Taking antibiotics without advice from a medical professional is hazardous to your life. They may not be the correct antibiotic and would not be a full course of treatment.
Avoid taking antibiotics prescribed for another person
By all means, avoid taking medications prescribed for another person. This not only applies to antibiotics but to all medicines.
Different people are given medicines differently depending on various parameters such as body size and state of vital body organs. This is why you should not take medicines prescribed for another person lest you risk damaging your body organs such as liver, kidney ontop of building resitance against antibiotics.
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