Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a serious health concern affecting the general public. It can be transferred from patient to patient or from person to person. Some bacteria are tougher to treat as they become impervious to common antibiotics. Careful infection control methods and good personal hygiene are important. Doctors need to be more cautious of their prescribing of antibiotics to patients. This will help curb the onset of more antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains.
Bacteria’s Resistance to Antibiotics
When treating a disease or illness, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to eradicate bacteria. These medicines are the pillars of human health by effectively treating diseases. Some bacteria have evolved into modern forms. They are now immune to common antibiotics.
This has become a serious problem. Bacteria has learned to adapt, survive and thrive despite the use of an antibiotic. Multi-resistant organisms have also emerged. These are capable of resisting not just one but many antibiotics.
We need to take some serious actions to stop the problem from escalating further. Infection control and proper hygiene are important to prevent the spread of such bacteria. Patients need to follow the proper use of prescribed antibiotics. For the doctors, they must reduce the overprescribing and unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics.
Bacteria as a Major Public Health Issue
In the past, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Staphylococcus aureus are treated using benzyl penicillin. Now, these bacteria have developed a certain kind of resistance to such medication.
Some bacteria have become impervious to almost all available antibiotics. These include the Enterobacteriaceae gut bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Enterococcus and Staphylococcus aureus.
Ways to Stop Antibiotic Resistance
The fight to stop antibiotic resistance requires many players. As leaders of the medical world, doctors need to step up and spearhead this global effort. First, they have to reduce the over-prescribing and useless prescribing of antibiotic medications. They should not give antibiotics to treat diseases wherein they are not needed. Do not prescribe antibiotics to viral disease patients. These medications are ineffective against viruses.
Patients need to finish the whole course of prescribed antibiotics. This will help ensure that the medicines are completely effective. Not finishing the entire course would do nothing good. It will only lead to antibiotic resistance.
Proper hygiene is very important to curb the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Use awareness campaigns to relay important information. The public can learn about the importance of hand-washing and infection control procedures.
How Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Are Transmitted in Hospitals
Bacteria can be passed from one individual to another. This can happen when there is contact with contaminated hands. Because of this, hospital staff members should always keep their hands clean. Do not touch possible contaminated surfaces. This is also true for call bells, over-bed tables and door handles. Avoid contaminated equipment like blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes.
Practice Standard Precautions in Hospitals
Health care facilities and hospitals need to establish standard precautions. These can help deliver fundamental infection control to everyone. Work practices should include aseptic techniques and other precautions. These would help cut the transfer of infection from one individual to another.
Proper disposal and handling of clinical waste and sharp tools are also relevant. Hospital staff should wear goggles, masks, gowns, gloves and other barrier equipment.
Everyone should practice good personal hygiene. A good example is the use of hand rub solutions that are alcohol-based. Also, wash hands before and after having contact with a patient.
Ways to Stop the Spread of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in a Community Setting
The washing of hands should be a standard practice in all communities. Do this when handling food, changing diapers or after going to the toilet. Cover your mouth and nose whenever you sneeze or cough. Use tissue paper when wiping or blowing your nose. Dispose of used tissues to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Do not just spit anywhere you want. Make it a habit to spit at the right places such as in the sinks or bathrooms. If you are not feeling well, stay at home to rest and take your medications.
When the kids are sick, never send them to school or daycare so as not to infect other children. However, if your sickness takes longer than usual, consult your doctor and ask for the right medicine. Also, do not take use items that are marketed as antimicrobial or antibacterial. They should only be used when prescribed by a doctor or a health professional.
The Most Hazardous Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
Antibiotic resistance has many global implications. It is fast becoming a major issue in the modern world. Developing new antibiotics is hard and slow. Here is a quick look at the most dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria today.
This bacteria causes major diseases such as flesh eating disease, meningitis and pneumonia. This superbug is also known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Initially documented in 1949, Burkholderia cepacia is highly risky to humans. It attacks patients with cystic fibrosis and other preexisting lung conditions. Burkholderia cepacia can survive in extreme conditions so it also has demonstrated high resistance levels to antibiotics. This is also a major cause of pneumonia.
First recorded in 1872, this bacteria has a medium antibiotic resistance. Similar to Burkholderia cepacia, it also causes various infections like pneumonia. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is quick to adapt and mutate to fight off the effects of antibiotics. It is opportunistic due to its tendency to infect people with critical illnesses.
Clostridium difficile is a superbug that is present in hospitals worldwide. This antibiotic resistant bacteria is a major cause of diarrhoea. When left untreated, it may lead to colon complications. First recorded in 1935, it has already led to a significant mortality worldwide.
Initially recorded in 1886, Klebsiella pneumoniae is resistant to various antibiotics. It can cause serious diseases like pneumonia and other lung infections. It usually affects older and middle-aged men with weak immune systems.
Escherichia coli was recorded first in 1895. Most strains are harmless but some can be fatal. It has caused many serious diseases including meningitis and urinary tract infection. It has also caused severe food poisoning and diarrhea. This bacteria also has a high antibiotic resistance rate.