Infectious diseases claimed the lives of about one in every 100 U.S. residents per year as late as 1900 but only about one in every 300 in 1990. Although antimicrobial agents still don’t save all patients, they have drastically lowered the death rate from infectious diseases.
A period of increased infectious diseases could return, however, if patients and the medical community fail to protect the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents. As many pathogens develop resistance to available antimicrobial drugs, our ability to fight infectious diseases is dwindling.
Simple measures to limit drug resistance and safeguard our drugs include:
- Avoid indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other antimicrobials. Antimicrobials should be employed only when necessary. Don’t demand them from your physician.
- Antimicrobials should be taken according to the time frame given by a physician or health care professional. When given antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed and complete the full course of treatment; do not hoard pills for later use.
- Don’t expose antimicrobials to high temperatures whilst in storage since this alters their chemical composition and affect the efficacy of the drugs.
- Expired antimicrobials must be disposed of carefully. Don’t just leave expired drugs around.
Antimicrobial resistance decreases drug effectiveness and increases infectious disease fatality. Drug resistance, also, increases the cost of treating infectious diseases. Besides, the cost of producing anti-resistant drugs keeps rising. It is, therefore, vital that we protect the antimicrobials we have around.
Always keep in mind that the protection of our drugs begins with YOU!