Why you should stop asking for unnecessary antibiotics

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Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi, with the World Health Organization describing the issue as "an increasingly serious threat" to public health.

"Antibiotic resistance is not a distant threat, but is in fact one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today," Professor Paul Cosford said in a statement. "Taking antibiotics when you don't need them puts you and your family at risk of developing infections which in turn cannot be easily treated with antibiotics.

"Without urgent action from all of us, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become much riskier."

It is estimated that thousands die each year as a result of drug-resistant infections, while some case of bloodstream E. coli infections now cannot be treated with first-choice antibiotics.

While antibiotics are essential in cases of sepsis, pneumonia and other severe infections, medical experts remind people that other illnesses such as coughs and bronchitis can clear up on their own.

"Without effective antibiotics, minor infections could become deadly and many medical advances could be at risk - surgery, chemotherapy and caesareans could become simply too dangerous," added Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sally Davies. "But reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics can help us stay ahead of superbugs. The public has a critical role to play and can help by taking collective action."

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