Avoiding Antibiotic Resistance

Photo: Michelle Punton - Infection Control Nurse
Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Portland people can play their part in reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics are extremely important to treat infections; without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery, the treatment of life threatening illnesses and chemotherapy for treating cancer would be compromised. When bacterial infections become resistant to antibiotics, more potent antibiotics are required to treat infections. The cost of health care for patients with resistant infections is higher than care for patients with non-resistant infections due to longer duration of illness, additional diagnostic tests and use of more expensive drugs.

However, antibiotic resistance is a major issue not only in Australia but in every country around the world. It results from people taking antibiotics when they're not required.

PDH infection control nurse Michelle Punton said we all need to play our part in protecting these important medicines, to help reduce the risks of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics should not be your first port of call and are not always the answer,” Ms Punton said.  Bacteria and viruses are two different types of germs which cause illness. It is important that your doctor determines if your illness is bacterial or viral in order to provide the appropriate treatment. Viruses cause the influenza and common cold; antibiotics do not kill these types of infections. Antibiotics do not kill viruses, make you feel better or stop other people from catching your virus. Bacteria causes ear infections, wound infections, skin infection and some types of pneumonia. In this instance antibiotics will kill bacterial infections.

Antibiotic resistance is everyone's responsibility, Ms Punton said. To prevent antibiotic resistance, take the full course of antibiotic; do not take another persons antibiotics and only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary.

"Doctors will only prescribe antibiotics to kill bacterial germs; please do not be offended if your doctor does not prescribe unnecessary antibiotics to treat your illness. Antibiotic resistance is everyone’s responsibility.

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