EUROPEAN ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS DAY
On November 18th, European Antibiotic Awareness Day encourages the responsible use of antibiotics. The day also aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance.
The invention of antibiotics is always listed as one of the greatest medical discoveries ever. People could now cure once-feared bacterial infections. In 1929, Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic. The drug became widely popular after WWII. Some statistics suggest this “miracle drug” saved an estimated 200 million lives. Penicillin is also partly responsible for the prosperity that people experienced in developed countries around this time.
Today, there are over 100 types of antibiotics. On the one hand, it’s good news that antibiotics can cure so many different kinds of infections. On the one hand, antibiotics do effectively treat many different kinds of infections. However, on the other hand, people have become dependent on antibiotics. As a result, some people have become resistant to antibiotics. Superbugs have also made an appearance and are growing in number. These types of bacteria are highly resistant to antibiotics. The latest statistics show that 33,000 people a year die from an infection because of antibiotic resistance. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics accelerate resistance strains. Implementing solutions now will help curb the growing problem.
Ways to Decrease Antibiotic Dependence
- Only use antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional.
- Never demand antibiotics if your doctor says you don’t need them.
- Never share your leftover antibiotics with anyone else.
- Prevent infections naturally by washing hands and keeping a distance from sick people.
- Prepare food correctly.
- Choose foods that are not made with antibiotics.
Healthcare professionals are encouraged to do their part as well to reduce antibiotic resistance. They should only prescribe antibiotics when necessary. They should also do all they can to avoid the spread of infection in their environment and report antibiotic-resistant infections.
HOW TO OBSERVE #EuropeanAntibioticAwarenessDay
On this day, health care organizations and professionals throughout Europe hold events to educate the public on the proper use of antibiotics. To participate:
- Learn the difference between viral infections and bacterial infections.
- Research different kinds of antibiotics and the proper way to take them.
- Watch the documentary Resistance which discusses antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
- Learn how to prevent infections and prepare food properly.
Also, be sure to share this day on social media with #EuropeanAntibioticAwarenessDay.
EUROPEAN ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS DAY HISTORY
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control established European Antibiotic Awareness Day in 2008. They chose November 18th, as it coincides with the World Health Organization’s antibiotics awareness week. This week is held each year from November 13-19.
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