Think Twice. Seek Advice: World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13-19 November 2017

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Think Twice. Seek Advice: World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13-19 November 2017

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.
Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.
Prevention and control 
Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control. Steps can be taken at all levels of society to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance.

Individuals
  • To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, individuals can:
  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional.
  • Never demand antibiotics if your health worker says you don’t need them.
  • Always follow your health worker’s advice when using antibiotics.
  • Never share or use leftover antibiotics.
  • Prevent infections by regularly by washing hands, preparing food hygienically, avoiding close contact with sick people, practising safer sex, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
Read also:  Bangkok Statement on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion (Safety 2018)
Policy makers
  • To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, policy makers can:
  • Ensure a robust national action plan to tackle antibiotic resistance is in place.
  • Improve surveillance of antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Strengthen policies, programmes, and implementation of infection prevention and control measures.
  • Regulate and promote the appropriate use and disposal of quality medicines.
  • Make information available on the impact of antibiotic resistance.
Health professionals
  • To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, health professionals can:
  • Prevent infections by ensuring your hands, instruments, and environment are clean.
  • Only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are needed, according to current guidelines.
  • Report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams.
  • Talk to your patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse.
  • Talk to your patients about preventing infections (for example, vaccination, hand washing, safer sex, and covering nose and mouth when sneezing).

Think Twice. Seek Advice: World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13-19 November 2017

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