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Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

Antibiotics are one of the biggest breakthroughs in the medicine world and have helped save many lives. However, we’re at risk of being plunged back into the dark ages of medicine where routine infections become deadly again as a result of people squandering this precious resource.

Public Health England recently carried out a study where they pulled together all the data on antibiotic prescribing and found a clear link between areas of high prescribing and resistant bacteria.

Despite warnings and campaigns, they found a 6% increase in prescriptions between 2010 and 2013. It’s likely that half of these prescriptions are inappropriate. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections but time and time again they’re needlessly being prescribed to patients ‘just in case’. There was also a 12% increase in the number of bacteria resistant E.coli infections.

The more we use antibiotics the less effective they become as bacteria become resistant. Can you imagine a world without antibiotics? Chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies has warned that we could be facing a possible apocalypse.
At the moment, 1% of bacteria are extremely resistant to multiple drugs which mean the majority of antibiotics that are available won’t work. In India, the situation is a lot worse where they’re unable to effectively treat 10% to 20% of individuals with antibiotics which is really worrying. If something isn’t done about the overuse of antibiotics then England could be heading the same way.

What’s urgently needed is rapid tests to determine whether or not a patient requires antibiotics. Current tests take 36 or more hours which is too long as doctors are under pressure to treat patients quicker. Hopefully, this will come into play soon and drastically cut down on the number of prescriptions.

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