World Antimicrobial Resistance Week is recognized each year from November 18th to the 24th. This annual global campaign looks to raise awareness about what antimicrobial resistance is and how to prevent it. The theme of this year’s campaign is “preventing antimicrobial resistance together.” The World Health Organization is calling on all sectors to practice antimicrobial stewardship and work towards preserving the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites develop resistance to drugs that were once effective in treating infections. This phenomenon poses a significant threat to global health, as it makes it harder to treat infections and increases the risk of complications and even fatalities. The excessive or improper use of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals, is a major contributor to the development of antimicrobial resistance. Although it is critical that antimicrobials are prescribed appropriately, it is equally as important to take preventative measures are taken to decrease the incidence of infections from occurring.
Antimicrobial stewardship is a comprehensive approach aimed at optimizing the use of antimicrobial drugs to ensure their effectiveness while minimizing the risk of antimicrobial resistance. It involves a coordinated effort by healthcare professionals, policymakers, and patients like yourself. Here’s how you can support this vital cause:
- Educate Yourself: Learn about the proper use of antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics. Understand that antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a healthcare provider for bacterial infections. Viral infections, such as the common cold or flu, will not respond to antibiotics.
- Follow Medical Advice: Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when taking antimicrobial medications. Finish the entire prescribed course of medicine, even if you start feeling better, to prevent the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
- Hand Hygiene: Proper handwashing is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent infections from occurring in the first place. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after using the restroom.
- Vaccinations: Stay up to date with vaccinations, as they help prevent infections that may require antimicrobial treatment. These infections include tetanus, pneumonia, and influenza.
- Engage with Your Pharmacist: Your PharmaChoice Pharmacist is a valuable resource and a medication expert. Reach out to them with any questions you have about antimicrobial agents and learn what you can do to help prevent antimicrobial resistance from developing.
This World Antimicrobial Resistance Week, let us remember that preventing antimicrobial resistance is a collective effort. By being informed and taking responsible actions, you can make a significant impact on reducing the spread of drug-resistant infections.
Talk to your PharmaChoice Pharmacist today about safe and effective medication use. Together, we can preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs and safeguard our health for generations to come.