HMC experts warn against incorrect use of antibiotics
In recognition of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week from November 18 to 24, experts at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are warning the public against the incorrect use of antibiotics.
The experts have highlighted that the incorrect use, especially the overuse, of antibiotics is making a growing number of infections harder to treat.
The issue of antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance has been recognized worldwide as one of the greatest threats to human health, animal health, food security, and development.
“Antibiotics are powerful medicines that are used to treat or prevent infections. They are an essential part of many patients’ treatment plans as they work by stopping the growth of bacteria that may be causing a problem in the body,” said Dr Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director of HMC’s Communicable Disease Center.
“However, when antibiotics are used incorrectly, they can become less effective,” she underlined.
This is known as antibiotic or antimicrobial resistance, she explained adding, “Incorrect use of antibiotics, especially overuse, is making it harder to treat many infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and salmonellosis, as the antibiotics are becoming less effective.”
“In recent years antibiotic resistance has risen to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, and Qatar is no different. Every day, our clinicians are witnessing the damaging effects of antibiotic resistance which threaten our ability to treat common infectious diseases and as we continue to battle COVID-19, it is important to take strong steps now, both here in Qatar and internationally,” Dr Al Maslamani said.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020— مؤسسة حمد الطبية (@HMC_Qatar) November 19, 2020
Unite to prevent antimicrobial resistance pic.twitter.com/anRZKK6lRN
According to Dr. Hisham Ziglam, Senior Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Stewardship Lead at HMC, most illnesses are caused by two kinds of germs, bacteria, or viruses.
“Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections only – they cannot cure viral infections. Bacteria are the cause of issues such as sore throat, some types of pneumonia, and sinus infections, while viral infections include common colds, most coughs, and the flu,” Dr Zigham said.
“It is vitally important that the public understand that using antibiotics for a viral infection will not cure the infection, help you feel better, or prevent others from catching your illness,” he stressed.
HMC is seeking to educate both the public and healthcare professionals about antibiotic resistance throughout World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.
HMC is also advising the community on how to take antibiotics responsibly and what steps they can take to reduce antimicrobial resistance.
HMC offers the following advice to people on the responsible use of antibiotics:
- Inform your physician of any allergies you have prior to receiving any antibiotics.
- Women should inform their doctor if they are pregnant.
- Be sure to take the complete course of antibiotics prescribed according to the physician's instructions, even if you feel better.
- Never take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
- Do not reuse any of your old prescriptions.
- Store antibiotics as instructed.
- Continue to practice strict hand hygiene and other infection control measures.
“It is essential that people understand that if they regularly misuse antibiotics, they are putting their health at risk, because when they really need antibiotics for a serious condition, they may not work effectively,” Dr Ziglam emphasized.
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