Antibiotic resistance occurs when antibiotic levels that would normally prevent the growth of or kill a particular bacterium become ineffective because of a change in the bacterium. An antibiotic is no longer clinically effective when this occurs at a therapeutic dose for treatment of infection.

Antibiotic Resistance Mechanism

Resistance to antimicrobial agents typically occurs as a result of four main mechanisms which includes;

  • Enzymatic inactivation of the drug by the bacteria
  • Alteration of target sites on the bacteria
  • Reduced cellular uptake of the drug by the bacteria
  • Extrusion by efflux of the antibiotic molecule by the bacteria.

Recently, there has been an increase in the cases of resistance of bacterial organisms to antibiotics.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. And at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

In November 2012, the European Centre for disease prevention and control estimated that about 25,000 people die each year in the European Union from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

Bacteria that belongs to the normal flora in humans become indiscriminately exposed to antibiotic compounds every time you use antibiotics. Therefore, the most significant resistance has been emerging among these microorganisms. People do not need about 50% of all the antibiotics prescribed for them. Sometimes, people do not get effective prescriptions.

It is important you get the right prescriptions and dosage for bacterial infections. You should complete the dosage on your drug prescription. This will help avoid resistance to the drug especially during future use. It is important you follow the instruction on how and when to take your antibiotics. You should not take some antibiotics with milk or alcohol. Some should be taken on either empty or full stomach.

Antibiotics should not be abused and should be taken based on your medical practitioner’s advice.

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Learn More About Antibiotics

Antibiotics are antimicrobials doctors use in the treatment and prevention of bacterial diseases. Antibiotics can either kill or inhibit the growth of a bacterium.

November 13-19 is antibiotics awareness week. The theme for this year is ‘Misuse of antibiotics puts us all at risk’. During this time there is a public awareness about antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescription and use.

Alexander Flemming discovered antibiotics in 1928 when he identified penicillin. He discovered that it inhibited the growth of some bacteria. Fleming believed in its antibacterial properties and possible use for chemotherapy. In 1942, Abraham proposed the chemical structure of penicillin. Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin then later confirmed it in 1945.

Other antibiotics have been formed since the discovery of penicillin. Antibiotics work by interfering with one of the processes vital to the survival of invading bacteria, such as the formation or integrity of the cell wall. Dyes may be used to synthesize antibiotics.

Doctors prescribe antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial organisms. However, doctors use it for the treatment of some protozoans too. Antibiotics are ineffective in the treatment of viral infections such as common cold, flu. When a doctor detects a bacterial infection, doctors initially prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic before applying the sensitive antibiotic detected from the cultured causative organism.

Antibiotics Administration Methods

Doctors and patients administer antibiotics through these various routes;

  • Orally; by mouth
  • Intravenous; through the vein
  • Intramuscular; through the muscle
  • Intraosseous; through the bone
  • Intraperitoneally; through the peritoneum
  • Into the eyes

Finally, antibiotics have some side effects and the common ones include; diarrhoea, feeling sick and fungal infection in the mouth or vagina. Some rare side effects include; kidney stones, deafness, abnormal blood clot. Therefore, be very careful when you use antibiotics. Consult your doctor frequently.


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