The days of visiting the doctor for a routine antibiotic are over, or should be soon. As reported by the CDC, an astounding 2 million people every single year are identified as having an antibiotic-resistant strain of disease, and a full 23,000 of them die as a consequence. What’s causing it? Over-prescribing of antibiotics, or prescribing them when inappropriate. Truth be told, it is been calculated that as much has half of all prescribed antibiotics are not necessary or helpful.
According to Lauri Hicks, DO, medical epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and medical director for the Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program, “The reasons for this high frequency of inappropriate prescribing are complex. The most common justifications are diagnostic uncertainty, severe illness, and concern for patient satisfaction during their visit.”
Historically, patients would ask for an antibiotic for an upper respiratory illness, and health care professionals would comply, even though antibiotics are not effective in relieving viral infections. The switch now is for doctors to advise people to take over-the-counter meds, along with providing a delayed prescription – to be filled at a later date if signs and symptoms continue.
For the elderly, it is particularly crucial to guarantee antibiotics are prescribed only once truly warranted, in order to protect against antibiotic resistance. The CDC recommends taking the following actions:
- Precautionary measures. Receive vaccines for influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, varicella/zoster meningococcal, and hepatitis, as recommended. Be diligent in personal hygiene, such as fastidious hand-washing repeatedly each day, and always prior to consuming food and after using the toilet. And, avoid close contact with other individuals who are sick.
- Cut back on antibiotic use. It is imperative that we all revise our mindset relating to the use of antibiotics, knowing that while they’re unquestionably beneficial under particular situations, they must be eliminated for normal viral infections. Talk with the doctor to weigh the advantages and disadvantages when an antibiotic is recommended.
- Ensure any complications are documented. If you do experience antibiotic-resistance, make sure to have the doctor report it. The CDC is amassing data to record information on antibiotic-resistant infections, factors behind those infections, and risk factors, with the intention to help prevent or lower the amount of incidents.
Development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tests is an ongoing process to attempt to stay ahead of resistant bacteria. Dr. Michael Bell, deputy director for the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, shares, “We are approaching a cliff. If we don’t take steps to slow or stop drug resistance, we will fall back to a time when simple infections killed people.”
We can easily all do our part to help counter this harmful trend! Connect with Anthem Home Care, a provider of senior home care in Portland and surrounding communities, for additional information on how we can help, such as through accompanying senior loved ones to healthcare appointments and to receive vaccinations, by making sure that the home environment is clean and sanitary, by providing nutritious meals to increase overall health, and much more. Give us a call at 361-643-2323 to learn more about our senior home care in Portland and the surrounding areas!