Antibiotics are drugs that combat with infections caused by bacteria in human as well as in animals. The term “antibiotic” formerly used for the natural compounds that have the ability to kill bacteria while the term “antimicrobial” refers to both natural and synthetic compounds; however, most of the people used “antibiotic” to mention the both. Since last 70 years, antibiotics have been used to treat patients suffered from infectious diseases.

Antibiotic resistance is responsible for those illnesses that were once treatable with antibiotics and now are becoming more dangerous and untreatable. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can spread to the community by infecting family members, co-workers, and schoolmates. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are very difficult and costly to treat. In some cases, the antibiotic resistant infections may lead to serious disability or even death. Some people think a person has become resistant to the particular antibiotic. It is the bacteria, not the person who has become resistant to that drug.

Antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more prevalent due to excessive use and misuse of antibiotic. Every time a person takes a medicine sensitive bacteria get killed leaving behind the resistant ones. That’s how the repetitive use of antibiotics is responsible for increasing the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Antibiotics do not show effectiveness against viral infections such as flu, common cold, bronchitis, some sore throat and ear infections. Overuse of antibiotics for these infections can show how the widespread use of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance.

Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics by several ways. Some bacteria push antibiotics back outside the bacteria and make the antibiotic ineffective. Others can neutralize the antibiotics in such a way to make them harmless for bacteria. Bacteria can also become resistant by making changes in their genetic material via mutations. Moreover, studies have shown that there are no health benefits for consumers of soap having antibacterial ingredients. As a result, FDA proposed a rule in December 2013 for the manufacturers to submit the data as evidence in favor of safety and efficacy of antibacterial soaps. This proposed rule is not applicable to hand sanitizers, wipes, or antibacterial products used in healthcare settings.

Some practices can help to prevent antibiotic resistance such as: take prescribed antibiotic exactly in the same amount of health care professional suggests, never use leftover medicine, never skip doses without your healthcare professional, never take an antibiotic for viral infections such as flu and cold, never save the antibiotic for the next time use, never take antibiotic that has been prescribed for someone else, never force your healthcare professional to prescribe an antibiotic.

Author: Dr. M. Ashraf (Assistant Professor) Danish Mehmood and Anas Muneer (M.Phil Microbiology)