The times of visiting a health care provider for a routine antibiotic are past, or will soon be. As reported by the CDC, an astounding two million people annually are told they have 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 unnecessary. As a matter of fact, it is been estimated that as many as half of all prescribed antibiotics are not necessary and unhelpful.
According to Lauri Hicks, DO, medical epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and also 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.”
Over the years, individuals would ask for an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection, and physicians would agree, despite the fact that antibiotics are not effective in managing viral infections. The shift now is for doctors to recommend over-the-counter treatments, together with a delayed prescription – to be filled at a later date if symptoms continue.
For older adults, it is especially crucial to ensure proper antibiotics use and to ensure they are taken only when truly warranted, in order to prevent antibiotic resistance. The CDC recommends taking the following actions:
- Precautionary measures. Get vaccines for flu, pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, varicella/zoster meningococcal, and hepatitis, as recommended. Be thorough in personal hygiene, such as thorough hand-washing routinely each day, and always before consuming food and immediately following utilizing the bathroom. And, steer clear from close contact with other people who are sick.
- Lessen antibiotic use. It is crucial that we all change our mindset concerning the usage of antibiotics, understanding that while they’re most certainly effective under specific situations, they should be eliminated for everyday viral infections. Consult with your doctor to examine the advantages and downsides when an antibiotic is recommended.
- Always make sure any issues are reported. Should you suffer from antibiotic-resistance, make certain to have your physician report it. The CDC is amassing data to record information on antibiotic-resistant infections, causes of those infections, and risk factors, in order to assist in preventing or decreasing the amount of occurrences.
Development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tests is a continuous process to attempt to stay ahead of resistant bacteria. Dr. Michael Bell, deputy director of 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 slow this harmful trend! Email or call Absolute Companion Care for further information about how our compassionate caregivers in Baltimore can help. Let our highly-trained care team accompany cherished older adults to medical appointments to receive vaccinations, help ensure the household environment is clean and sanitary, provide healthy meals to increase health and wellbeing, and more. Give us a call at 410-357-9640 to keep the older adults you love healthy and thriving!