The times of visiting the doctor for a standard antibiotic are past, or should be soon. According to the CDC, an astounding two million people every year are informed they have an antibiotic resistant infection, and a staggering 23,000 of them die as a result. The cause? Over-prescribing of antibiotics, or prescribing them when inappropriate. Truth be told, it’s been calculated that as many as half of all prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary 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, patients would request an antibiotic for an upper respiratory illness, and physicians would agree, despite the fact that antibiotics are ineffective in managing viral infections. The shift now is for physicians to advise over-the-counter medications, together with a delayed prescription – to be filled later on if symptoms persist.
For older adults, it’s especially imperative to ensure antibiotics are prescribed only when truly warranted, in order to protect against antibiotic resistance. The CDC advises taking the preceding actions:
- Precautionary measures. Obtain vaccines for flu, pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, varicella/zoster meningococcal, and hepatitis, as appropriate. Be persistent in personal hygiene, such as careful hand-washing routinely during the day, and always before eating and immediately after using the restroom. And, try to avoid close contact with other individuals who are sick.
- Lessen antibiotic use. It’s crucial that we all alter our mindset concerning the usage of antibiotics, knowing that while they’re unquestionably invaluable under particular instances, they must be eliminated for normal viral infections. Consult with your doctor to examine the advantages and downsides when an antibiotic is recommended.
- Ensure any complications are reported. In the event you end up with antibiotic-resistance, make certain to have your doctor report it. The CDC is collecting data to trace information about antibiotic-resistant infections, reasons for those infections, and risk factors, in an effort to assist in preventing or lower the amount of occurrences.
Development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tests is a continuous process to try and stay in front 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 should all do our part to help counter this dangerous trend! Get in touch with Enhanced Home Care, the dementia care Kansas City experts, for additional information about how we can help. For example, let our trained caregivers help by accompanying older adults to healthcare appointments and to receive vaccinations, by making sure that the household environment is tidy and sanitary, by preparing nutritionally beneficial meals to optimize health and wellness, and more. Reach out to us at 913-327-0000 to learn more about our home care services in your area and how we can help keep the seniors you adore healthy and thriving!