The days of visiting a health care provider for a standard antibiotic are over, or will soon be. According to the CDC, an astounding two million people every year are diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant strain of disease, and a full 23,000 of them die as a result. The main cause? Improper use of antibiotics, or prescribing them when unnecessary. In fact, it is been calculated 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 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.”
Typically, individuals would request an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection, and physicians would comply, even though antibiotics are not effective in treating viral infections. The shift now is for physicians to suggest over-the-counter treatments, together with a delayed prescription – to be filled at a later date if symptoms persist.
For seniors, it’s particularly crucial to make sure antibiotics are prescribed only once truly warranted, in order to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. The CDC advises taking the following actions:
- Precautionary measures. Receive vaccines for flu, pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, varicella/zoster meningococcal, and hepatitis, as appropriate. Be thorough in personal hygiene, such as thorough hand-washing routinely during the day, and consistently prior to consuming food and following utilizing the toilet. And, avoid close contact with other people who are sick.
- Decrease antibiotic use. It’s essential that we all alter our mindset with regards to the utilization of antibiotics, knowing that while they are without a doubt invaluable under particular situations, they should be avoided for typical viral infections. Speak with the physician to weigh the pros and cons when an antibiotic is recommended.
- Make certain that any problems are documented. In case you do end up with antibiotic resistance, make certain to have the doctor report it. The CDC is amassing data to track information on antibiotic-resistant infections, factors behind those infections, and risk factors, so that they can help prevent or lower the quantity of incidents.
Development of new antibiotics and diagnostic tests is a continuing process in order to 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 can all do our part to help address this harmful trend! Contact Inspired Home Care, a dedicated provider of home care in Wilmette and the surrounding communities, for further information on how we can help, such by through accompanying older adults to medical appointments and to receive vaccinations, making sure that the home environment is tidy and sanitary, providing nutritious meals to improve overall health, and much more. Give us a call at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our home care in Wilmette and nearby areas and how we can keep the seniors you love healthy and thriving!