Health & Wellness

World Health Day: Start taking care of your health from today!

This Year's World Health Day focuses on the growing threat of potentially deadly bacteria developing resistance to antimicrobial drugs - especially to antibiotics.

We live in an era of medical breakthroughs
with new wonder drugs available to treat conditions that a few decades ago, or even a few years ago in the case of HIV/AIDS, would have proved fatal. For World Health Day 2011, WHO has launched a worldwide campaign to safeguard these medicines for future generations. Antimicrobial resistance and its global spread threaten the continued effectiveness of many medicines used today to treat the sick, while at the same time it risks jeopardizing important advances being made against major infectious killers.

"Antimicrobial resistance and its global spread” is the theme of today’s World Health Day. It focuses on the need for governments and stakeholders to implement the policies and practices needed to prevent and counter the emergence of highly resistant microorganisms. When infections caused by resistant microorganisms fail to respond to standard treatments, including antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines - also known as drug resistance - this may result in prolonged illness and greater risk of death.

Many of the drug treatment breakthroughs of the last century could be lost through the spread of antimicrobial resistance. As a result, many infectious diseases may one day become uncontrollable and could rapidly spread throughout the world. WHO plans to bring attention to the urgent need to combat drug resistance by strengthening measures to address the threat.

Popping antibiotics indiscriminately results in the bacteria becoming resistant to the first line of antibiotics, forcing doctors to prescribe stronger, more toxic and more expensive drugs to treat the disease. The drugs needed to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, for example, are 100 times more expensive than standard drugs. Over-the-counter sales of antibiotics must be stopped and the use of antibiotics as growth-promoters in livestock needs to be curtailed. In all of this, the government, the medical fraternity, and the public must play their part.

Following are tips for antibiotic use to preserve them as a valuable therapeutic tool:
    * Take antibiotics for bacterial infections only.
    * Taking an antibiotic for viral infections like cold or flu will not cure the infection or protect other individuals from catching the infection.
    * Take the antibiotic exactly as it has been prescribed.
    * Do not skip doses. Complete the course even if you are feeling better.
    * Do not use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics are specific for different infections.
    * Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
    * Do not pressurize your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic. Behavioral analyses show that most often doctors give in to pressure from patients and prescribe antibiotics because they fear that they will lose their patients.
    * Do not save antibiotics for next illness.
    * Prevent infections through good hand washing.
    * Prevent your children from getting certain type of illnesses by vaccinating them.

Tags: world health day 2011 slogan, world health day 2011 theme, world health day 2010 slogan

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