The 2017 theme for International Infection Prevention Week is Antibiotic Resistance. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of a medicine to which they were once sensitive. Thus this medicine is unable to treat and cure an infection caused by that bacterium. Antibiotic resistance is rising in all parts of the world. Tuberculosis and gonorrhea are some of the infections that are becoming harder to treat. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics have made them become less effective. Poor infection prevention and control also add to this problem.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance. To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance:
- Only use antibiotics prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Never demand antibiotics if your health provider says you don't need them.
- Take antibiotics as directed by your health care provider.
- Never share or use leftover antibiotics.
You can also avoid the need of antibiotics by preventing infections. Prevent infections by:
Washing your hands. Hand-washing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself from germs and most infections. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly before preparing or eating food, after coughing or sneezing, after changing a diaper, and after using the toilet. If you don't have soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.
Getting vaccinated. Vaccination is your best line of defense for many diseases such as measles and chickenpox. Vaccines are not only for children! Adults still need to be routinely vaccinated to prevent some illnesses, such as tetanus and the flu. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you and your family's vaccines are up-to-date.
Keeping food safe. Proper handling and cooking of food is also important to make sure you stay healthy. Don't eat any cooked food that has been left at room temperature for two hours or more. Perishable food should be refrigerated or frozen if it will not be promptly used. Cook foods to proper temperatures and use a food thermometer to make sure food is at a safe internal temperature. Also, avoid food that has been handled or prepared with unwashed hands.
Practicing safer sex. Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). You should also limit your number of sex partners and talk with your partner about their status and getting tested. Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested.
For more information, visit: www.bphc.org/IDB or http://www.apic.org/