Things you should know about antimicrobial resistance and covid-19 Things you should know about antimicrobial resistance and covid-19

The importance of antibiotics can’t be underestimated. Part of the reason our life expectancy has increased is due to the invention of antibiotics. They are life-saving medications, curing many diseases that for centuries had potentially been a death sentence.

Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections and work by killing off harmful bacteria and/or preventing them from multiplying and spreading. They are prescribed to treat ailments like pneumonia, post-surgical infections, sepsis, and other bacterial infections.

As important as antibiotics are, however, many people have become overly reliant on them. Because they are considered a safe and standard medication in healthcare, they are routinely prescribed when they aren’t needed. They are sometimes even prescribed to treat minor coughs, earaches, and sore throats when they may have little or no effect.

Because so much of the population believes antibiotics can treat minor illnesses, they may expect and even demand antibiotics from their healthcare providers whenever they are sick. The NHS has been working hard on raising awareness and making sure patients, doctors, and other medical professionals are informed about when antibiotics are useful and when they aren’t. Using antibiotics when they aren’t needed isn’t only a waste but also dangerous.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Over-prescription of antibiotics increases the risk of a medical phenomenon known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR is one of the biggest public health concerns worldwide. The more people take antibiotics, the more bacteria will evolve and adapt to survive any threats antibiotics once posed.

AMR occurs when the organisms that cause infections evolve and adapt enough to survive treatments. Resistance is natural for all living organisms, including bacteria, but can be accelerated by outside factors. For AMR, it’s the misuse of antibiotics. Over the decades, as prescriptions for antibiotics were prescribed so freely, bacteria had ample opportunity to evolve and adapt.

The reason AMR is so worrying is that our bodies need antibiotics to be effective so that they can fight off potentially dangerous infections. This is especially true for people with compromised immune systems, those who have recently had surgery or an organ transplant, and those who are going through cancer treatment. If antibiotics aren’t effective, even relatively minor procedures could become more high-risk.

Apart from patients, the doctors are also responsible. Doctors prescribe antibiotics when they aren’t needed or when they aren’t sure what a patient is suffering from. Taking antibiotics for longer than is needed is another contributing factor to AMR.

So whole antibiotics are a vital medical resource, they can’t cure all that ails you- including Covid-19. Even though antibiotics aren’t useful in the treatment of covid-19, AMR and covid-19 have become intertwined.

Here are 5 facts you should know about Covid-19 and AMR.

Overuse of antibiotics has caused an increase in antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

The more that antibiotics are prescribed when they aren’t needed, the less life-saving they become. People should only take antibiotics when they are absolutely necessary to avoid more bacteria becoming resistant.

Antibiotics Can’t Treat Covid-19

Antibiotics only work at treating bacterial infections. Since Covid-19 is a virus, antibiotics won’t have any therapeutic benefit to patients experiencing the symptoms of Covid-19. This is also why antibiotics aren’t used to treat colds and flus.

Antibiotics Are Only Used if a Covid-19 Patient has a Secondary Infection

If a patient has developed a bacterial infection on top of their viral infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the secondary infection to give your body more energy to fight off the virus.

AMR Infections Increased During the Pandemic

In the first year of the coronavirus pandemic alone, thousands of people died of antimicrobial resistant infections. Many of these people contracted an AMR infection after being admitted to the hospital for covid-19.

Methods of Preventing Covid-19 Can Prevent AMR and Other Diseases

Many common illnesses became less prevalent when people were actively trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Wearing a mask, social distancing, increased hand washing, and the use of sanitiser had an added bonus of reducing the spread of other diseases. This effect also extended to AMR prevention because fewer people were contracting bacterial infections.

Covid Precautions with Pharmacy Planet

Even though the pandemic is essentially over, covid-19 is still with us and will continue to be present for the foreseeable future. Vaccines and boosters have made it less of a public health crisis, but people are still getting infected.

Other diseases have been making a comeback in the wake of covid-19 restrictions being lifted and people exercising less caution. When we weren’t around as many people or out in public as often, we caught colds, flus, and other common ailments less often. Our return to work, school, and travel has brought all these illnesses back.

No one enjoys being sick, even with a minor illness. Covid-19 precautions prove to be effective against most contagious diseases so if you want to stay healthy this cold and flu season, employ some of the habits we became familiar with during the pandemic.

You don’t need to practise social distancing or cancel travel plans to stay safe but being a little cautious will protect you from falling ill. 

  • Wear a mask in crowded spaces with little or no ventilation.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Use hand sanitiser often, especially in public places.

Stay Healthy with Pharmacy Planet

Pharmacy Planet can help you with keeping you and your family healthy this winter. We are the UK’s most trusted online pharmacy, stocking a wide range of prescription medications, over the counter medications, and medical supplies.

In our online pharmacy, you’ll find:

Visit Pharmacy Planet to buy N95 face masks and to buy hand sanitiser online in the UK. Whatever you need, Pharmacy Planet has it. Take a look at our online shop today for affordable products that we will have safely and swiftly shipped right to your door.