LAHORE - Experts have stressed the need of discouraging the culture of self medication and unwise use of antibiotics for the health of people. 

As per WHO estimates, globally, 700,000 deaths every year could be attributed to antimicrobial or antibiotic resistance and is expected to cause 10 million deaths in the next 35 years.

“The reason to antibiotic resistance is over and misuse of antibiotics. It will lead to illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become untreatable,” said leading medical experts. They termed the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 12-18, a good opportunity to aware people about hazards of unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Dr Qamar Ashfaq, Associate Professor Surgery at Services Hospital said, “Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them, leading to dangerous infections,” he added.

“When antibiotics fail to work, the consequences are longer-lasting illnesses, more doctor visits or extended hospital stays, and the need for more expensive and toxic antibiotics. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death,” Dr Qamar said. He added that, all the stakeholders including Government, healthcare professionals, media and advocacy bodies, will have to play their role to increase the awareness about misuse and overuse of antibiotics which is one of the biggest health challenges of modern era.

Dr Najam-ul-Hasnain Khan, Head of ENT at Lahore General Hospital said, “Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the common cold, flu, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections. Widespread use of antibiotics for these illnesses is an example of how overuse of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Smart use of antibiotics is key to controlling the spread of resistance.” He added that in Pakistan, alarming 88.9% rates of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are for self-limiting Upper Respiratory Tract infections.

He stressed that people should only use antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional and always take the full prescription, even if you feel better because not completing the prescribed dosage will help bacteria to become antibiotic resistant.