Hyderabad, September 18, 2023: With increases cases of tropical infections, taking antibiotics for common cold and fever is one of the most common habits of patients. However, renowned Intensive Care physician of the city, Dr Subba Reddy has warned that this can have negative health impact. Dr Reddy has observed that Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) prevalence has been quite alarming on our society.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when the bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and the patient fails to respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and ultimately causing death. Globally with 700,000 people losing battle to AMR per year and another 10 million projected to die from it by 2050. AMR alone is responsible for killing more people than cancer and road traffic accidents combined. India carries one of the largest burdens of drug‑resistant pathogens worldwide and 2 million deaths are projected to occur in India due to AMR by the year 2050.
AMR interferes with the person’s treatment reducing his/her quality of life. Taking antibiotics for common cold and fever or not taking antibiotics as prescribed by doctor may put one at the risk of antibiotic resistance, thus leading to longer hospital stays, increased medical costs and higher risk of severe or complicated illness or even mortality making the bacteria or virus prone to the medications.
AMR can occur or spread due to overuse of antimicrobials, lack of access to clean water, improper sanitation and hygiene, poor infection control, poor access to quality antibiotics, and lack of awareness and knowledge. Antimicrobial resistance is a significant public health problem in the country. In India, experts believe AMR to be a silent pandemic and has proved to become a significant health issue. Echoing his opinion on the health impact of AMR, Dr Reddy said, “Antimicrobial resistance impacts people at any stage of life. Majority of people tend to buy over-the-counter medication and suffer in silence due to the lack of knowledge about how the medication works. Instead of taking any medication without knowledge, one should consult the doctor and follow the instructions given by him/her. The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust. So, it is better to discuss with the doctor and then only take any medication.
Dr Reddy added, “Antimicrobial resistance in tuberculosis, malaria and HIV treatment is a common occurrence and can make the person suffer. This issue needs to be highlighted to the patients. Hence, the patients are advised to consult the doctor whenever they are having any health problems and take medication as advised. We aim to raise awareness regarding this issue to ensure patient safety and the patients should take utmost care of their health and avoid taking antibiotics on their own. Also, there should be an effort in educating people on rational use of antimicrobials and increasing awareness among the nurses and other health care providers”.