By Dr Jane Healy
Antibiotic resistance is when bacteria change to protect themselves from an antibiotic. They become no longer sensitive to the antibiotic and can live and multiply in the presence of it.
Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. They have no role in the treatment of colds, flus, or other viral infections. In the community setting the most common use of antibiotics is for upper respiratory tract infections. However, even in some bacterial conditions, such as ear infections, we have seen that in the absence of a fever there is no change in the outcome when antibiotics are not used.
So what is antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop an ability to survive and grow in the presence of an antibiotic. Bacteria multiply quickly and with each multiplication an error can occur which can provide a survival advantage. This results in the bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotic. Bacteria can also develop resistance through passage of material from one bacteria to the next.
What causes antibiotic resistance?
The main reasons of antibiotic resistance include:
- The use of antibiotics incorrectly, for example in the treatment of a cold.
- The incorrect taking of […]