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World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13-19 November

Hi, I’m Dr Andrew Boyden, I’m a GP and I’m also a medical advisor for NPS MedicineWise. I’m here to answer Google’s most commonly asked questions about antibiotic resistance. So let’s get started.

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Question: Is antibiotic resistance real?

Yes, it’s very real. It’s a worldwide problem and it’s also here is Australia, with us now. And we really need to get on top of this to preserve the miracle of antibiotics for the future.

Question: What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when antibiotics are no longer effective in treating bacterial infections as well as they used to be. And they occur because bacteria change to protect themselves from the medication.

Question: Is antibiotic resistance a problem in Australia?

Yes, definitely and it’s becoming worse. We have evidence of multiple different bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to a whole range of antibiotics.

Question: What are some of the antibiotic resistant infections?

MRSA, also known as ‘golden staph’, it can be picked up in hospitals and unfortunately, is increasingly being picked up in the community. Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection, picked up through unprotected sex, increasing becoming resistant to antibiotics. And this is just a couple of examples.

Question: Why is antibiotic resistance dangerous?

It’s dangerous now because it’s leading to fewer options to treat serious bacterial infections. This means people can be sicker for longer, they might need to stay in hospital for longer. In some cases it even can be a life-threatening situation.

Question: Is it true that superbugs will kill 10 million people by year 2050?

Yes, if things don’t change, we have a really big worldwide public health problem here. The World Health Organisation says this is one of the greatest threats facing human health, worldwide currently.

Question: How can we stop antibiotic resistance?

Firstly, only take antibiotics as prescribed and directed by your doctor. Secondly, don’t ask for antibiotics for cold and flu. They don’t work for viruses. And thirdly, practice good hygiene including handwashing to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Visit nps.org.au to learn more.