Resistance is (not) useless

From global antibiotic resistance to eco-friendly hair products, how we manage our health has a strong impact on the world 

The recently released Antimicrobial Resistance – Implications for New Zealanders report by The Royal Society compiled evidence on what impacts antimicrobial resistance would have in New Zealand. With many microbes developing resistance to medicines, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, New Zealand’s isolation won’t protect us, the report concluded, as every person travelling overseas was another opportunity to bring resistant organisms back into the country.

Superbugs are heading our way 

Antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future. It’s happening right now in every region of the world, and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country – so says the World Health Organization. WHO’s report on antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance reveals that without urgent, coordinated action by health professionals and the rest of us, we’re heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades may once again be deadly. 

Did you know? 

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are able to survive after exposure to one or more antibiotics. Typically, this happens when someone begins a course of antibiotics, feels better after a few days and doesn’t finish the full course. There’s a reason your doc wants you to take all those pills: some bacteria are still circulating in your system, even though your symptoms have faded, and now those remaining bugs have essentially been immunised against the antibiotic.

3 top pill taking tips 

1. Use mealtimes as a prompt, set a reminder on your phone or download the Australian-developed Antibiotics Reminder app. Then keep your pills with your wallet and keys while at home so you’re sure to take them with you during the day.

2. Keeping kids dosed up is tricky – especially if a course of antibiotics lasts for 10 days and you’re busy running a household. Make a colourful chart for the fridge with boxes to be ticked off when each dose is taken.

3. You may only see them being used by elderly relatives, but use pill boxes with labeled compartments to help keep track when you can’t remember if you took a pill at breakfast. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for aids such as these.

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