Although it is a highly relevant health issue, it has not been given the sufficient attention it deserves. We are referring to antimicrobial resistance, which already shows fatal consequences, but future prognoses are even worse. If the current trend continues, it is feared that the current drugs will soon stop working. Therefore, any infection would be fatal.
A high impact problem
In this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO) already lists antimicrobial resistance as one of the Top 10 Public Health Threats facing humanity.
It also mentions that the improper and excessive use of antimicrobials is the main factor that determines the appearance of drug-resistant pathogens. Lack of clean water and sanitation, and inadequate infection prevention and control encourage the spread of microbes, some of which may be resistant to current treatments.
In this sense, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) mentions that multi-resistant pathogens are responsible for an increase in the mortality of the patients admitted to hospitals. They also cause a large increase in health costs due to the prescription of more expensive drugs and the long hospital stay. These hospital infections affect the most fragile patients. While in intensive care units, oncology and neonatology is where they usually cause a high mortality.
For its part, in the United States alone it is estimated that around 700 people die each day from antimicrobial resistance infections. While predictions indicate that by 2050 it could become the leading cause of death worldwide, even above diabetes and heart problems.
What can doctors do with their patients?
To prevent this from happening, it is prudent to act from today. To achieve this, a union of efforts is needed and you as a doctor have a fundamental role. There are no small actions because between all of them big changes can be achieved.
With the above in mind, the Mexican Society of Emergency Medicine (SMME) shares five tips that doctors should apply in their professional daily work. All are quite simple and a simple conversation with patients is enough to raise awareness.
- Promote constant cleaning of hands and work equipment to avoid infections.
- Prescribe antibiotics to patients only when necessary.
- Report detected antibiotic resistant infections to surveillance teams.
- Inform patients how to take prescribed antibiotics, as well as mention the resistance these drugs can develop and the dangers of their misuse.
- Inform patients how to prevent infection (for example with vaccinations, proper hand washing, and covering hands when coughing or sneezing).