During World Antimicrobial Awareness Week ... remember that the incorrect use of antibiotics increases drug resistance in the bugs we’re trying to kill.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites develop the ability to resist the effects of medications.
This makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of disease, severe illness, and death. You should only ever use antibiotics when necessary and as directed by your doctor.
Multiple factors have increased the threat of antimicrobial resistance worldwide, including the incorrect use of medicines in humans, domestic and farm animals, and agriculture.
You can play an important role in limiting the development of AMR by:
- regularly washing your hands and keeping up to date with vaccinations to prevent infections
- understanding that antibiotics only work against bacteria – they don’t work for colds and flus which are caused by viruses
- not pressuring health professionals for antibiotics if they say you don’t need them – instead ask about other ways to relieve your symptoms
- only taking antibiotics when your doctor prescribes them for you and not using or sharing leftover antibiotics
- following your health professional’s instructions when they prescribe antibiotics for you
- following your veterinarian’s instructions when they prescribe antibiotics for your animal.
Visit our antimicrobial resistance website for more information, including guidance for health professionals, veterinarians, animal owners and the agricultural industry.
You can also learn more about AMR from the World Health Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health.