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 use antibiotics when needed 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 a role in limiting the growth of AMR by:
- follow your health professional’s instructions when they prescribe antibiotics for you;
- if you have any unused antibiotics (including ointments), don’t flush them down the toilet or put them in the bin and don’t keep them for future use.
- The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project provides a free and easy way to dispose of unwanted medicines by returning them to any participating community pharmacy. For more information visit the Return Unwanted Medicines website and Animal Medicines Australia website.
- don’t use antibiotics prescribed for other people – they may not be right for you;
- remember, antibiotics don’t work against viruses so they can’t help treat your cold or flu;
- remember, antibiotics are not super drugs – they can only treat certain bacteria under certain conditions. They are not a catch-all treatment which you can take just in case.
- don’t pressure your doctor for antibiotics if they say you don’t need them – instead ask about other ways to relieve your symptoms;
- preventing infections through good hand hygiene reduces the need for antibiotics and reduces resistance.
- improper dressing of wounds, cuts and grazes can lead to infection and the need for antibiotics. Reduce this need by practicing proper wound care or seeking the advice of health professionals when needed. For more information can be found online.
Visit our antimicrobial resistance website for more information, including advice for health professionals, veterinarians, animal owners and the agricultural industry.