Beautiful Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

Be careful with antibiotics, Health Ministry warns

Be careful with antibiotics, Health Ministry warns

The Health Ministry is warning the public not to abuse antibiotics as this can lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in their bodies.
The Ministry said persons should ensure they are not using counterfeit drugs and ensure they are taking the right dosage for the medical issues they are treating.

AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to drugs.

As a result of drug resistance and antibiotics, infections become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

The community is therefore encouraged to reduce AMR by avoiding infection, covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands frequently.

The Health Ministry also said persons should avoid purchasing prescriptions online and practice filling prescriptions at reputable pharmacies in order to reduce the chances of purchasing counterfeit or substandard medications.

Persons are also warned to clean and sanitize surfaces and cutting boards, and reduce the use of antibacterial products, which continuously feed the bacteria living on the skin and make them get stronger.

Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services Gracia Wheatley-Smith said if the impact of AMR is not reduced, life would return to a point where there were no antimicrobials to treat diseases, viruses, fungal and other infections.

Wheatley-Smith further stated that without antimicrobials, interventions such as open-heart surgeries and hip replacement will be more difficult to perform as it would be difficult to prevent infections.

She added that more premature babies would die because treating infections would be difficult if infants develop an infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Persons who are immunocompromised with diseases such as HIV and cancer would also be more susceptible to infections if they develop resistance to antibiotics.

The warning about drug resistance comes as health professionals observed Antimicrobial Week from November 18-24, under the theme “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”.
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