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Hoarseness, ear pain, vertigo, sinus infections are common ENT issues among both adults and children. Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat many of these ENT problems. However, these antibiotics can do more harm than good to the body especially if they are oral antibiotics. Therefore, it's crucial to choose antibiotics properly for ENT infections or diseases, experts at ENTOD Pharmaceuticals highlighted as they observed the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), which is celebrated from 18-24 November every year.
The WAAW 2021 theme "Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance" calls on stakeholders, policymakers, health care providers, and the general public to be Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness champions.
According to experts at ENTOD Pharmaceuticals, oral antibiotics are more likely to lead to antimicrobial resistance a serious health threat facing the world today. Extensive use of orally administered antibiotics can breed 'superbugs' or antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can cause a number of serious health problems like urinary tract infections, gonorrhoea, tuberculosis. And as antibiotics become less effective, it becomes difficult to treat these infections. Instead of oral antibiotics, the experts said, antibiotics ear drops are a much safer option as they don't go into the bloodstream and more medicine reaches the infection area.
Also, the experts want people to understand that antibiotics are not effective against viruses. "Antibiotics are effective in killing bacteria or stopping their growth. They are unable to treat conditions caused by viruses like bronchitis, cold & flu and many sinus and ear infections," said Dr. Yogesh Patil (MBBS DLO) ENT, Gajanan Hospital, Pune.
There are two types of antibiotics - narrow-spectrum antibiotics and broad-spectrum antibiotics. Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are usually not recommended in children below the age of 6 months and those over 12.
"Broad spectrum antibiotics that target a wide range of bacteria contribute to bacterial resistance that limits treatment solutions when drugs that once effectively killed bacteria no longer work. This can result in prolonged illness and even death if alternative treatments cannot be found," said Nikkhil K Masurkar, Executive Director of ENTOD Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Patil noted that antibiotic resistance occurs when there is misuse or overuse of antibiotics. Therefore, before antibiotics are prescribed to patients, tests are carried out to check for bacteria so that a doctor can prescribe the right antibiotics.
"People who have a hole or tube in the eardrum need to check with their doctor before applying any kind of eardrops. The drops may cause infection, pain or even damage hearing," the doctor stated.
"Antibiotics are usually required only when symptoms last more than a week, start to improve but worsen again, or are very severe. Worrisome symptoms that can warrant immediate antibiotic treatment include extreme pain, a fever over 38.6 C and tenderness over the sinuses, or signs of a skin infection, such as a hot, red rash that quickly spreads" he added.
Prevention is the best way to protect against antibiotic resistance, the experts noted.
Good hygiene habits can help fight germs and prevent illness. Immunisation against infections and preparing food in a clean, safe environment are some of the other ways to prevent diseases or infections and in turn, avoid antibiotic resistance, they added.
ENTOD Pharmaceuticals is a research-based pharmaceutical organization specializing in Ophthalmology, ENT & Dermatology medicine.
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