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World Consumers Day

M. R. Krishnan, Deputy Director, Consumers Association of India

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The world Consumer Rights Day, which commemorates the enactment of Consumer Protect Act by USA in 1962,is celebrated every year on March 15. ‘Say no antibiotics’ is its motto for the year 2016. Worldwide campaigns are held to educate consumers on the evils of antibiotics, reduced usage of antibiotics, and how animals and birds treated with antibiotics are used by leading restaurant chains in their food.

Antibiotics are medications that fight infections caused by bacteria, not infections like cold and flu caused by viruses. But when antibiotics are misused, bacteria can become resistant.

Respect antibiotics and take them only when necessary for a bacterial infection. There are hundreds of different types of antibiotics. Each antibiotic is effective only for certain types of infections and your doctor is the best judge for what you should take.

Here are some useful tips:

  • If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, use them as prescribed. Take all of the antibiotics as directed and don’t save some for future use.
  • Don’t share your antibiotics with others.
  • Don’t take someone else’s antibiotics, or leftover antibiotics from last year’s illness.

Its also important to store your medicine correctly. Many children’s antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, need to be refrigerated, while others are best left at room temperature. Check the pharmacy label or the patient information leaflet for instructions on storage.

Check for allergies you may develop which will rule out a class of antibiotic.Its essential to take your entire course of antibiotics. If an antibiotic is stopped midcourse, the bacteria may be partially treated and not completely killed. This can cause the bacteria to be resistant to the antibiotic and may result in you getting re-infected.

One of the biggest concerns in modern medicine is antibiotic resistance. The overuse of antibiotics to treat minor conditions has contributed to antibiotic resistance. Some antibiotics can destroy the harmless strains of bacteria that live in and on the body, allowing resistant bacteria to multiply and replace them.

A red strip on the medicine packet indicates that a particular medicine is antibiotic. Visit www.caiindia.org.