How We Can Help Prevent Superbugs has been paid for by and created in partnership with Pfizer UK©

Until very recently, I didn’t know very much about Superbugs and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).  I’ve heard things like MRSA talked about in the media and I know we should only take antibiotics if we really need them, but I hadn’t really put all the pieces of the jigsaw together.

It got me thinking: If you are reading this, do you know what Superbugs are?  Do you know why infections like MRSA exist? Have you thought about why AMR is such a problem?  Do you know how to help join the fight against Superbugs? If someone had asked me these questions, I probably would have looked at them blankly for at least a few minutes.

Not knowing about something as important Superbugs makes me feel pretty vulnerable.  I decided to change that and find out what I can do to help prevent AMR and keep my family and others healthy.

What are Superbugs?

Realistic rendering of bacteria - in green colors

Superbugs are microorganisms (bacteria) that have become resistant to antibiotics.  They are very dangerous and can be fatal if you are exposed to them. AMR is actually a naturally occurring process in both humans and animals but unfortunately misusing antibiotics in both humans and animals is speeding up the spread of it.

Why Do We Need to Do Something About Superbugs?

Some of the statistics around Superbugs and AMR are pretty shocking.  The World Health Organisation describes Antimicrobial Resistance as the biggest threat to global public health at the moment.  I honestly thought it would have been something like cancer or even obesity, but actually it’s something I hadn’t even considered.

WHO believe that superbugs are responsible for 700,000 deaths annually across the globe.  In 30 years they expect this figure to rise to 10 million deaths as a result of contracting a Superbug.  This could exceed the number of deaths caused by cancer, to give you an idea of the threat we are facing with Superbugs.

As both a Mum and a woman well into her 40s I find all of this really worrying.  Since childhood I have suffered with numerous throat infections that have left me really poorly.  There have been some occasions when I’ve needed to take antibiotics to treat the infection. I honestly dread to think what would have happened if those antibiotics had not worked.

As I’m sure all parents know, kids get sick from time to time too.  When they are really poorly with a bacterial infection it’s so important that the antibiotics they are given are effective.  Keeping everyone healthy is so important, but it’s even more important for children and vulnerable groups.

How Can We Join The Fight Against Superbugs?

Once I’d discovered how important the issue of superbugs is, I was keen to find out what I could do to help slow down the increase of AMR.  All of us can help contribute to this global issue and it’s actually really easy to do your bit.

Get The Family Washing Their Hands Correctly

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help prevent the spread of superbugs.  I know how hard it is to get children to wash their hands properly and it’s something we talk about in our house quite a lot.

I’m often faced with comments from Indie and Brook like, ‘but they don’t look dirty’ or ‘why do I need to wash my hands’.  When they say things like this, I talk to them about the germs they can’t see and how washing them away stops them and other people getting sick.

I’ve found that even though Indie and Brook are 7 and 5 years old, they still need guidance when it comes to washing their hands properly.  It’s a bit like cleaning their teeth: it’s just another area they need to develop good habits and learn to do thoroughly.

Keeping Vaccinations up to Date

As a family we are super keen to keep all our vaccinations up to date so that we reduce the risk of infection and illness.  In turn, it reduces the risk of us needing antibiotics to treat infections.

Use Antibiotics Correctly

Hands up if you have been prescribed antibiotics and forgot to finish the course because you felt better! That would totally be me and I suspect I’m not the only one.  It’s super important to finish a course of antibiotics as the infection is highly likely to return if you don’t.

Whenever myself or a member of the family is prescribed antibiotics I set up a reminder in my phone for each dose until the course is finished.  This really helps to make sure we don’t forget to take them and the whole course is finished.

If we are going away, I add the antibiotics that have been prescribed to our medical supplies so they come with us and the course is finished as directed by the doctor.

We only take antibiotics if they have been prescribed by the doctor.  Antibiotics have no effect on viruses so we wouldn’t use them for things like colds and flu.

Follow any Medical Advice you are Given Following an Operation

The only operation we have experienced in our family was when Brook received grommets and had her adenoids removed.  We were advised that she shouldn’t go to nursery for two weeks because of the risk of infection. Knowing what I know about superbugs now, this makes perfect sense, but at the time it was very confusing.

Brook was actually very fit and active during that two weeks and we found it very frustrating that she couldn’t see her friends.  Having got a little more understanding about Superbugs and AMR, I’m so pleased I followed that advice even if we were going a little bit stir crazy by the end of it!

Spread the Word

One of the simplest things we can do to slow down the rise of Superbugs and keep antibiotics working for this and future generations is to spread the word.  If anything in this article surprised you or was completely new to you, your friends and followers might be in exactly the same position as you.

Please help us to get the word out there and #JoinTheFight by sharing this article on your favourite social media platform and encouraging your friends to read it.  It really will make a huge difference when it comes to keeping friends, family and loved ones healthy for many years to come.

For more information on the topic of Superbugs check out the links below:

https://www.pfizer.co.uk/tackling-rise-antimicrobial-resistance

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antibiotic-resistance

How We Can Help Prevent Superbugs has been paid for by and created in partnership with Pfizer UK©

PP-PFE-GBR-2152

Date of prep: Nov 2019