World Antibiotic Awareness Week – 13th -19th November

What if we told you that routine surgery such as Caesarian sections or dental surgery were too risky to carry out? What if we told you, this could soon be a reality?

The first antibiotic, Pencillin, was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, one of the greatest discoveries of modern medicine which has saved countless lives. However, as a society, as a country, we are abusing this luxury. Because of this misuse we are increasing our risk of contracting these super bugs which may not be treatable with current antibiotic treatments.

A short film called ‘Catch’ will be released this week during World Antibiotics Awareness Week that depicts how modern life could be without effective treatment for bacterial infection. The writer’s portrayal of this potentially not-so-distant future is a very real and relatable story between a father and his daughter.

Below is a short video demonstrating how bacteria can divide and mutate to overcome very strong antibiotics…

This emphasises the importance of completing the full course of prescribed antibiotics given by a qualified medical professional. This prevents any ‘stragglers’ that could become resistant to the antibiotic. For the same reason, do not push your Doctor for antibiotics if they tell you they are not necessary as this may create more antibiotic resistant bacteria.

This is a very important topic for everyone but why, as podiatrists, are we taking a particular interest?

Many new patients attend our clinic with longstanding, painful ingrown toenails. They have often been back to see their GP 4 or 5 times, and at each time have been given another course of antibiotics to try to resolve their ingrowing toenail. While the antibiotics dulled the inflammation, once the course was completed, the inflammation and pain returned.

The problem is that an ingrowing toenail is caused by a spicule of nail growing into the surrounding skin, which then causes inflammation and exquisite pain. Our podiatrists can remove the spicule of nail and rid you of the pain. No more pain and no further need for unnecessary antibiotic treatment.

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‘The advent of antibiotics introduced a new era in medicine. But now, I fear we are moving backwards – to the world in which my parents lived, when bacterial infections were often lethal because there were no specific treatments available’

Marc Sprenger – Director of the WHO’s secretariat for antimicrobial resistance