India vs Antibiotics: Are We Losing the Battle?

Did you know that drug-resistant infections are killing close to 700,000 people around the world every year? Yep, grim note to start on, but this is the reality we are now living. One cannot afford to ignore the global antibiotics-resistance crisis.

India happens to be one of the largest consumers of antibiotics and thus, is at immense risk. You can become a victim, even if you’re not an antibiotics user. Alarming enough, right? The first step to charge against it is to learn about it. Let us break it down for you:

How did we get here?

Of course, humans haven’t always been beating the biggest of diseases and ailments. In fact, before antibiotics came around, we were dying at the hands of simple cuts and wounds. Antibiotics kick-started a revolution. By eliminating biological organisms in our body without harming us, they gradually became the answer to bacterial infections, big and small.

Since the discovery of Penicillin in 1928, humanity has battled infection-causing pathogens. It’s funny how the soldiers we employed on our defence, have come to be on the offensive. Blame evolution! The powers of science have shown that prolonged exposure to any drug allows certain strains of bacteria to acquire resistance.

So, where do we stand right now?

Well, our overuse and abuse of antibiotics have led to the creation of ‘superbugs’. Nope, they’re not as cool as they sound. In fact, they’re a huge red flag for anyone who plans to live healthily ever after. These bugs are resistant to the effects of many modern medicines, thereby rendering you defenceless in the face of diseases.

Source: World Health Organization’s Twitter Account

PSA: We’re all a part of the problem. Superbugs come into existence every time we use antibiotics. Further, you only make them more powerful if you discontinue an antibiotics course without completing it. Eventually, superbugs will make up the entire population of bacteria, making our antibiotics useless! We’re not making this up. The United Nations has put the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) right next to the likes of Ebola and HIV.

Why is India a hotbed of the problem?

The crisis is one that has culprits in all parts of the world. However, Indians are at an especially dangerous intersection. Over the years, our country has seen widespread use of antibiotics in humans and animals alike. Why you ask? Think back to the last time you had a fever or cold. You probably visited a doctor and were prescribed a dose of antibiotics. When you went to purchase those medicines, you faced no trouble getting access to them.

Yes, what many would qualify as powerful drugs are cheap, over-the-counter purchases in our country. Add to this our poor public health infrastructure and a high burden of disease. Antibiotics are the easy, accessible answer to health problems across the country. We have managed to create the precise conditions superbugs need to thrive at a significant level.

How bad can it be?

Short answer: pretty darn bad. For the long answer, consider a recent study published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). They tested 207 healthy individuals, only to find antibiotic-resistant organisms in the digestive tracts of two out of every three persons. Needless to say, the problem is worsening every day.

From common cold or flu (for which they are not even required) to protecting cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, Indians continue to exploit and be exploited by antibiotics. The epidemic has also hit not only humans but also animals. We can easily contract resistant bacteria from animals via consumption of animal products, exposure to raw meat products, or direct contact. Our weakening defences will eventually spread to other countries as well.

What can you do to protect yourself?

A significant change can only come when the governments of the world unite against breeding resistant bacteria. But while that happens, you can follow a few steps at the individual level:

  1. Keep germs away

All of us have worldly commitments and problems. Thus, we can’t avoid public spaces such as schools, offices, public transport and hospitals. These locations are breeding grounds for diseases. Arm yourself with sanitizers and other sanitation paraphernalia.

Tv Land Hand Sanitizer GIF by YoungerTV - Find & Share on GIPHY

  1. Build immunity naturally

If the universe is the taker, it’s also the provider. Apologies for the pretentious philosophical tone, but you get it! We have been blessed with naturally occurring foods that are amazing for building immunity. Fruits, greens, spices and teas – there is a variety from which we can choose. Akiva’s Turmeric and Giloy shots have been designed keeping your immunity in mind.

  1. Yoga, you gotta!

By reducing stress, yoga becomes a great way to strengthen your immune system. Some of the popular immunity-boosting poses include:

  • Tadasana

Also called ‘mountain pose’, all other asanas emerge from this one. You can do this one at any time during the day. Remember to hold it for at least 10-20 seconds. Apart from improving breathing, awareness and blood circulation, it also helps regulate the digestive system.

  • Vrikshasana

This pose is best done in the morning. Also known as the ‘tree pose’, it strengthens the spine, aids nerve-muscle coordination, and improves mental capabilities, encouraging stability. Note that the pose must be held for at least 30 seconds.

  • Utkatasana

Or the ‘chair pose’ is akin to sitting on a chair, without an actual chair. It engages your core to improve strength, energy, and balance. Further, the abdominal organs get a massage. Practice this one regularly and stay in the pose for at least 30-60 seconds.

  1. Go to the doc later

Disclaimer: If you’re going through severe/unusual pain or discomfort, please do consult a doctor immediately.

However, for common illnesses, try to use natural remedies. For example, honey mixed with tulsi (holy basil) is very helpful for a bad throat. Thousands of such ingredients exist to make it easier to overcome illness. Try Akiva’s range of ready-to-consume health shots to experience the benefits of such ingredients!

  1. Stay updated

Like we said earlier, knowledge about the problem is the first step to combating it. We’re in the antimicrobial resistance fight, big time. Read up and learn more about it. Ask questions to your doctor. Spread the information to your loved ones. Most importantly, stay hygienic and clean to prevent any mishaps that can befall you.