Only one quarter of Australians believe antibiotic resistance has an effect

New research from NPS MedicineWise has revealed Australians’ knowledge of antibiotic resistance has improved, though there’s still a long way to go.

With almost half of Australians taking antibiotics each year, individuals need to be educated on the causes of antibiotic resistance and potential health problems.

Here’s what you need to know.

The facts

According to NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris, 74 per cent of Australians in 2017 were aware of the term ‘antibiotic resistance’, which was an increase from 70 per cent in 2014.

“According to our survey of 2,500 consumers, the belief that antibiotic resistance is affecting us now has more than doubled in recent years, from 11% in 2015 to 25% in 2017,” Mr Morris said.

“We know that almost one in every two Australians [45%] takes an antibiotic each year, and our nation’s consumption levels are higher than those of comparable countries such as the UK and the Netherlands.”

While it’s positive Australians are aware of antibiotic resistance, many people remain unaware of potential health consequences.

“Most people still don’t think [antibiotic resistance] will affect them personally,” Mr Morris said.

“There’s more work needed to educate individuals, families and communities about this problem.”

What you need to know

Though antibiotic resistance can’t be stopped, it can be slowed down by sensibly using antibiotics.

It’s important for individuals to understand antibiotics only work against bacteria and don’t work against infections caused by a virus.

If an individual becomes resistant to an antibiotic, the infection will take longer to heal, could lead to more serious problems and is more likely to spread.

For further information about antibiotic resistance, consult with your regular GP.