Fight against Antibiotic Resistance is in our Hands

Combater a resistência aos antibióticos está nas mãos de todos


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 out of 10 people contracts hospital infections when receiving healthcare, many of them caused by bacteria increasingly resistant to antibiotics, which are the only means of control.

Therefore, in the scope of the World Hand Hygiene Day, celebrated today, the WHO reminds that washing our hands repeatedly throughout the day is the more efficient way to prevent the propagation of infections, and subsequently to counter the increasing resistance of bacterial microorganisms to antibiotics.

The previsions of the United Nations health agency are somber: in 2050, if nothing is done, about 10 million people will die all over the world with infections caused by resistant bacteria. And according to the Directorate General for Health, Portugal is one of the European Union countries where antibiotics are more used and also where there is greater ignorance about its use.

Therefore, both entities alert us all, as citizens, to adopt the basic hygiene habit of washing hands regularly throughout the day, especially in critical moments: before eating, after going to the bathroom or travelling by public transport, when arriving home after work and when visiting patients interned in hospital (before and after visits).

On the other hand, it is essential to take antibiotics only when adequate and prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are destined to treat infections caused by bacteria – not acting on infections caused by virus, like colds and flu, for instance. And some bacteria, when multiplying, suffer mutation becoming resistant to antibiotics, which no longer act on them. Therefore, the more an antibiotic is used, the greater the probability of resistance to its action.

The units of Hospital da Luz network celebrate the World Hand Hygiene Day with initiatives destined to its professionals and citizens in general, with the purpose of sensitizing everyone for the adequate hand hygiene and the correct use of antibiotics.