Isn’t it frustrating how we can spend years taking probiotics and drinking kombucha to build up our good gut bacteria—but the second we have to go on antibiotics it undoes all our hard work? Yep, while they’re necessary sometimes, it’s no secret that antibiotics are bad news for our gut health.
But did you know that overdoing it on antibiotics can also reduce the effectiveness of the drugs used to fight infections — which can cause it to spread and multiply? It’s called antibiotic resistance and it’s one of the world’s most pressing health issues. So much so, that NPS MedicineWise teamed up with AMEX Openair cinemas, for the ‘Preserve the Power’ film competition – an initiative to raise awareness about the global threat of antibiotic resistance.
The winning entry in the 0ver 18 category was Brisbane-based cinematographer, Lucas Tomoana and his team, with the short film, Keep the bugs outta the club. The film features a man who is rejected from entering a pharmacy based on his overuse of antibiotics.
“It was such a fun challenge to try and communicate the message about antibiotic resistance. We wanted to produce something that was engaging, funny, relatable and delivered in a small amount of time. Humour was key for us, as people are more likely to share content they get a laugh out of. I was inspired by a lot of New Zealand ads that have gone viral recently, where they deliver important messages in a humorous and relatable way”, says Tomoana.
While the film is hilarious, it also highlights the serious issue of the superbug. These are strains of bacteria that have adapted after coming into contact with an antibiotic. Once this happens, the bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic to which they have been exposed, which means the antibiotic cannot kill the bacteria or stop them from multiplying. This resistant bacteria can then spread from person to person via bodily fluids or direct contact.
How big of an issue is antibiotic resistance in Australia?
According to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, Australia has a higher rate of antibiotic use compared to similar countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2014, 46% of Australians were supplied with at least one antibiotic. After just one course of antibiotics, the risk of having antibiotic-resistant organisms increases by roughly 50%. So yes, antibiotic resistance is an issue here in Australia.
On a global scale, The World Health Organisation has released an urgent call for governments to fund the development of antibiotics that will be able to treat the 12 different types of superbugs. Thankfully, most of these superbugs that are prevalent in other countries haven’t made their way to Australia. However, we do have the multi-resistant bacteria which causes staph infections, which are particularly rampant in Sydney at the moment.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself against this bacteria is washing your hands frequently, making sure any open wounds are covered (for example, if you cut yourself shaving or scratch a mosquito bite) and keeping an eye out for any boils or rashes so you can head to the doctor immediately.