SELF-MEDICATION: The bad and the Ugly

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Working from nine to five, juggling three jobs a day, with a requirement to work on Saturdays, top it up with a bonus of reports that needs to be done at home… What more can I say, I am my own superhero. Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and even Batman’s superpowers are no match at how I handle my job, lifestyle and hectic schedule.

But we all know that every hero has his own weakness. Clearly, it is not food or the charm of Brad Pitt. Any guess? It is sickness. So definitely, I self-medicate. Why, you ask? It’s cheaper, it doesn’t eat much of my time waiting in line just for a quick Hi, Hello, How are you? …and I don’t have to talk to lifeless assistants for an appointment. Cough for more than a week? I consult Dr. G. Fever combined with rashes? Ask Dr. G!, Chest pain from 30 minutes of spring cleaning and decluttering like Marie Kondo? Dr. G or I mean Doctor Google is right there with me. He is there 24/7 anywhere in the world, even on a holiday and ABSOLUTELY FREE.

Self-medication is the treatment of common health problems with medicines especially designed and labeled for use without medical supervision and approved as safe and effective for such use. Medicines for self-medication are often called ‘nonprescription’ or ‘over the counter’ (OTC) drugs and are available without a doctor’s prescription through pharmacies. Studies carried out on self-medication states that it is a very common practice, especially in economically deprived communities.

However, self-medication does not come without disadvantages. On Inquirer.net’s column last November 25, 2018, Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III himself aired  a warning and stated that the Department of Health (DOH) has to implement a more comprehensive, accessible and sustained campaign to educate the public on the dangers of self-medication, which, Duque said, is putting the country at greater risk of developing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

AMR is spawning even more powerful infections—the so-called “superbugs,” bacteria or fungi that have grown immune to antibiotics treatment. Worse, the infection may be transmitted to others. The World Health Organization has identified AMR as “one of the biggest threats to human health.” The spread of superbugs and AMR is straining global public health, with almost half a million people now contracting multi-drug resistant tuberculosis every year.

The 2014 review entitled: Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations, estimated that the 700,000 cases of AMR in the world today would reach a staggering 10 million by 2050. The problem has grown with the spike in the use of antibiotics worldwide since 2000 with some of the highest consumption in Asia wherein, by 2050, if no immediate action is taken, some 5 million people could die each year from bacterial infections that have become resistant to antibiotics; surpassing the projected number of annual cancer fatalities.

In a Department of Health (DOH) AMR program report, infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante said that 50,895 people from 26 government hospitals in the Philippines had become resistant to antimicrobial treatments; 22 percent of them for Pneumonia.

So what do these tell us? Not only Filipinos but the entire world should take heed of Duque’s reminder.  That, as much as possible, THOSE WHO ARE SICK SHOULD GO TO HEALTH CENTERS AND HOSPITALS TO GET THE PROPER PRESCRIPTION AND TO COMPLETE THE DOSAGE OF THE MEDICINE REQUIRED RATHER THAN TREATING THE SICKNESS ON THEIR OWN.

With, I’m leaving you this question: Will you still self-medicate?

 

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