One of the main causes of antibiotic resistance is overusing antibiotics and prescribing them inappropriately. Picture: Pexels
One of the main causes of antibiotic resistance is overusing antibiotics and prescribing them inappropriately.

Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics because they pick up genetic changes, known as mutations, as they divide.

“Most mutations kill or slow them down, but others provide a new characteristic and a way to survive, such as protecting the bacterial cell from the effects of an antibiotic,’ says microbiologist Dr Adam Roberts.

“Because they replicate so quickly, the bacteria that survive an antibiotic attack then produce more resistant bacteria - these can quickly take over, so the entire population is made up of resistant bugs.”