Misuse and overuse of antibiotics can put us all at risk

While many of us have been thinking a lot about viruses (like COVID-19) lately, sickness from antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to be a serious health concern. According to the CDC, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year. But there are steps we can all take to reduce infections, and the causes of antibiotic resistance.

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. That means that when even when you take antibiotics, the germs are not killed and continue to grow.

What Causes Antibiotic Resistance?

There are several factors that cause antibiotic resistance including the over-prescribing of antibiotics by doctors, over-use of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming, poor infection control in hospitals and clinics, and a lack of new antibiotics being developed. While several of these factors are largely beyond our control — we can all take steps to reduce antibiotic overuse and misuse:

What Can You Do

  1. Prevent infections by regularly washing hands, preparing food safely, avoiding close contact with sick people, and keeping vaccinations up to date.
  2. Only use antibiotics when they are prescribed to you by your doctor or a certified health professional.
  3. Never share or use leftover antibiotics
  4. Don’t ask for antibiotics if your doctor or health care provider says you don’t need them.
  5. Always follow your health care provider’s advice when using antibiotics — this includes finishing your prescription even if you start to feel better!

Source: CDC.gov