Antibiotic resistance is a major global health problem. It occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs (antibiotics) used to treat them. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24, and this can happen when people take antibiotics for viral infections like colds or the flu, which don’t respond to these drugs. It can also happen when people don’t finish their entire course of antibiotic treatment. As a result, these bacteria can become resistant and harder to treat.
In the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections cause more than 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year. Globally, antibiotic resistance is responsible for an estimated 700,000 deaths each year. The problem is only getting worse as resistance spreads faster than we can develop new antibiotics.
That’s why it’s so important to use antibiotics only when they are needed and to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully when you do need them. Improving antibiotic prescribing and use is essential to slowing the spread of antibiotic resistance. Here are some things you can do:
1) Only take antibiotics prescribed for you by a healthcare professional. Do not share them with others or use leftover antibiotics from previous illnesses.
2) Follow your healthcare professional’s instructions on how to take the antibiotic. This includes finishing the entire course of treatment, even if you feel better, to prevent the infection from coming back and to reduce the chances of resistance developing.
3) Never pressure your healthcare professional for an antibiotic prescription if they determine you or your child does not have a bacterial infection because this will contribute to antibiotic resistance.
4) Be aware that some over-the-counter medications (like cold and cough remedies) contain small amounts of antibiotics. Taking these products unnecessarily can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
5) Talk to your healthcare professional about getting vaccinated against infections that commonly lead to antibiotic prescriptions, like influenza (flu), pneumonia, and meningitis. When you decide to put your health into our hands, it immediately becomes our number one priority. We value the relationships we form with each patient and believe that goes a long way in improving their healthcare outcomes. Give us a call to find out how I can help you today.