Antibiotics have been around for years and are great at treating patients with bacterial infections. Antibiotics can be life saving treatment for many people. Unfortunately, there is a growing trend of inappropriate use of antibiotics. This happens when:
- Antibiotics are taken for viral infections
- Antibiotics are not taken exactly as prescribed
- Antibiotics are stopped before they are suppose to be
- Saving antibiotics for the next time you are sick
Why is this important? The proper use of antibiotics is so important because there is a rise in antibiotic resistance, meaning that bacteria are adapting to the medicines we typically use to treat patients. This makes the antibiotics less effective or not effective at all in some cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control about 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a result of this.
Each one of us can prevent atibiotic resistance. Here’s what not to do:
- Do not demand an antibiotic from your doctor if he/she says you have a viral infection
- Do not save antibiotics for later use
- Do not give ill friends or family members your unused antibiotics
- Do not stop taking prescribed antibiotics earlier than recommended
Below is a chart to help you determine if your illness may require antibiotics. Of course, you should always be evaluated by a physician if you are ill.