Getting Smart about Antibiotics – Preventing Antibiotic Resistance


The cold and flu season will be upon us shortly. As we move into these months, we must be reminded of some important information regarding antibiotic use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated November 14-18 as “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week”. The CDC has published the following information regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics:

  • Antibiotics cure bacterial infections but not viral infections such as colds or flu; most coughs and bronchitis; sore throats not caused by strep; or runny noses.

  • Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not help you feel better or keep other individuals from catching the illness.

  • If you develop a bacterial infection and are prescribed an antibiotic, take the antibiotic exactly as the health care provider instructed you to do so. Never save some of your antibiotic for the next time you are sick.

  • Always complete the prescribed course of the antibiotic, even if you feel better. Never skip doses. If you stop taking the antibiotic too soon, the bacteria may survive and re-infect you.

  • Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be effective against the type of illness you have. Different antibiotics treat different types of bacterial infection.

  • Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the treatment effects of antibiotics. The bacteria change in a way that decreases or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating the bacterial infection.

  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most leading health care problems and poses a major danger in the treatment of infections that were once easily treated with antibiotics.

  • If a bacteria becomes resistant to many antibiotics, then eliminating the bacteria from the body can become difficult or even impossible.

  • Repeated and improper use of antibiotics is the main causes of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

  • Always ask your health care provider if an antibiotic is likely to be beneficial for your illness.

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