Antibiotic Resistance

What is antibiotic resistance and why is it a problem?
Because antibiotics are known for their incredible healing power, antibiotics are often used against other disease agents, such as viruses, for which they are not effective. This unnecessary use is expensive for you and harmful to the community, leading to antibiotic resistance among bacteria as well as treatment complications. Inappropriate antibiotic use also raises the chances that you will develop a resistant infection when you next get sick. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. Although some bacteria may be killed off, some bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm. Over time these antibiotics can no longer kill off the surviving bacteria. Widespread use of antibiotics promotes the spread of resistance. While antibiotics should be used to treat bacterial infections, they are not effective against viral infections such as the common cold, most sore throats, ear infections and the flu. Learn the difference between illness caused by viruses and bacteria, so that you can use antibiotics wisely.

What can I do to prevent antibiotic-resistant disease?

  • Follow your immunization schedule and make sure that all children in your household have been immunized
  • Wash your hands properly, and help your family to do the same, to reduce the chance of getting sick
  • Do not demand antibiotics from your doctor or clinical practitioner just because you think they might help. Ask the doctor if they are really necessary for your illness.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about antibiotic resistance
  • Ask whether an antibiotic is likely to be beneficial for your illness
  • Ask what you can do to feel better sooner
  • Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu
  • Take an antibiotic exactly as the doctor or clinical practitioner tells you, and finish the antibiotic course. The last few doses are important for killing the most resistant strains in your body.
  • Do not save some partial antibiotic prescriptions for the next time you get sick
  • Do not take an antibiotic that is prescribed for someone else.