April 19, 2018
Health & Fitness
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Resistant Antibiotics Are Caused By Use

Dr. Jeffrey Cranska
Dr. Jeffrey Cranska's picture
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June 14, 2017

Widespread antibiotic usage began in the 1940s when they were used to treat infections. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have developed over time and threaten the usefulness of these drugs.

Resistant antibiotics are caused by antibiotic use.

Q: When do I need to take an antibiotic drug?

A: Disease-causing bacteria bring about illness. Antibacterial drugs fight infections caused by bacteria. All health care settings should prescribe appropriate antibiotics only when needed.

Antibiotics do not fight colds, influenza, most coughs, bronchitis, most sore throats (only those caused by strep), or many ear and sinus infections. Antibiotics are ineffective against disease caused by viruses, not bacteria.

Taking antibiotics to treat illnesses caused by viruses does not stop the infection from spreading to others; it makes you feel better or be cured faster, but it may cause harmful side effects.

Q: How do I take prescribed antibiotic drugs?

A: Antibiotics are to be used only when needed and used correctly. Follow the prescription as directed. Take the quantity how and when and as long as prescribed. Do not stop taking antibiotics early. Do not save any for the next time you feel sick.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that a third to one-half of antibiotic use in humans is unnecessary or taken inappropriately.

Resistance threatens the usefulness of these drugs. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply and cause harm. The bacteria resist the effects of the antibiotic.

The person is not resistant to a specific drug. The bacteria, not the person, is resistant to the specific drug.

When antibiotics no longer work, infections will last longer. There will be more severe illnesses, more doctor visits, longer hospital stays and the need for more expensive medications. The CDC estimates that more than 50 million unneeded prescriptions for antibiotics are written every year.

Use antibiotics only when needed; follow your health care professional’s prescription and instructions as written.

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