Did you know that antibiotic resistance is an urgent threat to our health?

Each year in the US, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 die as a direct result of these infections. The trend is that many more will die of complications from an antibiotic-resistant infection. (National Association of County and City Officials Dispatch November 2018.)

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria (which are living organisms) no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them.

How is this happening? Some of the blame falls squarely on our own shoulders. Patients sometimes pressure their doctor to prescribe an antibiotic when one isn’t needed. Antibiotics do not work on viruses that cause colds, flu, or bronchitis. Antibiotics are only needed for treating infections caused by bacteria, and even some bacterial infections get better without antibiotics, including many sinus infections and some ear infections. (www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use)

Another issue is patients not taking antibiotics as prescribed. For example if you feel better after a few days and don’t take those last few pills, the infection will still be there, and may require a more powerful antibiotic. Solution? “Take as directed.”