• Prevent Antibiotic Resistance: 9 Simple Tips

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    Antibiotic resistance is a global problem.  We continue to read news stories about superbugs, bacteria that are increasingly resistant to common antibiotics.  This resistance is causing new infections and making it difficult to treat others.  We all need to be responsible about the antibiotics we take – using antibiotics to treat viral infections like a cold or flu, using antibiotics too often, and not using antibiotics as prescribed are all contributing to the problem.  Use antibiotics wisely to help protect your health and the health of your family and community.

    It seems to me that whenever I travel by air, I come home with a sniffle or two.  It is not that I am not careful, because I am.  It is just that being squeezed into a minuscule airline seat surrounded by strangers who are breathing, chewing, coughing, and sneezing makes contact unavoidable.  Travelers can carry some DIY Anti-Viral Spray with them; but other than donning a mask and gloves, they run the risk of exposure to all kinds of nasties during their flight.

    These days, it appears to me that the slightest sniffle sends parents, their kids, and even knowledgeable adults to the nearest clinic to pick up a dose of these once-upon-a-time miracle drugs. And clearly, antibiotic drugs can save lives.  But something quite deadly has happened along the highway to miracles: Antibiotic Resistance.

    Today I offer a basic, layman’s primer on antibiotic …

    The emergence of antibiotic resistance creates a new challenge for public health, and there is no simple solution. To treat a resistant infection and prevent resistance from spreading, doctors sometimes prescribe a broad-spectrum approach. This approach combines multiple antibiotics that attack bacteria in different ways. It can work better because it is unlikely that a single bacterium will be resistant to multiple antibiotics. Yet for the same reason, this approach kills many more friendly bacteria and can cause related health complications.

    Antibiotic resistance can also be prevented in other ways. Doctors are being extra careful not to prescribe antibiotics unless they’re absolutely necessary. You can help too. If you need to take an antibiotic, follow the instructions carefully and finish your prescription even if you start feeling better. Antibiotics are a valuable tool for fighting bacterial infections, and using them responsibly now will help make sure they continue working in the future.

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