Antibiotic Resistance: What You Need to Know

Antibiotic medications have saved millions of lives over the years and kept people safe from infections and other dangers. However, antibiotic or antimicrobial resistance is a considerable danger that needs to be fully understood and prevented to ensure that you don’t experience this life-threatening situation.

What Is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance refers to a condition in which antibiotic medications lose their ability to control or kill bacteria properly. This situation occurs because bacteria evolve in time to resist any antibiotics it sees repeatedly. Therefore, repeated use of an antibiotic increases a person’s risk of developing this problem.

Antimicrobial resistance of this type can make treating infections more challenging because traditional treatment methods may simply not work as well as expected. Without this high level of protection, many people may experience severe and even life-threatening infection dangers.

Why Is Antibiotic Resistance a Danger?

Antibiotic resistance affects more than two million people every year and kills at least 23,000. These numbers may increase as antibiotics continually get overprescribed and used when not needed. For example, someone with a viral infection does not need antibiotics for their treatment.

While antimicrobial resistance is treatable when handled appropriately, it is best to avoid this problem to keep yourself or your loved ones safe. Thankfully, many different approaches can help minimize your risk and ensure you’re happy and healthy for years to come.

How Can You Prevent Antibiotic Resistance?

The best prevention for this problem is to only take antibiotics when needed, typically when suffering from infections. Doctors are getting better at not prescribing these medicines when not required, but taking care not to use old antibiotics for colds, cases of flu, and other viral infections can help.

Just as importantly, you must complete the entire course of medication when taking antibiotics, even if you start feeling better. Stopping may not totally kill the bacteria and allow it to evolve and resist antibiotics later. Finishing all antibiotics prescribed will minimize this scary risk and protect you and others.

Staying Safe and Healthy

Take antimicrobial resistance seriously and work with your primary caregiver to minimize its risk. Talking with your family about this problem, including using antibiotics properly and always finishing the entire antibiotic treatment, can protect you and others. If resistant bacteria gets out into the wild, it can spread to others and cause even more significant health risks.