Decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use is key strategy to control drug resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a larger public health threat than most people realize. And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about half of all antibiotics in outpatient settings are incorrectly prescribed.

According to the CDC, each year in the U.S., at least 2.8 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection. 35,000 of those people die.

We believe Beaumont has a duty to raise awareness and help change attitudes about antibiotics and behaviors that cause antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics save lives. But when they're used too much, they can lead to antibiotic resistance."

Dr. Sam Flanders, senior vice president and chief quality and safety officer of Beaumont Health

Overuse of antibiotics is a major cause of the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. Their overuse and misuse can threaten the effectiveness of these important drugs. Decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use is a key strategy to control antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance in children and older adults is of particular concern because these age groups have the highest rates of antibiotic use.

When antibiotics do not work, infections:

  • often last longer and cause more severe illness
  • require more doctor visits or longer hospital stays
  • involve more expensive and toxic medications
  • can be deadly

Just say no to antibiotics for colds or flu

Truth: Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. They aren't effective against viral infections, like colds and flu. When your doctor determines a virus is causing your illness, treat your symptoms. Stay home. Rest. Drink fluids.

"As awful as you feel with a cold or flu, do not expect or ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics," said Dr. Paul Chittick, a Beaumont infectious disease specialist. "If you take antibiotics for a virus, you would only expose yourself to the medication's side effects without gaining any health benefit from the drug." Dr. Chittick continued, "Also, keep in mind that whenever antibiotics enter your body, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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