According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.
This year in the United States, over 2.8 million people got an antibiotic-resistant infection and over 35-thousand of those people ended up dying.
Overusing or misusing antibiotics is serious and can have an everlasting effect on your life. This week is to dedicated to shed some light on that.
There is an increasing number of people who overuse antibiotics or take them when they aren’t even needed, which causes antibiotic resistance.
To break it down, this happens when bacteria in your body become immune to the antibiotics that are designed to kill them. According to a physician we spoke with, it’s not that your body is resisting the antibiotics, it’s the bacteria and fungi that are.
Sanford Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mateo says, “We see a lot more of simple infections becoming complicated because whatever antibiotics they use at the frontline, the emergency room, walk-in clinics, primary physician care offices–the antibiotics used there don’t work– so what happens patients will develop more illness, disease, and that’s when I get to see them.”
Dr. Mateo says when he first got to North Dakota, he noticed an overuse of antibiotics. The development of new antibiotics is an intensive and expensive process. This is why the production of new antibiotics that could possibly treat resistant bacteria has decreased.
“The more rigorous way is figuring out what is causing the infection,” says Mateo. “If you determine a cause you can fashion a treatment more effectively. It’s going to be more effective. It’s going to be safer and you potentially use it for a shorter period of time, so the point here is that diagnostics is where you have to focus on to use antibiotics judiciously.”
Dr. Mateo adds that many pharmaceutical companies are not big on developing new antibiotics because of cost and timeliness. The North Dakota Department of Health says to not pressure your doctor for a prescription either.
The CDC reports hospitals have made significant progress in preventing infections, but more is still needed to be done.
The CDC gives some tips to protect yourself:
- Know Your Risk, Ask Questions, and Take Care
- Clean Your Hands
- Get Vaccinated
- Use Antibiotics Appropriately and don’t take them if you have a virus
Some common symptoms of antibiotics include rash, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections. You should call your doctor if you develop any side effects while taking your antibiotics and make sure to talk to your local health physician about your antibiotic use.