August 18, 2015

Yellow brown antibiotic capsules on white background

Antibiotics changed medicine in the 20th century but the benefits of the medicine also brought drawbacks. Overuse of antibiotics, especially in live-stock raising, prompted bacteria to develop a resistance to them. In fact, the World Health Organization classified antimicrobial resistance as a serious threat in every region of the world and one that has the potential to affect anyone no matter their age or where they live. But used correctly, antibiotics can be a quick, effective way to recover from illness.

Administration

Antibiotics can be taken orally, intravenously or applied topically depending on the location and severity of the infection.

Resistance

Overuse of antibiotics and inappropriate treatments using them led to the emergence of so-called “superbugs,” antibiotics-resistant diseases that were once well-controlled.

How do you prevent resistance?

  • Only take prescribed antibiotics for bacterial infections. (antibiotics will not affect viral infections)
  • Take prescribed antibiotics exactly as they are ordered. (stopping the antibiotic early because you are feeling better will only increase the likelihood that the bacteria will become resistant and reoccur only stronger)
  • Do not share antibiotics (if you are prescribed antibiotics, they are specifically ordered for size, age, and type of infection)

Used correctly, antibiotics can save lives by killing bacteria or keep them from multiplying. Just be sure to follow the directions and the doctor’s orders before using antibiotics or any type of prescription medication.