What Are Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?
Each year, around 2 million people get infections from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. When someone ends up with an antibiotic-resistant infection, the illness is much harder to treat. Everyone should be careful about antibiotic use so as not to contribute to antibiotic resistance. How can people accomplish this? For starters, always ask these 5 questions about a new antibiotic prescription.
1. How should I take my prescription?
Understanding medication instructions is a crucial part of medication effectiveness. This means that people need to understand how often and how long to take any medication, including antibiotics. Some prescriptions will include taking the pill multiple times per day, while others are a once-daily dose. Many antibiotics are also best taken with food to avoid an upset stomach.
2. Do I have another option?
Antibiotics are not always the answer. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily contributes to a problem called antibiotic resistance. This resistance occurs when specific bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. The result is an increased reliance on more potent, more expensive drugs and more complicated illnesses. While antibiotics are the best option in some cases, sometimes the prescription is not needed.
3. When do antibiotics work?
Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, not viral ones. Using antibiotics for a viral infection won’t make someone feel better and won’t protect others from disease. However, in cases such as strep throat, whooping cough, or urinary tract infections (UTIs), antibiotics can be powerful.
4. What are the potential side effects?
The most common side effects of antibiotics include gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Often, these side effects can be prevented by taking antibiotics with food.
5. What if I start feeling better before my prescription runs out?
Many people incorrectly assume that feeling better is a sign that the antibiotic is no longer needed. However, not taking the full antibiotic dosage or prescription is associated with antibiotic resistance and increases the risk of getting sick again. Always take the full round of antibiotics, regardless of whether symptoms of illness go away sooner.
Increasing antibiotic awareness
When antibiotics are necessary, the medications can be crucial, life-saving interventions. Antibiotic resistance is a problem everyone needs to be aware of. However, when a healthcare provider does prescribe antibiotics, this typically means that the benefits of the medicine will outweigh any potential side effects or problems. For more information about antibiotics, speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist.