Tips for Fighting Resistance to Antibiotics
By Paul Rothbart
One of the biggest discoveries in the history of medicine was penicillin. This opened up the world of treatment using antibiotics. Many illnesses can be successfully treated using one of the wide variety of medications available. With 150 million antibiotic prescriptions written each year in the U.S. These medications are commonly used. The problem is that many strains of bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics, leaving no viable treatment. The overuse of antibiotics is a contributor to the problem. Although it's up to your primary healthcare provider to prescribe drugs, there are things you can do to help fight the problem.
Stay Current With Your Vaccinations
Vaccinations are the first line of defense for many illnesses that are treated with antibiotics. Tetanus and whooping cough are two of the more common of these diseases. By getting vaccinated, you significantly reduce the risk of getting these illnesses and thus the need for antibiotics. It's important to use these medications as little as possible and vaccinations are an excellent way to enable you to do that.
Don't Try to Talk Your Doctor Into Antibiotics
Antibiotics kill bacteria. They don't work against viruses or germs. There are many people who get sick, go to the doctor, and request antibiotics. Some of them insist and plead to the extent that the doctor acquiesces. Trust your medical professionals. Don't ask for antibiotics if your doctor doesn't suggest them. This is sadly a very common way that antibiotics are overused.
Take All of Your Pills
When a doctor prescribes antibiotics, some people stop taking them when they feel better. The dosage and number of pills you get are planned to wipe out all of the bacteria while curing the infection. If you stop too soon, some of the bacteria may survive and can develop a resistance to the antibiotic. Should you need it in the future, it may not be effective, leaving you with one less treatment option. Finish your prescriptions.
Be Careful in Hospitals
With all of the illnesses that are treated in hospitals, they tend to be places where antibiotic-resistant bacteria flourish. When visiting a hospital for any reason, be careful to wash your hands and avoid touching surfaces. Keep an eye on the medical staff to make sure they are also handwashing. It only takes one slip-up to spread bacteria. If you've had surgery, ask your doctor how to keep the wound free from infection.
Antibiotics revolutionized medical treatments. Bacteria are hardy living creatures that develop resistance to these medications. Take the necessary steps to help fight antibiotic resistance, so your treatments will be effective when you need them.
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