This week marks U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week. A week focusing on raising public awareness of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and preventing the spread of this dangerous bacteria.
So what is antibiotic resistance? Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are the bacteria in your body that have become resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them. When this happens, antibiotics become ineffective and the bacteria in your body has a chance to multiply. Because of their antibiotic resistance, these bacteria are harder to treat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic resistance has become a greater problem in recent years due to problems like: over-prescribing of antibiotics, patients misusing their antibiotics, antibiotics use in agriculture, poor hygiene, and more.
The scary truth is that antibiotic resistance doesn’t just make your illness harder to treat, in some cases, it has caused fatalities. The CDC has labeled antibiotic resistance as a “growing global crisis” that has caused up to 58,000 deaths a year in India, and 23,000+ deaths per year here in the United States. The U.S. is the most medically advanced country in the world, and this is still a problem.
Fortunately, there are steps we can all take to stop this global problem and protect ourselves. When sick, ask yourself if you have a virus or a bacterial infection. Viruses like the cold and the flu, cannot be treated with antibiotics. Being antibiotic aware will protect your body from unnecessary antibiotic use and the development of resistant bacteria. Preventative measures should also be taken when sick. If you’re not feeling well, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, cover your mouth when you cough, and stay home from school or work.
If you’d like to learn more about antibiotic resistance and what you can do to protect you and your family from this harmful bacteria, contact one of our skilled Public Health Nurses at 304-265-1288 or visit our website at www.GTCHDWV.org.