Antibiotics are great for helping your body fight off bacterial infections but can be dangerous if taken needlessly or for the wrong reason.
The CDC released a 2013 Threat Report warning the public of the most recent dangers of overuse of antibiotics and the repercussions of the medication.
What is the Problem?
Overuse of antibiotics by Americans is is allowing bacteria to have the upper hand against our remedies. The bacteria are learning the drugs and finding ways to overcome them, leaving us with un-treatable infections that can be life-threatening. The CDC report tells us that this is the case with over 2 million people and that 23,000 people die each year from treatment-resistant infections. The most common bacteria that is antibiotic-resistant is Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). This is a name you should get to know. Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized for this infection each year. This problem is not only dangerous but costly as well. Treatment-resistant infections often result in longer hospital stays, more doctors visits, more expensive treatments, and an overall higher medical bill than infections treated with antibiotics.
How do we stop overuse of antibiotics?
The purpose of antibiotics is to slow down or halt the growth of bacteria. They are ineffective on viruses. Many bacteria have already mutated to resist our antibiotics, this cannot be undone. What we can do is prevent this from happening to even more bacteria. To better ensure that your body will react well to antibiotics if ever needed, always follow the instruction of your doctor down to the letter, do not use left over antibiotics for a different illness and don’t demand antibiotics as a treatment. These are the most common misuses of antibiotics. Viral infections such as common colds, bronchitis, the flu, ear infections, croup and others should not be given antibiotics. Stopping overuse of antibiotics by seeing a doctor every time you or your child is ill will help control the rate at which new bacteria mutate.