Antibiotics Aren't Always The Answer CDC Urges Public To Be Antibiotics Aware
North American Precis Syndicate
When you get a prescription for antibiotics, follow
your doctor's instructions carefully.
Regular hand-washing can
go a long way toward protecting you from germs.
(NAPSI)—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages
patients and families to Be Antibiotics Aware by learning about safe
antibiotic use. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million
people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. At least 23,000 die
as a result.
Antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public's
health, occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed
to kill them.
What Do Antibiotics Treat?
Antibiotics are critical tools for treating a number of common infections,
such as pneumonia, and for life-threatening conditions including sepsis.
Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by
What Don't Antibiotics Treat?
Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds and flu, or runny noses,
even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green. Antibiotics also won't help some
common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus
infections, and some ear infections.
What Are The Side Effects of
Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to
antibiotic resistance. When antibiotics aren't needed, they won't help you,
and the side effects could still hurt you. Common side effects range from
things like rashes and yeast infections to severe health problems. More
serious side effects include Clostridium
difficile infection (also called C.difficile or C. diff), which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon
damage and death.
If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Patients and
families can talk to their healthcare professional if they have any questions
about their antibiotics, or if they develop side effects, especially
diarrhea, since that could be C.
difficile, which needs to be treated.
Can I Feel Better Without
Patients and families can ask their healthcare professional about the best
way to feel better while their body fights off the virus. Respiratory viruses
usually go away in a week or two without treatment.
How Can I Stay Healthy?
We can all stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning our hands,
covering our coughs, staying home when sick, and getting recommended
vaccines, for the flu, for example.
Antibiotics save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits
outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance. Improving the
way we take antibiotics helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic
resistance, and ensures that life-saving antibiotics will be available for
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