Be antibiotic aware
BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is advising patients and their families to use antibiotics only when necessary to further reduce antibiotic resistance, the spread of superbugs, and protect patients from side effects from antibiotics. During Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 18-22, the NDDoH promotes Be Antibiotics Aware, an educational effort to raise awareness about the importance of safe antibiotic use.
“Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them,” states Dr. Noe Mateo, Infectious Disease physician and consultant for the NDDoH. “Antibiotic resistance does not mean your body is resistant to antibiotics; it means that the bacteria or fungi are resistant to the antibiotics.”
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection and at least 23,000 of those people die. It is important that everyone ensures these life-saving drugs will be available for future generations. The NDDoH asks patients to remember the following tips:
- Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy by cleaning hands, covering coughs, staying home when sick, and getting recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.
- Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as those that cause colds, flu, bronchitis, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow, or green.
- Antibiotics also won’t help for some common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections, and some ear infections so don’t pressure your provider to give you unnecessary antibiotics that can contribute to drug resistance.
- Ask about the best way to feel better while your body fights off a virus. Pain relievers, fever reducers, saline nasal spray or drops, warm compresses, liquids, and rest can reduce symptoms.
- If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed and ask your provider if you have any questions about your antibiotics. When antibiotics are needed, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects or antibiotic resistance.
- Common side effects of antibiotics can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, or yeast infections. Talk with your provider if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a C. difficile infection, which needs to be treated.
For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/protecting_yourself_family.html and https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.