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Get smart about antibiotics Nov. 17-23

Mon November 17, 2014

Infections caused by resistant bacteria have become more common, and many bacteria have become resistant to multiple antibiotics. In fact, each year more than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result.
The DuPage County Health Department is joining public health partners across the United States to encourage everyone during Get Smart About Antibiotics Week (Nov. 17-23) to be more aware of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing.

Here is what is known: 

  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the world's most pressing public health threats. 
  • Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life‐threatening bacterial diseases, but antibiotics can have side effects.
  • Antibiotic overuse increases the development of drug-resistant germs. 
  • Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, not viral infections. Treating viruses with antibiotics does not work, and it increases the likelihood that you will become ill with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.
  • Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving antibiotic use - ultimately improving medical care and saving lives.

Here is what you can do:

  • Take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes. Never skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
  • Do not save antibiotics for the next illness. Discard any leftover medication once the prescribed course of treatment is completed.
  • Prevent infections by practicing good hand hygiene and getting recommended vaccines.
  • Do not ask for antibiotics when your doctor thinks you do not need them. Remember antibiotics have side effects. When your doctor says you don't need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.

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