Antibiotics: Back on Track
by Tiffany LaFontaine
Antibiotics are powerful medicines and critical tools used to treat a number of common and serious infections.
Just as with any type of medication, proper instruction and usage is essential for effectiveness. It’s important to remember that everyone can help improve antibiotic prescribing and use, starting with understanding a few important key concepts.
First, antibiotics cure bacterial infections, but not viral infections. An antibiotic will not make you feel better if you have a virus and will not keep others from getting sick. During your health care visit, make sure to ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
Secondly, if you are prescribed an antibiotic, take them exactly as directed. Never save antibiotics for the next time you become sick and do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. When antibiotics are overused or used incorrectly, bacteria may develop the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and some resistant bacteria can be difficult to treat and can spread to other people.
Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we, the patients, take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these lifesaving drugs will be available for future generations. Mission Health facilities furthers these practices through their antibiotic stewardship program, a coordinated team that promotes the appropriate use of antimicrobials, improves patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance, and decreases the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.
If you have more questions, speak with your health care provider or visit cdc.gov/antibiotic-use for more information and to learn about the Center for Disease Control’s “Be Antibiotic Aware, Smart Use, Best Care” campaign. To find a local provider in your area, visit missionhealth.org/highlands-cashiers.