Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose serious threat, CDC says
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.”
In addition, the CDC states, nearly a quarter of a million people who are hospitalized or require hospitalization contract Clostridium difficile each year, an infection usually tied to antibiotic use. C. difficile causes deadly diarrhea and kills at least 14,000 people each year.
This report marks the first time that the CDC has attributed a number of cases to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bugs. In order to best fight the chances of contracting one of these potentially deadly bugs, the CDC recommends:
- Get updated and regular vaccinations against drug-resistant bacteria
- Wash your hands before eating and after using the restroom to avoid putting drug-resistant bacteria into your body
- Wash your hands after handling uncooked food to prevent ingesting drug-resistant bacteria that can live on food
- Cook meat and poultry thoroughly to kill bacteria, including potential drug-resistant bacteria
Most importantly, however, experts recommend that you use antibiotics properly. If you are sick, do not demand antibiotics from your doctor or take antibiotics that were not prescribed to you directly for your specific illness. When taking antibiotics, do not skip doses, and make sure to follow the directions about dose and duration from your doctor.
“Patients need to understand that antibiotics are appropriate only to treat bacterial infections—not viral infections,” says Dr. Jennifer DeBruler, a physician with Advocate Medical Group. “You need to make sure you see your physician first to confirm if what you have requires antibiotic treatment, or just rest and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms.”
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