Get Smart About Antibiotics

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There was a recent proclamation by the White House as a federal effort to address the issue of antibiotics use. There is a misconception about antibiotic resistance that presents an obstacle in battling the problem. A World Health Organization survey was just released to help raise awareness about the threat. Margaret Chan, MD, MPH, the World Health Organization’s director-general said the world is in danger of losing its first-line antibiotics. She said if current antibiotic resistance trends continue, medical care could become more difficult and dangerous, spelling the end of modern medicine as we know it. The survey revealed several misconceptions including: (1) 76% thought antibiotic resistance occurred when the body becomes resistant to the drugs, when in reality, it is the bacteria that become resistant and can cause infections that are hard to treat; (2) 64% of respondents thought antibiotics could be used to treat illnesses that they’re not indicated for, and about a third said it’s okay to stop taking their prescribed antibiotic once they start feeling better. Keiji Fukuda, MD, the director-general’s special representative for antimicrobial resistance noted that taking the full course makes an individual’s use least likely to contribute to resistance; (3) Another misconception was that 57% of participants didn’t feel there was much they could do to help solve the problem, however, patients can ask their doctors if they really need prescribed antibiotics and if the answer is yes, then patients can help by taking the full course as prescribed. Check out the following sites for more information on this topic: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/antibiotic-resistance/en/ and http://www.who.int/drugresistance/documents/baselinesurveynov2015/en/

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