The Superbug Problem
Since the advent of the antibiotic “superdrug” in the 1940s, a new villain, the “superbug” has emerged and has been making national and international headlines over the past two decades. These multi-drug resistant strains of bacteria are a problem because of the large degree of death and disease caused by them and the limited ways to treat infections.
What can we do about it?
The best way to prevent the emergence of multi-resistant strains of bacteria is actually quite simple: use antibiotics properly. It is not surprising that many people are drawn to overusing antibiotics, especially with their increasing availability. A common misconception is that antibiotics are the cure-all of all diseases, when in fact, they are useless against diseases such as cold and flu, which are caused by viruses. Unfortunately, both patients and doctors contribute to the problem; doctors are more likely to prescribe an antibiotic to a demanding patient, even when the symptoms don’t warrant it.
While overuse of antibiotics can limit their effectiveness, misuse is another part of the problem. Careful studies and clinical trials have been conducted to provide doctors with the most effective dosing and scheduling of antibiotic use for specific types of infections. It is essential for patients to follow their doctors’ orders to effectively eliminate the infection, without giving the bacteria an opportunity to develop antibiotic resistance.
3 Tips for Superbug Prevention
Don’t demand a prescription of antibiotics from your doctor, unless he or she has diagnosed your affliction as a bacterial infection that requires it.
Take all of the antibiotics as prescribed, even if the symptoms subside.
- Never share your antibiotics with friends or family, even if you are 100% sure that they have the same infection. Let your doctor do the exam and write a new prescription.
SUPERBUGS: Protecting the Power of Antibiotics. CDC Foundation.