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In this story, we are following up on the heels of the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that estimates more than 2.8 Million antibiotic-resistant infections now happen every year in the U.S., resulting in 35,000 deaths. Misuse of antibiotics is accelerating antibiotic resistance, and more and more infections are becoming more difficult to treat as antibiotics become less effective.
Here is part 2 of our True or False quiz on antibiotic basics, with Alex Novin, pharmacist and infectious disease clinical specialist with UCHealth Memorial, and Dr. Ian Tullberg, medical director of Urgent Care for UCHealth in southern Colorado.
True or False, if you feel sick, taking leftover antibiotics you may have around the house will make you feel better.
Dr. Tullberg says, “The answer is false. Antibiotics are prescribed for a certain reason, and certain antibiotics are used for certain infections. People might also have allergies to that leftover antibiotic prescribed for someone else, so you need to make sure you’re getting the right antibiotic for the right situation for you. Taking a different antibiotic could result in the absolute failure of the antibiotic. It could result in you getting worse, and it could have some type of side effect or allergic reaction that causes a lot more problems and you could end up in the hospital.”
True or False, antibiotic resistance is a big problem in America today.
Alex says, “That is true. Antibiotic resistance is basically when the bacteria are no longer killed the way they're supposed to be when we give them antibiotics. It's such a large problem it's going to be hard to get our arms around it as a world. It is not really easy to make new antibiotics; it takes years and sometimes when antibiotics come out the bacteria are already resistant to them or they get resistant to them very quickly after they're released, so we have to do better at using what we have. Just to give you a scope of the problem over 2 million Americans get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year.”
True or False, if I use antibiotics and get a resistant bacteria that will only affect me.
Dr. Tullberg says, “Absolutely false on this one. The problem with resistant bacteria is it affects our community. Everyone who comes into our clinics and says, ‘Well, I I don't take antibiotics all that often so go ahead and give me an antibiotic this time, it's not going to cause a big resistant problem.’ … Unfortunately, those bugs that are in you, are now out in the community because of the antibiotics you are taking. This is one of those ‘think about your neighbor, think about someone down the street.’ They are the ones who are unfortunately reaping the side effects of you taking antibiotics incorrectly. They very possibly could get this resistant bug and end up having to see a physician themselves because of some type of resistance that could have been prevented by you not taking the initial antibiotic.”
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