Antibiotic Resistance (cont.)

Prevention of antimicrobial drug resistance

To prevent antimicrobial resistance, you and your healthcare provider should discuss the appropriate medicine for your illness. Strictly follow prescription medicine directions, and never share or take medicine that was prescribed for someone else. Talk with your healthcare provider so that he or she has a clear understanding of your symptoms and can decide whether an antimicrobial drug, such as an antibiotic, is appropriate.

Do not save your antibiotic for the next time you get sick. Take the medicine exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. If your healthcare provider has prescribed more than the required dose, appropriately discard leftover medicines once you have completed the prescribed course of treatment.

Healthy lifestyle habits, including proper diet, exercise, and sleeping patterns as well as good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, can help prevent illness, therefore also preventing the overuse or misuse of medications.

Antimicrobial resistance: A growing health issue

The emergence of drug-resistant microbes is not new or unexpected. Both natural causes and societal pressures drive bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other microbes to continually change in an effort to evade the drugs developed to kill them.

Natural causes

Like all organisms, microbes undergo random genetic mutations, and these changes can enhance drug resistance. Resistance to a drug arising by chance in just a few organisms can quickly spread through rapid reproduction to entire populations of a microbe.

Societal pressures

Antimicrobial resistance is fostered by the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial drugs in people as well as animals; a lack of diagnostic tests to rapidly identify infectious agents; and poor hand hygiene and infection control in healthcare and community settings.

Together, these forces contribute to the problem of drug-resistant infections that are increasingly difficult and costly to treat.


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