Be Smart about Antibiotics Use: Three Things to Remember

Antibiotics treat certain infections caused by bacteria and work as a critical tool in treating life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and sepsis, which is the body’s extreme response to infection.

“When your healthcare provider prescribes antibiotics, take them as directed – no more and no less than the recommended dosage,” said Julie Downen, PharmD., an antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist with Memorial Health. “Some patients do experience side effects while taking antibiotics, but the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects and antibiotic resistance.”

Antibiotics do not work on viruses that cause colds, flu, COVID-19 or runny noses even if mucus is thick, yellow or green. Antibiotics also won’t help some common bacterial infections, including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections and some ear infections.

Antibiotic resistance has emerged as an urgent public health threat in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year with more than 35,000 deaths as a result.

Important to remember:

  • Antibiotic resistance does not mean the body is becoming resistant to antibiotics. It means bacteria have developed the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them.
  • When bacteria become resistant, antibiotics cannot fight them and the bacteria multiply, increasing the threat to the body.
  • Some resistant bacteria can be harder to treat and can spread to other people.

Don’t hesitate to talk about antibiotic use with your healthcare provider.

Do you need a primary care physician? Physician groups at Memorial Health are now accepting new patients.

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