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Antibiotic Resistance: A Real Public Health Issue

Antibiotics have transformed medicine. But, misuse of antibiotics can put you and others at risk. Antibiotic resistance is a worldwide problem that affects millions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has named antibiotic resistance public health’s ticking time bomb.1

Antibiotics are medicine that help your body fight off illness. It treats infections caused by germs, including bacteria and some parasites. Antibiotics don’t work against viral infections like the common cold, a sore throat, or the flu. The very first antibiotic, penicillin, was first discovered in 1928. Since this important discovery, once serious and even fatal illnesses can now be treated.2 For example, bacterial meningitis, strep throat, ear infections, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and whooping cough don’t pose as much as a serious threat.3 Before antibiotics, a simple cut on your finger could lead to a life threatening infection.

Microbes are tiny organisms that come in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Some microbes have benefits, while others can be harmful. For example, pathogens, sometimes referred to as germs or bugs, can cause diseases and even death. They also have the ability to develop resistance to drugs. Antibiotic resistance, also known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), is when some microbes resist the effects of antibiotics, meaning they survive and multiply throughout the body.2

Antibiotic resistance reduces the effectiveness of medicine meant to prevent illness. The main reason bacteria is becoming resistant is due to repeated and incorrect use of antibiotics. The CDC has identified seven types of bacteria that pose the biggest antibiotic-resistant threats.1

Healthcare professionals and patients can help in the battle against this major public health risk. Each person, including you, can do their part to protect the human race. Proper use of antibiotics is not only important for your health, but also for the health of others. To prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance, antibiotics should only be used to treat bacterial infections. Take antibiotics only when prescribed by a health professional, complete the full prescription, and never share antibiotics with others. Always take the correct dosage and for the prescribed length of time, even if you feel better.4

Are you interested in current health issues and finding resolutions? Make a difference with a career in healthcare! Charter College offers a variety of healthcare programs that will prepare you for a rewarding career in this high-demand field. We offer a year-round schedule with classes starting every five weeks.