Did you know that about two million people in the U.S. are infected with drug resistant bacteria every year, and that 23,000 of those people will die from their infections? Here’s the good news: there are simple things you can do to help prevent infections and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In the video above, Dr. John Baxter and Dr. Raquel Nahra with the Infectious Diseases department at Cooper explain why antibiotic resistance is such an important topic, and what you can do to stay safe. Among their tips:
- DO take antibiotics as prescribed.
- DON’T skip a dose or stop early because you’re feeling better.
- DO get your flu shot.
- DON’T take someone else’s prescription.
Help spread the message about infection prevention! The CDC has helpful resources on these topics, too:
Do you have a topic you’d like to learn more about from an expert at Cooper? Leave a comment below.
Rosaria, Cooper Social Media: Infection prevention is an important way that Cooper keeps its patients safe. Today I’m speaking with Dr. Raquel Nahra and Dr. John Baxter about ways that we can prevent antibiotic resistance, which is the theme of this year’s Infection Prevention Week. So let’s start off by asking, what are antibiotics and what does antibiotic resistance mean?
Raquel Nahra, MD: Antibiotics are medication that we use to treat an infection caused by a bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of the microbe or bacteria to fight the effects of those drugs. So when the germ is not killed by the antibiotic or the drug used, it means that it is resistant to that drug. It happens by different mechanisms, some of them can be mutations, and often from exposure to prior antibiotics.
Rosaria: So how big of a problem is this? Why is it so important?
John Baxter, MD: It’s really a major problem in the U.S. About two million people are infected with drug resistant bacteria each year in this country and of those infected, about 23,000 die of their infections due to resistant bacteria.
Rosaria: What are some things that we do either in the hospital or that we can do at home to kind of help get a handle on antibiotic resistance as a problem?
Dr. Baxter: One of the most important things is really to just use antibiotics appropriately whether its in the hospital setting or its in the outpatient setting. If a patient has let’s say a viral infection, then treating with an antibiotic is unnecessary and actually just leads to more resistance. So some other things people can do in the outpatient setting is make sure that they take the antibiotics exactly as prescribed, that they don’t skip doses, that they don’t use someone else’s prescription, for example, and that they only take antibiotics when they really need them and when they’ve been prescribed by their health care provider. The other thing individuals can do particularly now that we’re heading into flu season is to get their flu vaccine, and that’s very effective in preventing influenza and also that will reduce the likelihood of people getting unnecessary treatment with antibiotics.
Rosaria: So if people want to learn more about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, are there more resources, is there more education that they can get?
Dr. Nahra: Yes, the CDC provides excellent resources explaining different resistance, the mechanisms of resistance, and brings it in a very concise and precise way for people to read about it. It’s a very pleasant read, I would say.
Rosaria: Great! Thank you both so much for all of this information, we’re going to link to some of the resources that we mentioned and we’ll have more information about antibiotic resistance and what you can do to help prevent infections on our blog so be sure to link there after you’ve watched our video. Thank you so much, and thank you both for your time today.
Dr. Baxter and Dr. Nahra: Thank you.