The world is running out of antibiotics! And that’s a major threat to the health of all people.
When we build up a resistance to antibiotics because of incorrect use, they no longer work well. And when these medicines become less effective, all bacterial infections become harder to treat. The World Health Organization tells us the world needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. So, what is our role in this effort?
At HealthPartners, we have teams of experts who want to make sure antibiotics are used wisely. The teams are also working on how we can teach patients the best way to use them. HealthPartners is committed to this important work. Along with other organizations from around the world, we have signed a pledge. We will use antibiotics in the correct way. This effort is part of the Global Chief Medical Officers Network.
4 reasons why using antibiotics the wrong way puts us all at risk
- Antibiotics can only prevent or treat bacterial infections. They will not work on viruses.
- Overusing, underusing or misusing them are the main causes of bacteria becoming more resistant.
- Antibiotics used now and those that are being developed are not expected to be effective against the most dangerous forms of resistant bacteria.
- Resistance can lead to people being sick longer. It can also lead to higher medical costs for patients and members. More people can die from infections.
How you can help make antibiotics more effective
- Wash your hands. This is one of the best ways to prevent or stop the spread of infections.
- If you or a family member is feeling sick, do not always ask for antibiotics. Your doctor will decide if you have an illness that can be treated with it.
- If they are prescribed, be sure to take antibiotics exactly as directed.
For more information, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization websites.