Sooner or later, every antimicrobial will have one or more strains of bacteria that are resistant to it, and eventually its usefulness will diminish. The best that we can do is to try to push that time further into the future, to use antimicrobials appropriately, and prolong the time that they are effective. Steps that we can take to do this are listed below.
Things that you can do:
- Don’t ask your doctor for antibiotics when you don’t need them, such as when you or your child has a viral illness, such as the common cold or flu. (For a good source of information for parents on common illnesses in children, what causes them, and appropriate treatments, visit the following link: http://www.dobugsneeddrugs.org/parents/index.html.)
- When prescribed, take the full course of antibiotics as instructed.
- Don’t take your own or anyone else’s left over antibiotics.
- Limit the use of antibacterial products.
- For multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, consider taking part in directly observed treatment (DOT) and commit yourself to the months of treatment prescribed.
Things your community and doctor can do:
- Don’t over prescribe antibiotics.
- Track outbreaks of resistant bacteria; prompt identification, isolation, and treatment can minimize their spread.
Things that are being done on a national level:
- Reduction of the use of antibiotics in animal feed, only use what is necessary to keep animals healthy, not to promote faster growth. Avoid the use of antibiotics that are also commonly used to treat people. (This is a growing area of concern as resistant bacterial strains can arise in the treated animals and then share their resistance with pathogenic bacteria that affect humans).
- Promotion of the wise usage of antibiotics.