Since their discovery in the 1920s, antibiotics have transformed our ability to treat infections. As antibiotic resistance increases, these lifesaving drugs do not work as well as they once did, and successfully treating common infections becomes more difficult.
Facts About Antibiotic Resistance
- Antibiotic resistance is one of the worlds most pressing public health problems.
- Every time a person takes antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply.
- Overuse of antibiotics is a major modifiable cause of increases in drug-resistant bacteria.
- Overuse and misuse of antibiotics threatens the usefulness of these important drugs.
Decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use is a key strategy to control antibiotic resistance.
- Antibiotic resistance in children and older adults are of particular concern because these age groups have the highest rates of antibiotic use.
- Antibiotic resistance can cause significant suffering for people who have common infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics.
- When antibiotics do not work, infections often last longer, cause more severe illness, require more doctor visits or longer hospital stays,
and involve more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can even cause death.
When you use antibiotics appropriately, you do the best for your health, your family's health, and the health of those around you. Use the links to the left to learn more.