Antibiotic resistance breeds superbugs, but you can help

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Are you aware of the problem of the improper use and overuse of antibiotics worldwide?

We are now using antibiotic medications, cream, soap, cleanser, spray and who-knows-what. Because bacteria are living organisms, they change or mutate in order to resist antibacterial products.

Each time you take antibiotics, you increase the chances the bacteria in your body will develop a resistance to that medication. Resistant infections may become less and less treatable and therefore more infectious and dangerous.

You can play a role in decreasing antibiotic resistance and its problems. First, know the difference between a bacterial and a viral infection. Don’t ask for an antibiotic to treat viruses, like those that cause colds, flu or COVID-19.

Instead, ask your health care provider or pharmacist how to feel better. In some cases, rest and drinking lots of water will help you. If you have a fever, acetaminophen may be enough to make you more comfortable.

Second, if you are prescribed antibiotics for a specific infection, follow the instructions, including how much to use and when to stop. (Use antibiotic salve until a scab forms. Take all the antibiotic pills until they’re gone.)

Third, soap and/or bleach water will kill germs, without contributing to antibacterial resistance.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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