Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are capable of resisting the effects of
antibiotics. This can occur for many reasons for example, taking antibiotics when you do not have an infection caused by bacteria or not taking antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
Many common infections like the common cold, most sore throats and the flu are actually caused by viruses. Antibiotics are only effective against infections caused by bacteria and cannot kill viruses. Overuse and overprescribing of antibiotics has markedly increased bacterial resistance in recent years. We all normally have bacteria that live on and in our bodies. The more antibiotics we take the more likely these bacteria are to become resistant to antibiotics and potentially cause infection.
Some common signs that you may have an infection caused by bacteria and you should contact your physician include:
- Fever higher than 100 °F
- Symptoms that last more than 7-10 days
- Symptoms that are not relived by over the counter medications
What can you do to prevent antibiotic resistance?
- If prescribed antibiotics make sure to take the full course of antibiotics and follow the prescription directions
- Don’t always assume that an antibiotic will be the answer to your cold and flu symptoms
(Written by Tria Health Pharmacy Student Intern Jessica McClain, UMKC School of Pharmacy)