Antibiotics can save lives. In life-threatening situations, powerful antibiotics need to be administered immediately to avoid a potentially lethal infection.
Unfortunately, these drugs are prescribed all too often without a confirmed diagnosis—and in some cases for people who aren’t suffering from bacterial infections at all.
The key is to prescribe the right antibiotic at the right dosage at the correct time.
How Antibiotic Resistance Starts
Some types of bacteria can divide every 20 minutes under the right conditions. With such fast turnover, these bacteria quickly adapt to antibiotic exposure—especially when doses are too small or taken for too short a time.
This resistance may even pass from one group of bacteria to another, resulting in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can become impervious to nearly every drug thrown at them.
Defending Yourself Against Antibiotic Resistance
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to defend yourself in a world where antibiotics are becoming increasingly unreliable.
It starts with commonsense precautions, such as washing produce (and your hands) thoroughly, and cooking food (especially animal protein) properly.
You might also want to consider what goes on your plate.
Meat lovers may want to rethink their consumption of meat by cutting back on quantity and increasing the quality. While there’s no evidence that eating meat raised without antibiotics will help you avoid resistant infections, experts say increased demand for higher-quality meats may lower overall consumption.
What to Do After Being Prescribed Antibiotics
Medical experts warn not to treat antibiotics lightly. Be sure to ask your physician about your specific diagnosis and what you’re infected with, and to follow dosing instructions. Also, ask about side effects.
Once you have completed your antibiotic treatment, it is recommended that you take a high-quality probiotic to support your gut microbiome.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
If you were in the hospital, it’s especially important to remind your healthcare providers to clean their hands before they touch you. And if you have a catheter, be sure to ask every day, “Do I still need this catheter?”
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.