ABC’s of Antibiotics

Did you know?

Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. Using antibiotics the wrong way can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people get serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more of the antibiotics designed to treat those infections. At least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections. This is why healthcare providers are being more careful when prescribing antibiotics.

The ABC’s of antibiotics is an easy way to remember what antibiotics are and when they are necessary:

  • A- Ask–“Are these antibiotics necessary?” “What can I do to feel better?”
  • B-Bacteria–Antibiotics do not kill viruses. They only kill bacteria.
  • C-Complete the Course–Take all of your antibiotics exactly as prescribed (even if you are feeling better).

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the ability of antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

How can I help prevent antibiotic resistance?

  • Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare provider instructs.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed for you.
  • Do not save antibiotics for the next illness or share them with others.
  • Do not pressure your healthcare provider for antibiotics.

To learn more on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, visit cdc.gov/getsmart.

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