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CDC: Antibiotic Misuse Creating a “Serious Health Threat” Worldwide

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bacteria The development of antibiotics in the 1930s was, at the time, a ground-breaking, life-saving marvel of science. The idea and ultimate hope was that no one would ever die from a bacterial infection again.

And for a long while, this was the case. But unfortunately, the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics over the years has made some bacterial infections deadlier than ever, thanks to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

In a report released this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paints a bleak picture about superbugs—the most urgent threats to human health being the diarrheal infection Clostridium difficile, a family of bacteria called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and the sexually transmitted infection Neisseria gonorrhea.

According to this report, at least 2 million people acquire serious drug-resistant bacterial infections every year—and 23,000 die as a result of not being able to receive curative treatment. The most prolific of these resistant bugs is C. difficile, which claims 14,000 lives yearly.

Stopping the development of superbugs and minimizing your exposure to them can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be, if you follow a few simple steps.

1. Use only when absolutely necessary

10-9-2013 5-02-35 PM Likely the most important tip you’ll ever hear with regards to antibiotic use: Use antibiotics (the full course, as directed) only when absolutely necessary. This means only when you have a true bacterial infection that your body’s immune system can’t fight off on its own. Believe it or not, up to 50 percent of antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly or unnecessarily for illnesses like colds, flu, coughs and other viral infections.

As you likely know, antibiotics do not treat or cure viral infections. Taking antibiotics to try to kill off a virus does nothing but expose you to the side effects of the medication, making you vulnerable to the creation of superbugs in your own body. Talk to your physician about the nature of your illness and ask if it’s viral or bacterial.

But this might not be as important as eliminating the most common source hidden antibiotics: your food.

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