WASHINGTON–More and more people are getting sick due to a built up resistance to antibiotics.
Each year in the United States, more than 2 million people get sick from antibiotic resistance and 23,000 die, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection reports. The numbers are similar in Europe.
The CDC released the numbers as part of antibiotic resistance week, which is meant to raise awareness about the growing threat.
The CDC is reinforcing that you should only take antibiotics when it’s vitally necessary. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, such as the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections.
Common illnesses that can be treated with an antibiotic because they are bacterial infections include the whooping cough, strep throat and urinary tract infections.
Bacteria can become resistant when it learns how to create an infection that isn’t treatable with the typical antibiotic. Every time you contract an illness that is antibiotic resistant, it poses a greater threat to your health because then you can’t cure it. This is especially dangerous for people who are not usually healthy.
The fear is that a superbug could spread fast and harm a lot of people because it’s not treatable. Superbugs are drug-resistant illnesses, and the CDC now ranks them as urgent, serious or concerning based on how many become sick from it.
Some ways to stay safe include getting cultures or tests to confirm a bacterial virus before taking the medication, taking the recommended dose, and having the doctor reassess your condition after about 48 hours to see if you can change your medication dose or stop taking it. It’s also important to not skip doses.