Dr. Mehmet Oz answered:
A few things you can do to prevent spread of drug resistant bacteria are:
Learn the difference between a bacterial and viral infection. Antibiotics only work on bacteria. Period. They do not work on viruses. Ever. So if you have a cold, flu, bronchitis, a runny nose, or a sore throat (unless it is strep throat), taking antibiotics will not make you feel better, cure the disease, or prevent others from catching it.
Do not insist your doctor give you a prescription for an antibiotic. Patients have come to expect that if they go to the doctor, they should leave with a prescription. Believe it or not, doctors feel pressured by patients into writing antibiotic prescriptions whenever a patient asks for one. Avoid the temptation to ask for a prescription if it is not medically indicated. Instead, ask what you can do to feel better without taking antibiotics. Conversely, if your healthcare provider offers you an antibiotic, ask if it absolutely necessary.
Take antibiotics properly as prescribed. Only take antibiotics prescribed to you specifically and follow the directions carefully. Do not skip any doses and take the full course even if you start feeling better. Stopping prematurely can cause the infection to roar back, which will require more antibiotics that might not work as well. Throw out leftover antibiotics and do not save them for the next time you are sick. Never share antibiotics with anyone else.
Prevent infections from spreading. Wash your hands frequently and correctly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer if water is not available. If you are in the hospital, make sure anyone entering your room washes his or her hands, and speak up to remind them if they don't, even if it is your doctor! If you must be in the hospital, get out as soon as you are able.
Demand better legislation to avoid a public health crisis. Since there is little incentive for pharmaceutical companies to engage in new antibiotic discovery, it is imperative that the government enact stronger legislation to keep antibiotic development robust. You can become an advocate for better antibiotic legislation by writing to your local and state representatives and senators.A few things you can do to prevent spread of drug resistant bacteria are: Learn the difference between a bacterial and viral infection. Antibiotics only work on bacteria. Period. They do not work on viruses. Ever. So if you have a cold, flu,... More