5 Things to Know

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Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs defeat the drugs designed to kill them, called antibiotics. It does NOT mean your body is resistant to antibiotics.

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Antibiotic resistance can affect people at any stage of life. Infections caused by resistant germs are difficult—sometimes impossible—to treat. In many cases, these infections require extended hospital stays, additional follow-up doctor visits, and the use of treatments that may be costly and potentially toxic.

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You can take steps to reduce your risk of getting an infection. For example, healthy habits can protect you from infections and help stop germs from spreading. Get recommended vaccines, keep hands and wounds clean, and take good care of chronic conditions, like diabetes.

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Talk to your healthcare provider or veterinarian about whether antibiotics are needed. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds and the flu. Antibiotics save lives. But, when antibiotics are used, they can lead to side effects and resistance. If you have been taking an antibiotic, tell your doctor if you have three or more diarrhea episodes in 24 hours.

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Tell your healthcare provider if you recently traveled to or received care in another country. Antibiotic resistance has been found in all regions of the world. Modern trade and travel mean it can move easily across borders, and can spread in places like hospitals, farms, the community, and the environment.