Protect Yourself and Your Family

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Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat. Antibiotic resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.

Antibiotic resistance does not mean our body is resistant to antibiotics. It means that the bacteria or fungi are not killed and continue to grow. No one can completely avoid getting an infection, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and help stop the spread of germs.

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Know Your Risk, Ask Questions, and Take Care

Keep cuts clean and covered until healed, and take good care of chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease. Speak upexternal icon with questions or concerns. Ask your healthcare provider about risks for certain infections and sepsis, the body’s extreme response to infection.

Keep your pets healthy, too. Talk to your veterinarian about antibiotic resistance and using antibiotics only when needed to prevent  risks to  your pets, including germs like carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE).

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Clean Your Hands

Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent infections, avoid getting sick, and prevent spreading germs. This video explains how washing your hands can fight germs that get on our hands every day.

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Get Vaccinated

Vaccines are an important step to prevent infections, including resistant infections. Talk to your healthcare provider or your child’s healthcare provider about vaccines recommended for all ages.

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Combat Antibiotic Resistance, Protecting Yourself and Your Family

Download a printable fact sheet pdf icon[PDF – 1 page] of this webpage.

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Use Antibiotics Appropriately

Talk with your healthcare provider or veterinarian about the best treatment when you, your family, or an animal is sick. Antibiotics save lives, but any time they are used they can cause sides effects and contribute to antibiotic resistance. One side effect is Clostridioides difficile—a bacterium that is not typically resistant but can cause deadly diarrhea and is associated with antibiotic use. C. diff can cause severe diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain/tenderness, and nausea. Learn more about using antibiotics, including when they are needed and when they are not.

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Stay Healthy when Traveling Abroad

Be vigilant when traveling abroad. Know what vaccinations are needed, check health alerts, stick to safe food and drinks, plan in advance in case you get sick, and learn about the risks of medical tourism. Visit CDC’s Traveler’s Health website for more information.

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Prevent STDs

Gonorrhea, a common STD, can be resistant to the drugs designed to treat it. The only way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. If you have sex, lower your risk by choosing safer sexual activities and using condoms the right way from start to finish. You and your partner should be treated right away if you test positive for STDs to keep from getting infected again. Learn effective strategies to reduce STD risk for yourself and your partner.