Protect Yourself and Your Family

3 years old girl washing her hands in the bathrom sink.

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

Antimicrobial resistance does not mean our body is resistant to antibiotics or antifungals. 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 up with questions or concerns. Ask your healthcare provider about risks for certain infections and sepsis, the body’s extreme response to infection.


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.


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.

Print Version
Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, Protecting Yourself and Your Family

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

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Use Antibiotics and Antifungals Appropriately

Talk with your healthcare provider or veterinarian about the best treatment when you, your family, or an animal is sick. Antibiotics and antifungals save lives, but any time they are used they can cause sides effects and contribute to antimicrobial 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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Be Aware of Changes in Your Health

Talk to your healthcare provider about how to recognize signs and symptoms of infections, or if you think you have an infection. If an infection isn’t stopped, it can lead to additional complications like sepsis, a life-threatening medical emergency

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Practice Healthy Habits Around Animals

Always clean your hands after touching, feeding, or caring for animals, and keep your animals and pets healthy. Talk to your veterinarian about antimicrobial resistance and using antibiotics and antifungals only when needed to prevent risks to your animals/pets, including germs like carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE).

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Prepare Food Safely

Follow four simple steps to avoid foodborne infections. Clean your hands, cooking utensils, and surfaces. Separate raw meat from other foods. Cook foods to safe temperatures. Chill leftovers and other foods promptly.


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.


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.