2YH: Antibiotic Awareness so you don't build up a resistance to it

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Antibiotic resistance is a major public health challenge. Not just globally, but right here in the U.S.

This week's two your health focuses on antibiotic awareness.

"Every year in the U.S. at least 2 million people become infected and more than 35 thousand people die as a result of these types of infections," said Dr. Michelle Rothoff, Epidemiologist for the state of Alaska.

It's Dr. Rothoff's job to keep close tabs and report when these "superbugs" show up.

"Within the past few months we actually identified a new type of CRE that had never been seen in Alaska before. This is a family of bacteria that are typically found in the human digestive tract, but these particular ones have developed resistance," she said.

Still, Alaska's rates are relatively low, but it's important to use antibiotics wisely in order to prevent resistance.

"Most of the common illnesses that we and our kids face especially during the winter months things like the common cold the flu, those are mostly caused by viruses and antibiotics have no affect on viruses and should not be used for those types of infections," said Dr. Rothoff.

The CDC estimates 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions in the us are unnecessary, but, if you are prescribed one, take it as directed, don't miss doses or stop early, even if you feel better.

"We as patients, as parents and healthcare providers we all have a role in making sure that we're using these antibiotics wisely so that they continue to work for us," said Dr. Rothoff.

Antibiotics are only needed for treating infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotic Awareness Week was November 18-24th.

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