New warning about antibiotic overuse

Antibiotic overuse may create drug-resistant superbugs, infection


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Most of us have taken antibiotics before, but there's a new warning about antibiotics. In a newly released report, the Centers for Disease Control said doctors and patients are creating a "super bacteria" by using antibiotics too much.

That's why for the first time, the CDC is going to categorize drug-resistant superbugs by threat level.

A doctor from Mayo Clinic said the CDC is hoping this new system will help better categorize infections, letting us know which ones really need antibiotics and which ones you might be able to pass on the antibiotic.

"Theres lots of conditions we use antibiotics that you could probably get away without using an antibiotic," said Dr. Vandana Bhide with Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Bhide said a sore throat and an upper respiratory system are just a couple of examples of infections that don't need an antibiotic.

The CDC is going to begin categorizing drug-resistant superbugs by threat level. It hopes this will decrease antibiotic-resistant infections, which currently affect two million people each year. 23,000 people have died from the drug-resistant infections.

"The bacteria spreads the resistance to each other so it very quickly goes throughout the state the country and globally so it does make a difference if you try and limit antibiotics and only use them when they're necessary," said Dr. Bhide.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from getting these infections is something simple we hear about all the time, washing your hands.

Dr. Bhide said it's important to wash your hands before and after cooking, before eating and, of course, after using the bathroom.

If you do happen to get an infection, Dr. Bhide says it's best to ask your physician if you really do need an antibiotic or not.

"Really its between you and your physician and I think we as physicians would pay more attention to storeship of these antibiotics so were not creating resistance to these organisms," said Dr. Bhide.

Dr. Bhide said Mayo Clinic has new patient and safety initiatives for their workers to try and reduce the spread of infections within their campus. Things like infection control methods, sterilization procedures and of course frequently washing hands are all part of these new initiatives.