How to Minimize Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming an increasing threat worldwide. Bacteria that were once sensitive to antibiotics have become "super-bugs" because of their ability to become resistant to that antibiotic that was once considered the best alternative to destroying such bacteria. The reasons for antibiotic resistance is two-fold: A genetic mutation in the bacterial genome acts as an adaptation for bacteria to grow in medium that contains this antibiotic. This mutation has been thought to arise from constant exposure to low levels which allowed the bacterial cultures or colonies to adapt and naturally select among themselves individual bacteria that would be increasingly resistant to a particular type of antibiotic, even if it's the most potent drug available.

Resistance has developed primarily due to misuse of antibiotics in human medicine, treating for conditions that are unresponsive to antibiotics, or using narrow-spectrum drugs that only hit one type or species of bacteria and not multiple possible forms that would cause a particular illness such as bacterial pneumonia. Even antibiotics have mistakenly been used for viral diseases, thinking that a shot of antibiotic would fix a cold caused by one or more types of viruses.

There has been more emphasis on trying to slow down this resistance, though. This article will show you how to minimize antibiotic resistance and practice proper hygiene to reduce your chances of getting ill from a super-bug.


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    Always wash your hands. Wash or sanitize your hands before every meal, using soap and water or hand sanitizer that is a gelled solution of 70% rubbing ethyl alcohol. Also be sure to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, not simply run your hands under water. Water doesn't wash off the germs, the soap will help with that.
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    Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes, and nose. This is particularly important if colds or a particular flu is hanging around your place of work or school. This way you reduce the chance of ingesting or inhaling germs and getting sick yourself. Otherwise, make sure you sanitize or wash your hands.
    • Colds and flu are contagious and get spread around via airborne bacteria and viruses and contaminated objects. In a public place, the most high contaminated object would be stair-case handles, door handles, elevator buttons, computer keys, and even the sink taps. There's no avoiding touching these, but you can try to avoid taking in the "bugs" from these objects by keeping your dirty hands away from your face. You can also try to touch as little of these objects as possible.
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    Don't accept anything from someone you suspect is sick. But be liberal about it. Food and drink is one thing you must be careful about, and have a napkin at the ready if a glass is headed your way with the sick person's hand having been previously handled it.
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    Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Do not cover your mouth with your hand! Rather, use the crook of your elbow to stop most of the spray that you would put out with a terrifically shattering sneeze, and do the same if you are coughing. The back of your hand may also work as well if it's necessary.
    • If you can, try to keep the sneeze in, like sneeze quietly with your mouth closed and not a loud, "AAH-CHOO!!" This will reduce the chance of germs spreading onto other people and other things that people after you will use.
    • To control coughing, use cough lozenges like Ricola or Fisherman's Friend cough drops as prescribed on the package or by your doctor.
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    Take care of runny noses properly. Use a tissue or Kleenex, not your hand, to wipe your nose, and keep them handy, particularly if you are coming down with an illness that is leaving you with a runny, plugged-up nose. While this step goes in hand with step #2 above, this reduces germs getting to others and being spread around.
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    Be careful about any potential antibiotics you will have to take if you get sick. If you are ill with something that may resemble the flu or an infection, see your doctor as soon as possible to get it checked out. Your doctor has the expertise to tell you whether what you have is a bacterial or viral infection, and whether it needs treatment or simply a day of rest and lots of fluids.
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    Take your medicine according to the doctor's directions. Do not try any what is called "extra-label" use practices, like taking less or more of what is recommended, skipping times to take your meds, not taking enough (stopping when you think you are feeling better and think you don't need to take anymore medication), or insisting that you should take a particular medication because you've always taken that and it's always worked for you, even though the doctor strongly disagrees and says you need to take something different.
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    Hospitals are reservoirs for super-bugs. This is something that everyone must know, no matter how hygienic or sterile and environment they seem to be. This is also where you must be absolutely cautious about where you put your hands and what surfaces you touch. Sanitize as frequently as possible (even if you feel you have to hit every sanitizer station along the route you take through a hospital), touch few surfaces as possible, and certainly keep your hands off your face as often as possible.
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    Eat healthy and well. Take in foods that are known for their health capacities, such as apples, honey, broccoli, blackberries, and many other fruits and vegetables. You do not have to go vegetarian or vegan to reduce your chance of getting an antibiotic resistant bug, as majority of meat and dairy products are made with a very, very low chance of you ingesting antibiotics.
    • Use your common sense with cooking meat. Ground beef and all poultry and pork meats must be cooked through or until they are well-done (no pink in the middle), and beef cooked in a similar fashion, or to the USDA recommended 145ºF for medium-cooked steaks and roasts[1].
    • Antibiotic resistance with regards to livestock is less of a concern from the point the animal is raised to slaughter, particularly when majority of producers practice safe-use labelling and follow withdrawal times (time from last injection to when the animal is to be slaughtered or be used for milk and eggs) according to drug labelling. While there is controversy and questions surrounding antibiotic use in livestock, antibiotic-residue presence in the meat is tested both on farm and at random in the slaughter plant. Any antibiotic that would be present in meat, milk or eggs are at such low levels that they are not a risk to human health, and not likely to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There are also many antibiotics used in animals that are not approved for use in humans.[2][3]


  • Carry hand sanitizer with you wherever you go. Purse, backpack, handbag, business case, or pocket, it doesn't matter.

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Categories: Colds and Viruses