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How to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

Understanding Inappropriate Antibiotic UseIndividuals:

  1. Talk with your healthcare provider about antibiotic resistance:
    • Ask whether an antibiotic will help with your illness
    • Ask what else you can do to feel better sooner
  2. Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu
  3. Do not save some of your antibiotic for the next time you get sick 
    • Get rid of any leftover medication once you have taken your medication exactly as your healthcare provider prescribed
  4. Take an antibiotic exactly as the healthcare provider tells you
    • Do not skip doses
    • Do not stop taking your medication just because you are feeling better
      • If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and make you sick again
  5. Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else
    • The antibiotic may not be the right one for your illness
      • Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply
  6. If your healthcare provider determines that you do not have a bacterial infection, ask about ways to help relieve your symptoms
    • Do not pressure your provider to prescribe an antibiotic


Healthcare providers:

  1. Only prescribe antibiotic therapy when likely to be beneficial to the patient
  2. Choose an antimicrobial agent that targets the likely pathogen
  3. Prescribe the antibiotic for the appropriate dose and duration
  4. View CDC's adult and pediatric treatment recommendations and academic detailing sheets for providers