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Antibiotic Resistance - You and Your Family



What is an antibiotic?

An antibiotic is a type of drug that kills or stops the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are part of a larger group of drugs known as antimicrobials. 

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance means bacteria have changed to resist the killing effects of an antibiotic. In other words, some antibiotics will no longer be able to kill certain bacteria or they will be less effective at killing them. Once bacteria become resistant, they can continue to multiply causing more harm. Antibiotic resistant bacteria and infections:

  • are more difficult to treat
  • require more toxic and expensive treatments
  • cause longer hospital stays
  • can spread from person to person making the problem worse


  Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers: Learn more about bacteria, viruses, antibiotics, and why bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. 

Here is what you can do to help prevent antibiotic resistance:

  • Never take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or the flu.
  • Take the prescribed antibiotic exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
    • Never skip doses.
    • Never take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.
  • Discard any leftover medication.
    • Never save antibiotics for the next time you get sick.
  • Ask your healthcare professional
    • About vaccines recommended for you and your family to prevent infections that may require an antibiotic.
    • If there are steps you can take to feel better and get symptomatic relief without using antibiotics.

To learn more about how you can help prevent antibiotic resistance visit the Michigan Antibiotic Resistance Reduction Coalition (MARR) website


WHO: 'Antibiotics: Handle with Care' (Video)  The World Health Organization is leading a global campaign ‘Antibiotics: Handle with care’ calling on individuals, governments, health and agriculture professionals to take action to address this urgent problem. Working together, we can ensure antibiotics are used only when necessary and as prescribed.

WHO: The Rules of Antibiotics (Video) Find out more about the history of antibiotics, their crucial role for humanity and the importance of following the rules of antibiotics to avoid antibiotic resistance.

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