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Antibiotic Resistance Is Becoming A Growing Problem

December 3, 2013, 6:19 PM by Brittany Larson

Antibiotic Resistance Is Becoming A Growing Problem

Emily Struck's baby number two is due at the end of December. Like many parents, she is always concerned for her children's health and wellbeing. While certain prescribed medications can be helpful, she isn't quick to ask for a prescription for an antibiotic, instead she relies on simple things to fight off an infection.

"Just rest and water and get hydrated again," Struck said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are at least 2 million antibiotic-resistant infections and 23,000 people die each year as a result.

"We know that antibiotics are overused in the clinic setting and in the hospital setting. And some studies indicate that 50 percent of antibiotics are really unnecessary. And what that leads to is the organisms becoming resistant from the overuse of those antibiotics," Family Practice Physician at Sanford Health Dr. Susan Anderson said.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics.

"The organisms change and there is no antibiotics available to treat them. And so all you can do really is try and treat the patient and treat their symptoms but you can't combat the actual organism that is causing the infection," Anderson said.

Another problem is that people expect antibiotics will work for every illness. Health experts say children get between five and 12 respiratory infections or colds per year. But they are mostly viral infections, so antibiotics won't work.

Despite that, the CDC estimates that each year, tens of millions of antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections.

"We get a lot of requests for antibiotics because we all want our children to be better and we want them to be better faster. But really we need to rely on conservative methods to treat those viruses with fluids and rest and not use antibiotics," Anderson said.

Struck is one mother who agrees with the conservative approach.

"I want my kids to get over stuff on their own, see if their body can fight it off," Struck said.

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