Do you ever go to the doctor and worry that you might have an infection? Of course, just about everyone has. But have you ever gone to the doctor worrying that the antibiotic the doctor prescribed might not even work? That you might have a Superbug?
Well, you should – because that scenario is happening more and more – and you might be contributing to the problem.
What makes the bacteria not respond to medicine?
When your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, he wants to kill those bad bacteria and get rid of them forever. Bacteria that don’t get killed get stronger the next time they are exposed to the same antibiotic. Eventually, the antibiotic doesn’t even work at all against those bacteria.
When antibiotics don’t work against bacterial infections, it is called Antibiotic Resistance.
What is a Superbug?
Superbugs are bacteria that are resistant to more than one antibiotic. Some bacteria are resistant to so many antibiotics, that only antibiotics administered in a hospital are effective against them.
MRSA – a famous Superbug
MRSA is just another name for a Staph infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus – which just means that Methicillin doesn’t work against this bug. MRSA has now become resistant to a number of antibiotics moving it up to Superbug status.
How am I helping to make Superbugs?
When you taking antibiotics any bacteria that doesn”t get killed off can become resistant to that medicine. If you stop taking an antibiotic too soon, you are giving those bacteria a chance to fight off that type of medicine.
How can I help fight Superbugs?
When you have a prescription for an antibiotic, it is very important to take all of the medicine that you are given. Many times, people will take their prescription for a few days, start feeling better or see an improvement in their wound, and decide to stop taking the medicine because they don’t think they need it anymore. Although this may seem harmless, this is what is causing antibiotic resistance.
Most bacteria respond fast to antibiotics, which is why you see improvements fairly quickly.
Doctors and scientists have spent years studying antibiotics and the bacteria that they treat. (Penicillin was first used in 1940.) Doctors prescribe a certain medicine, dose, and length of time for treatment, because that is the amount and time needed to get rid of the bacteria you are infected with. When you stop taking your prescription early, some of the bacteria have been killed, but there are still some left that take longer to treat. These remaining bugs can multiply and re-cause the same infection. When they multiply, they make minor changes that keep them safe from the medicine that killed off the original bacteria.
What can I do to prevent Antibiotic Resistance?
Always finish all of the medicine that your doctor prescribes for you. If you have a hard time remembering to take the medicine, always have the prescription bottle with you. Sometimes it helps to program the times that you need to take the medicine on a your phone.
Antibiotic Resistance: When might Dr. Schlam prescribe antibiotics for me?
The problems below may not always need medicine, but podiatrists may use an antibiotic for:
- Diabetic foot infections
- Wounds that have been there for a long time
- Ingrown toenails
- Before and or after surgery
It is important to see a foot doctor if you have breaks in your skin. Whether it is something we have already talked about or any of the following:
- If you step on something that pierces your foot
- Are bitten by an animal
- Any type of trauma that could cause an infection
Don’t wait to see how it goes on its own! Waiting can make the infection worse. Contact us online or by phone at (845) 298 – 9074 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Schlam at Hollowbrook Foot Specialists.
By: David Schlam