Antibiotics are very common but effective drugs, which are used for many kinds of infections. However, because many people turn them into a cure-all, even using them for the lightest of colds, antiobiotic resistance is now becoming a health threat, according to Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England.

MedicalNewsToday.com reports that if this is not addressed soon, people may die from the simplest routine operations due to infections within the next 20 years. In fact, diseases that used to be powerless against antibiotics are now growing more and more resistant to them.

With many pharmaceutical companies moving to more profitable avenues of drug development, creation of new and effective antibiotics has slowed. The best recourse now may be to prevent diseases rather than cure them, as drugs that can do their job seem to be dropping in number.

As consumers, it is important to know how antibiotics should be used properly. Below are some guidelines:

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  • Do not self-medicate. The wrong medicine can do more damage than good--you may be building bacterial resistance for other diseases, and if you’re already taking other medications, you may just be creating a lethal drug cocktail.
  • Follow your prescription. If it says that you have to take your antibiotics twice a day for five days, then finish the cycle.
  • Always consult your doctor. If you feel that your medication isn’t working, or if there are any side-effects that you weren’t expecting, immediately seek your doctor’s help.

(Photo by mario via Flickr Creative Commons)

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