Antibiotic Awareness Week

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Building immunity to antibiotics is more common than you think. It's antibiotic awareness week, and next time you're at the doctor you might want to think twice about whether or not you really need that prescription.

More than 2.8 million antibiotic resistant infections happen in the US every year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result, according to the CDC's 2019 antibiotic resistance threats report.

"Someone who has a common cold, or even something like influenza, that's not caused by a bacteria that's caused by a virus, so these are not going to work against them," says Michelle Dethloff, one of the Program Managers at the Division for Disease Control.

Michelle Dethloff says the state tracks certain organisms that are highly resistant to antibiotics, or what the CDC refers to as superbugs.

"We do have people in North Dakota that unfortunately have infections that are highly resistant to many antibiotics and our last resort antibiotics," said Dethloff.

She says It's important to not pressure your health care provider into giving you a prescription when it might not be needed.

"These bugs, these ones that are resistant to antibiotics, are our last lines of defense of antibiotics these bugs can be resistant to and so when someone has that infection and it needs to be treated, there's limited or no options available for them," said Dethloff.

And if you are on antibiotics, you should take them exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes them to you.

Dethloff says by washing your hands and getting immunizations you can prevent illness. You should also ask your healthcare provider about how you could feel better, while your body fights off a virus.​